ArborTIMES is a digital publication for the tree care industry that delivers tree care business, safety, and equipment news.
Issue 05 | Fall 2023 arbortimes.org
Tree Care Business, Safety and Equipment News
Safety Within Reach: A Crane for Every Job 6
Tech Support Before you invest in new soware for your tree care business, here are some tips to save you time, money, and business disruption.
Bandit Industries Turns 40 In 1983, Mike Morey Sr. knew he could build a better chipper, one that customers would love. Today, Bandit Industries Inc., the company he went on to found, is celebrating 40 years.
Pest Prevention Insects, fungi, and diseases: the thought of these pests is likely to keep any arborist up at night. Aer a busy growing season, now isn’t the time to take a break.
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EDITOR'S NOTE Sleeping With One Eye Open
It’s hard to believe that the wildfires that ravaged the island of Maui in Hawaii happened just a few short months ago in August. I'll be the first to admit that I quickly became desensitized to this horrific event. In my defense, I was barely able to process what had hap- pened before I was distracted by Tropical Storm Hilary, an almost-hurricane that narrowly missed California (but pum-
On the cover: Tree care business owners have a lot to consider when it comes to adding a 100,000-pound crane to their equipment lineup.
Photo by Richard May ISSUE 5, FALL 2023
Millicent Skiles, Editor
meled northern Mexico.) Then, a recent fire close near my son’s school reminded me that fire season was about to start in Northern California where we live. With so much going on weather-wise these days, there's a lot to process, and I admit I don’t always know where to look. Recently, the county of Maui filed a lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric, claiming the utility company didn’t power down electrical equipment aer a National Weather Service Red Flag Warning was issued on Aug. 7. Downed power lines were fully energized and quickly ignited the surrounding dry grass and brush that had been allowed to proliferate.
PUBLISHER Sachin Mohan: Mohan@ArborTimes.org EDITOR Millicent Skiles: editor@ArborTimes.org TECH DIRECTOR Richard May: info@ArborTimes.org SAFETY AND TRAINING ADVISORS Ken Palmer Jared Abrojena SENIOR ADVISORS Dane Buell Mark Garvin PRODUCED BY EDGE AHEAD ASSOCIATES For editorial and advertising inquiries: 1 Store Hill Rd, PO BOX # 334 Old Westbury, NY 11568 Tel. (516) 399-2627 Email: Mohan@ArborTimes.org Web: ArborTimes.org No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. All uncredited photography is either supplied or sourced from a stock image bank.
What these unfortunate plaintiffs are about to go through has striking similarities to what my hus- band and I experienced when we lost a property to the 2017 Tubb’s Fire in Northern California. Six years later, we are only now receiving restitu- tion from the lawsuit filed against Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
There were times during this process when I complained that everything was taking too long. But then I realized it was because the trustees assigned to oversee payouts were prioritizing families who had lost children. People who had to run for their lives in the dead of night and were le with nothing but the clothes on their backs. People who were at death’s door and needed to settle their affairs before they died. I shudder every time I hear that another utility company is getting sued because they failed to manage vegetation around power lines or upgrade aging equipment. Maybe I’m naïve, but is this really that hard to do? How is this not the first priority of any company? Climate change is happening faster than we think, and I’ve never been more aware of weather and its effect on my life. And yet, it feels that some industries and companies are asleep at the wheel. It makes me worried that my safety and that of my family is in the hands of someone who cuts corners to save a buck or knock off work early. If ever there was a time for utilities and tree care companies to stop and reassess their vegetation management plans, it’s right now (pounds table for emphasis.) Because there are a lot of fire alarms ringing, and they’re keeping me up at night.
TO SUBSCRIBE email: info@ArborTIMES.org or subscribe online: ArborTIMES.org/subscribe
Yours in safety,
Millicent Skiles Editor
ArborTIMES Fall 2023 | 3
Table of Contents
ISSUE 5, FALL 2023
ArborTIMES is a fully digital publication for the tree care industry from Edge Ahead Associates, creator of ArborEXPO, the industry’s first indoor/outdoor trade show and conference for arborists and green industry professionals. We’re connecting with experts, business owners, master trainers, and more to identify top stories and educational opportunities to deliver right to your inbox on a quarterly basis.
SAFETY WITHIN REACH By Jason Collins
Tree care business owners have a lot to consider when it comes to adding a 100,000-pound crane to their equipment lineup, especially when it can cost upwards of $1million. Are you ready to take the plunge?
TECH SUPPORT By Dane Buell, ArborNote
So, you think you need soware to run your tree business. That’s a fun notion, but are you sure you’re selecting the right one? Before you invest, here are some tips to save you time, money, and business disruption.
EDITOR’S NOTE 3 With the number of deadly weather events seemingly increasing, it’s hard to know where to look. All Access.................................................. 2 Almstead ................................................ 25 Altec ......................................................36 ArborEXPO .............................................. 55 Arbornote................................................. 17 Advertiser Index
Check out the latest products and services offered by the best brands in the tree care industry.
Some say standards set by OSHA don’t apply to the tree care industry. Perhaps it’s time for a review.
Mat Masters............................................. 53 Morbark .................................................. 43 Northern Atlantic Financial ......................... 45 Quest Products LLC....................................27 RBG, Inc....................................................11 Sennebogen ............................................ 39 Snyder Bucket Truck.................................. 52 Tracked Lifts ............................................ 56
ArborSystems ...........................................31 Bandit..................................................... 23 BIK ........................................................... 9 Branch Manager ........................................16 Doggett .................................................. 33 Edge Ahead Associates ............................. 44 Gene Bridges Foundation ........................... 26 Greenworks ............................................. 49
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20 BANDIT INDUSTRIES
TURNS 40 WITH FANFARE By Katherine Gustafson In 1983, Mike Morey Sr. knew he could build a better chipper, one that customers would love. Today, Bandit Industries Inc., the company he went on to found, is celebrating 40 years and remains ubiquitous at tree care job sites around the world.
28 PEST PREVENTION By Millicent Skiles
Insects, fungi, and diseases: the thought of these pests is likely to keep any arborist up at night. Aer a busy growing season, it’s tempting for tree care companies to take a break. But for those with their eye on the future, they know a new cycle of work is about to begin.
SALUTING BRANCHES HONORS THE FALLEN By Kelly May Volunteer arborists recently tended to veteran properties and national cemeteries around the country during this ninth-annual event. PREPARING FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY DISASTERS By Jerry Staton, ACRT Our infrastructure has become extremely suscep- tible to natural disasters. With the energy sector interacting with all other utilities, it is important to understand the impact of these events.
TENDING TO THE ROOTS OF YOUR BUSINESS By Katie Dastoli The tree care industry can go a bit dormant during the colder winter months. Here’s why it’s the perfect time to develop crews, update equipment needs, and strengthen the foun- dations of your businesses.
ARBOREXPO ’24 IS COMING
The tree care industry’s fastest-growing confer- ence and trade show is returning Mar. 27-28 for its fourth-annual event at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, NJ.
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Evolving technologies have made cranes more stable and increased their grappling capabili- ties. Business owners rely on cranes to provide job safety, efficiency, and lower costs.
Tree care business owners have a lot to consider when it comes to adding a piece of equipment that can weigh upwards of 100,000 pounds and cost upwards of $1 million.
Safety Within Reach Cranes have evolved into sophisticated machines that make tree care work safer and faster. Is it time to add one to your fleet?
By Jason Collins
Everyone knows how dangerous tree care work can be, especially in difficult or hard-to-reach places. It’s why more and more businesses are moving away from chainsaws and ladders and rely- ing on cranes to do the heavy liing in tree care work. Evolving technologies have made cranes more stable and increased their grappling capabilities. Business own- ers rely on cranes to provide job safety, efficiency, and lower costs. So, it’s no wonder that crane sales are expected to rise from $15 billion in 2020 to up- wards of $25 billion in 2030 according to Statista, a global data tracker. “We’re now seeing cranes that are outfitted with claws and saws that are capable of taking a tree down piece by piece, without putting a climber in the tree,” says Jay Sturm, founder and president of Cranes 101, which pro- vides safety training. Sturm has seen
firsthand how crane technologies have evolved to “make the business safer and the tasks safer.” Tree care business owners have a lot to consider when it comes to adding a piece of equipment that can weigh upwards of 100,000 pounds and cost upwards of $1 million. How do they know when they’re ready to take the plunge? PROVIDING SAFE ACCESS Caring for or removing a tree can be in- credibly unpredictable and dangerous work. It’s hard to know when disease, pest infestation, or storm damage have made a tree structurally unsound. As a result, traditional climbing can expose tree care workers to a greater risk of injury from broken branches and falls, all while managing multiple ropes and sharp, heavy equipment.
Cranes protect tree care professionals
Using a crane removes the need for tree felling, as the crane can more precisely lift entire tree sections out of the area.
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New Jersey Crane Experts conducts a training workshop to teach operators how to safely navigate a 2,000-pound knuckle-boom crane around team members.
ment, deciding which crane you need depends largely on what you’re us- ing it for. Cranes can be either stat- ic or mobile. Most tree care compa- nies prefer mobile cranes because they can be set up on mountainous
slopes and other challenging areas. For years, straight boom (hydraulic) cranes were the go-to mobile crane, however, knuckle-boom cranes are growing in popularity due to their improved flexibility and efficiency.
by providing them with a safe and sta- ble environment so they can focus on their work. Using a crane removes the need for tree felling, as the crane can more precisely li entire tree sections out of the area. This allows tree care
professionals to care for trees they might other- wise avoid. "[Ash trees are] a really fragile type of wood that you don't want to climb,” says Alexei Orloff, owner of Orloff Tree Service and Excavation. “Even a buck- et truck bumping into the tree will send the dead sticks coming down and shattering on you." Cranes, on the other hand, allow workers to go in and cherry-pick sections with care. "When we imple- ment the crane with re- moval, it's so gentle,” he says.
Every business is different, and equipment decisions are oen influenced by the kind of tree care work they conduct. Are crews working in flat or hilly areas? Rural areas or compact cities? With tall or small trees? Business owners should reflect on their needs and priorities when developing a list of questions for crane dealers. A CRANE FOR EVERY JOB Knowing when you’re ready to take the leap and add a crane to your equipment fleet is a question usually determined by cost. Cranes come with high price tags, upwards of $1 million. To
New Jersey Crane Experts uses hands-on training to give participants real world experience.
Like any piece of equip-
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tree care work to secure the safety of crew members, they can still inflict serious damage or injury if not used properly. Daily and quarterly inspec- tions are essential to ensure a crane is operating properly and safely. How oen and how hard you use a crane will impact its maintenance needs and costs over time. Insurance companies usually re- quire proof that operators are prop- erly trained and certified, while some states require licensing. Proper training ensures crane oper- ators can effectively communicate with and protect crew members on the ground. It teaches users how to correctly check a tree's weight to en- sure the crane is positioned proper- ly. Good training also educates users how environmental factors such as an area’s temperature can affect how a crane is used. "Warming up the machine the right way and making sure the system has the chance to acclimate to the envi- ronment properly" are examples of important techniques only good train- ing can provide, says Hans Tielmann, owner of New Jersey Crane Experts, which provides crane certification, simulation training, and safety gear. Training can take as little as three days to two weeks before an aspiring crane operator is prepared to take a test that incorporates theoretical and practical components. Tielmann also points out that certification oen depends on the "specific type of crane you are using and what it's mounted on." Adding a crane to a company’s equip- ment fleet is an excellent way to pro- tect employees and take on new busi- ness. It also offers business owners a flexible option should they want or need to contract out their cranes during slower months. With proper training and mainte- nance, cranes can serve as a mighty partner to tree care companies looking to expand their reach.
Cranes 101’s Jay Sturm leads a mobile crane inspection class developed specifically for experienced crane operators and fleet mechanics to conduct on-site inspections.
place cuts, which allows for the tree to be quickly and easily transported straight onto the truck. Orloff explains how his crew once worked on a site with 40 maple trees where "you could spend weeks." With a crane, they were able to get the job done in just six hours, which allows him to take on more jobs. Crane technology has improved to the point where you don't even need to get out of the crane. "Some of the new equipment are all- in-one machines,” says Sturm. “They have an articulating crane boom that has the grapple-saw attached to it. And then they can drop that tree straight into a chipper." RESPONSIBLE CRANE OWNERSHIP While cranes efficiently streamline
justify buying one, Orloff suggests that businesses need to run the crane at least four times a week. For most business owners, contracting or renting a crane is the perfect way to serve customers without paying for ad- ditional insurance and training. While there are no right or wrong answers, Sturm suggests businesses consider investing in their own crane when it becomes “an imposition to have to schedule the crane and operator at the job at particular times." Some business owners add a crane to their fleet as a way to expand their oper- ations and create new revenue streams. Traditionally, tree care teams include climbers who need time to cut off smaller branches or set up rigging. Cranes allow this work to be com- pleted in a fraction of the time. Crane operators can tell the crew where to
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Bartlett Tree Experts employees review and evaluate the upcoming work.
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Before you set up demonstrations, make a list of the problems you're looking to solve with tree-management software, as not all solutions are the same.
Tech Support Deploying business-management software requires an all-in commitment. Are you ready? By Dane Buell, ArborNote
So, you think you need soware to run your tree business. That’s a fun notion, but are you sure you’re selecting the right one? Over the past several years, I’ve helped sev- eral green industry companies select and de- ploy soware. Here are some tips I’ve learned through those experiences to save you time, money, and business disruption. MAKE A LIST Before you set up demonstration calls, make a list of the problems you're looking to solve with tree-management soware, as not all solutions are the same. I would divide my list into must-haves verses nice-to-haves. In- volve your team in this process, because ad- aptation will occur quicker if you take a team approach. Adopting soware in your business can be disruptive. All stakeholders need to be en- gaged in the process of change, or it simply will not work well. Involving your team in identifying what you are looking for will en- sure a smooth transition.
DIVERSIFY SOLUTIONS Different soware solutions solve different business problems. Some create and deliver beautiful proposals, while others manage as- pects like human resources and fleet main- tenance.
The ability to place location markers on a map and link them to work orders reduces wasted time and confusion.
Different software solutions solve different busi- ness problems. Some create and deliver beautiful proposals, while others manage aspects like human resources and fleet maintenance.
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To get to the best solution for your busi- ness, consider deploying multiple so- ware, not just one. Consider this: if one of the problems you would like to solve is fleet tracking, your tree management soware might do it. But would it do it as well as GPS tracking soware like Verizon Connect? Probably not.
Verizon Connect offers software solutions that drive safety, productivity, and efficiency.
PREP FOR DEMONSTRATIONS Come to demonstration meetings with your business’ key stakeholders. I strongly believe business leadership, sales, and operations need to be part of this process. Come ready with your list and com- municate your expectations before the demonstration to stay focused on the functionality you know you need. If you do not communicate these priorities right away, you can get lost in func-
To get to the best solution for your business, consider deploying multiple software, not just one.
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An internet connection is usually required to share field data with clients or team members, but you can still use the tool to collect the data.
Not all software is built to operate on every platform. A desktop version of software, for example, will not work as well on your phone or tablet.
quired to share field data with clients or team members, but you can still use the tool to collect the data. If the so- ware does mapping, will it require spe- cialized hardware to function properly? TAKE A TEST DRIVE The best way to know if the soware will work is to demo the product in real life. All too oen, I meet with folks who are looking to change their current soware solution because, in theory, it should be great but it’s not. Changing soware is not easy. Un- derstand up front what’s needed to retrieve your data. Will it be in a form that can be transitioned to a different
tionalities that would be nice to have as opposed to functionalities the solution must have. KNOW THY PLATFORMS Not all soware is built to operate on every platform. A desktop version of soware, for example, will not work as well on your phone or tablet. A true native mobile application is important for field use. These are de- signed to work with mobile technology and do not require internet access to function, although some features may not be available without it.
An internet connection is usually re-
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LEVERAGE YOUR INVESTMENT Deploying a soware solution in your business will not only affect your team but also impact your clients’ experiences with your company. All too oen, tree-management compa- nies fail to share this important busi- ness change with clients. Don't let this be a missed opportunity to share how this change will affect — and improve — their experience. Dane Buell is vice president of sales for ArborNote, a business management soware for the tree service industry. He served as the tree care industry repre- sentative to the ANSI A300 Committee, which develops industry standards for tree care practices, and served as chair- man for two terms.
Adopting software requires change. If you are not willing to adapt, know that it will impact how quickly and thoroughly your team makes the change.
solution if required? During the trial period, talk to other tree care compa- nies using the product to understand how support and training works. Test the support resources. How easy is it to reach the help desk if you have a problem? FISH STINKS FROM THE HEAD DOWN I have supported several companies in deploying or changing soware in their businesses. Oen, the process fails be- cause company leadership refuses to change how they do things. Adopting soware requires change. If you are not willing to change, know that it will impact how quickly and thor-
oughly your team makes the change. If you can't change, consider nominating someone from your company to own the project. That way, the team has someone to look up to during the process. THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS Understand what's included in your fee and what’s extra. For example, is train- ing included? Is there a fee for techni- cal support? Terms and conditions vary from pro- vider to provider. This is especially true for training, custom development fees, and when they would apply. Be sure to ask if there’s a fee for adding or removing users.
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DISC MULCHER BELT DRIVE PRO X Diamond Mowers' new Disc Mulcher Belt Drive Pro X couples a belt drive with a two-speed hydraulic motor to increase torque and disc speed. This allows professional mulching contrac- tors and other high-volume mulchers in land clearing and vegetation and forestry management to finish the job in less time and recover more quickly when processing materials up to 14” in diameter. The Disc Mulcher BD Pro X provides class-leading torque to obliter- ate anything in its path, recovers twice as fast as other disc mulchers, and has an efficient design that promotes lower hydraulic temperatures for maximum uptime and carrier life. diamondmowers.com
MARLOW VESPER ULTRAVIOLET Marlow Vesper teamed up with Rock- N-Arbor to bring you a brand-new col- orway of the iconic 11.8mm Marlow Vesper Climbing Line. Meet Vesper Ultraviolet, or VUV for short. VUV is identical to the popular orange/blue and green/purple Vesper, just in a cool pink/purple. VUV is an 11.8mm tree climbing line with an all-polyester construction, providing a low elonga- tion rope with good friction and heat resistance. VUV is also fully compli- ant with EN 1891 as a type A rope, and is both CE and UKCA Certified. Lightweigh and spliceable, it has a 50- 150kb elongation. marlowropes.com/us
TREE CARE OFFICE Tree Care Office (TCO) is a US-based, back-office operations and virtual talent provider. TCO provides degreed, bilingual talent out of Colombia already experienced in the areas of account- ing, office administration, human re- sources, technical support, marketing, sales, collections, and scheduling. TCO is a workforce disruptor in the arbor industry, guaranteeing zero turnover. Trained in Arbor Gold and Arbor Note, TCO’s talent can hit the ground run- ning within your own time zone with- in 48 hours of an order. The ultimate solution to allow your operation to scale both quickly and efficiently. Tree Care Office … Grow With Us. treecareoffice.com
Have a product or service you’d like us to feature? Please send press releases and high-resolution images to email@example.com.
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MANITEX EXPANDS CRANE ORDERS Manitex International, Inc., a leading provider of truck cranes, specialized industrial equipment, and construc- tion equipment rental solutions, re- cently announced ABM Equipment’s second order of Manitex 50-ton ca- pacity mobile truck cranes. ABM Equipment, headquartered in Hop- kins, Minnesota, became a Manitex dealer in June 2022. ABM Equipment services the upper mid-west with liing solutions, custom utility truck upfitting, rentals, parts and service. In June 2023, ABM increased its in- vestment in Manitex cranes, adding five Manitex 50 155 cranes to the initial cranes ordered in March 2023. The investment, nearing $7.5 M for ABM, has been used to build ABM Equipment’s rental fleet capacity and service customers in Minnesota and North Dakota. manitexinternational.com
TREE GUARDIANS PARTNERS WITH CALDWELL TREE CARE
Tree Guardians, a multi-regional resi- dential- and commercial-focused tree care platform founded by Halle Capi- tal, announced it has partnered with Caldwell Tree Care, a leading provid- er of tree and plant healthcare ser- vices to clients in the greater Atlanta metro area. Kevin Caldwell, founder and owner of Caldwell Tree Care will join Tree Guardians as president of the southeast region and will contin- ue to operate the company. Founded by Halle Capital in 2023, Tree Guard- ians is a tree and plant healthcare services platform focused on part- nering with owners and operators to build a multi-regional, residential and commercial tree care business. tree-guardians.com
LIBERATOR MAX Speak Easy Communications’ new Lib- eratorMAX has everything our custom- ers have been asking for. Teams can be on different channels on the same site, while switching back and forth, easily. The most advanced intercom system for crew communications in rugged en- vironments and demanding situations. Hit the on switch and immediately be connected to your entire team while be- ing free to move without restriction. Up to eight full-duplex intercom positions with an unlimited number of listen-on- ly headsets. Has a range of up to 1,500 feet (line of sight), 15 hours of battery life, and the ability to integrate porta- ble radio into the headset. shop.speakeasycommunication.solutions
ArborTIMES does not endorse or sponsor any product, service, or activity. Reference to commercial products, services, or brand names does not constitute an endorsement by ArborTIMES . ArborTIMES shall not be held liable for any claims or damages arising from the purchase of these products.
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Bandit now boasts 765 employees, some 560,000-square-feet of manufacturing space, and customers in 56 countries.
Bandit Industries Turns 40 With Fanfare How steady growth and a strong company culture built a brand known around the world By Katherine Gustafson
In 1983, Mike Morey Sr. was fed up that no one at the woodchipper manufacturing company where he worked would listen to his ideas. He knew he could build a better chipper, one that customers would love, but his bosses didn’t see the opportunities he saw.
Today, Bandit Industries Inc., the company Mike went on to found, is celebrating 40 years and remains ubiquitous at tree care job sites around the world. Bandit now boasts 765 employees, some 560,000-square-feet of manufacturing space, and customers in 56 countries. The company offers 50+ models of hand-fed and whole-tree chippers, stump grinders, horizontal grinders, track carriers, and slow-speed shredders. To celebrate, Bandit hosted a major event at its Michigan headquarters in September, with tours, equipment demos, and festive events. The company is also cohosting events with dealers around the United States. “Forty years is kind of a major accomplish- ment,” says Jerry Morey, Mike’s cousin and the company’s CEO. STARTING SMALL When Mike started his new company, he ini- tially called it Foremost Fabrications. His wife, Dianne, became cofounder and served as head of human resources. Together, they secured a 6,000-square-foot facility near Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and with just six employees, built the first Brush Bandit ® chipper.
Mike Morey Sr. proudly stands next to the Brush Bandit, the original chipper that launched Bandit Industries.
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ArborTIMES Fall 2023 | 21 Bandit Industries showcasing products at ArborEXPO'23.
GROWTH … AND MORE GROWTH Bandit’s success story is one of cautious financial management and a focus on distributor partnerships. The company added on or built a new building every two years for at least the first decade and has continued to expand. New product lines were steadily added. The first whole-tree track chipper was introduced in 1990, a development that created a new self-propelled chipper market. In 1995, Bandit created The Beast®, a horizontal grinder that even- tually dominated the market. When Dennis Tracy passed away in 1996, Mike, Jerry, and Dianne turned up the heat, pouring all of their earn- ings back into the business and push- ing sales aggressively. They introduced a stump grinder in 2004, and in 2006 developed a line of track carriers with interchangeable forestry mower and stump-grinding heads. In 2013, they added a 60-inch and 72-inch forestry mulcher attachment for skid steers. Bandit continued to expand its facilities throughout this time to accommodate the extra manufacturing activity. One notable addition was a 19,600-square- foot parts warehouse, which the com-
The Bandit Industries team gathers to test and refine the original Brush Bandit woodchipper.
Jerry says. “But now we’re in a position where we have a quality dealer net- work out there and the support for the equipment, so it’s a lot easier to move the product.” In fact, it wasn’t long before the compa- ny was struggling to keep up with the growing demand.
Jerry, who worked at the same manu- facturing firm Mike le, followed him out the door in 1988. He brought along Dennis Tracy, a mutual friend and co- worker, and together they transformed Foremost Fabrications into a robust business. They also changed the com- pany name to Bandit Industries in hon- or of the original Brush Bandit. Like any fledgling business, Bandit had to proceed cautiously, but the team was able to expand its operations steadily. Early on, they created a sales and mar- keting strategy centered on a national network of dealers that could provide Bandit customers with dependable product support. “We were the new kids on the block, so to speak, so we had to work hard to earn our business,” Jerry recalls. “The way that we have been able to be so successful in selling the equipment is to get it into end-users’ hands.” Each customer they added to their ros- ter was hard-earned. “With limited funds to start, we couldn’t build the type of sales organization that our competitors had. It took us a long time to become market-share leaders,”
Bandit Industries’ headquarters is located in Remus, MI. Starting with just 6,000 square feet in 1983, the company has expanded to 560,000 square feet.
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40 YEARS OF QUALITY TREE CARE AND RECYCLING EQUIPMENT
Watch the stump grinder product line video!
ArborTIMES Fall 2023 | 23
“Starting at the beginning, my part- ner Mike’s philosophy was to build the best, the most rugged, the most de- pendable product, and then take care of our customers,” says Jerry. “And that’s a philosophy that’s been ingrained into our employees.” The owners decided to sell when Mike started having health issues. At first their search for a buyer focused on typical prospects, such as other com- panies and investment banking firms. They even entered into agreements with a few potential buyers but even- tually backed out as they sensed each one would change the company culture in negative ways. “We got to maybe within a week of closing, and they came in and said, ‘We’ll change this and that, including employees’ benefits,’” says Jerry about one such potential sale. “So, we backed out of that sale.” Jason Morey, Jerry’s nephew and a mar- keting manager at Bandit, was present in the meetings with the prospective buyers and shared his seniors’ con- cerns about the company’s integrity. “Not one of those companies seemed they were going to keep the culture intact,” he says. He felt bad when the deals fell through but knew the wait
A couple of saw horses and a plywood top made up the desk where partners Jerry Morey, left, and Mike Morey Sr. first laid the foundation for Bandit Industries.
ESOPs, set up as trusts, allow employ- ees to buy portions of the company’s stock, which they can later access at a certain age. As such, an ESOP is akin to a retirement program, but it gives em- ployees a financial stake in the success of the company. For Bandit, with its strong company culture and dedicated employees, pur- suing this route made a lot of sense.
pany constructed in 2018 to increase inventory and staff. By 2020, the com- pany’s manufacturing space totaled 240,000 square feet. In 2021, Bandit purchased Trelan, a manufacturer of whole-tree disc-style chippers, chiefly to acquire its facility and immediately expand production to fulfill a backlog of orders. In 2022, the company purchased Burch Tank and added 6,600 square feet of production and office space. Also in 2022, Bandit began construc- tion on a new materials processing center. When completed, this will in- crease the company’s total square foot- age to 560,000 — more than 93 times the 6,000 square feet Mike started with in 1983. The new facility will include state-of-the-art cutting equipment and four robots to increase efficiency. SELLING TO EMPLOYEES Throughout the years, Bandit employ- ees have been the mainstay of the com- pany’s success. In 2018, Mike, Jerry, and Dianne created an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and invited workers to become owners.
The original team that formed the backbone of Bandit Industries’ early efforts.
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was worth it when the idea to create an ESOP surfaced in 2018. “It was a great opportunity to keep the culture the way it was,” says Jason. “I give Jerry and Mike a lot of credit for doing that because if they had let either one of those other companies take over, I don’t think the culture and vision that built Bandit would be the same as it is today.” To make the ESOP transaction work, Bandit's owners had to provide some financing, which Jerry notes amount- ed to “a fairly substantial portion of the purchase price.” Excellent growth and resulting profits allowed Mike and Jerry to be paid out in four years, a year earlier than they had anticipated. “It’s been a good deal, and it’ll be a great deal for our employees going for- ward,” says Jerry. Not only do the em- ployees get to keep their company cul- ture intact, but “the value of the stock’s
been going up substantially, and their portfolios are fairly significant.” The move to give employees a stake in the company has paid off, resulting in their continued dedication to mak- ing top-quality products and serving customers extremely well. “Our employees are very dedicat- ed to each other because they know that if we all work together, we’re going to succeed,” says Jerry. “They take extreme pride in the products they manufacture. And those on the service and support side are really focused on taking care of our custom- ers and our dealers.” Partners (from left) Mike, Dennis, Dianne, and Jerry take a moment to celebrate during a company event.
ArborTIMES Fall 2023 | 25
the earth, they’re nice people,” he says.
A ROBUST NETWORK Those customers and dealers are the lifeblood of Bandit, and Jerry sees the company’s consistent focus on expand- ing its network and distribution system as a “great move.” Tree care equipment simply must function well for its users to succeed, so it’s essential for a brand like Bandit to provide local access to parts and service. “Every one of our pieces is a — if not the — key component in their operation,” says Jerry. “[Tree care companies] con- ceivably have millions of dollars’ worth of support equipment. So, keeping that running is extremely important.” In addition to spending time with em- ployees, one of Jerry’s chief joys is vis- iting and talking with his distributors and customers, many of whom he sold equipment to in the 1970s.
Jason agrees that Bandit’s customers and dealers make coming to work a pleasure. “Probably the best thing is meeting our customers. I’ve got a lot of customers I’ve become friends with,” he says. “And we have a lot of great dealers. Working with our customers and deal- ers on a daily basis is what I take the most pride in.” For Jerry, pride comes from building a lasting legacy. “I think the thing I’m most proud of is that we built a successful compa- ny and that we have le it to our em- ployees,” he says. “What we built will continue aer we’re gone, hopefully for a lot of years.”
Bandit president Jerry Morey speaks during a training session.
Here’s to at least 40 more!
“In the tree care industry, they’re salt of
26 | ArborTIMES Fall 2023
For use on: Trees, landscape plants, golf course tees, greens, fairways, and sports turf.
ArborTIMES Fall 2023 | 27
DISTRIBUTED BY GENESIS TURF
Visible damage caused by the Emerald Ash Borer.
Inset: An adult Emerald Ash Borer.
28 | ArborTIMES Fall 2023
In 2021, more than 5.8 million acres of trees were killed and 5.7 million acres suffered damage from pests and diseases in the United States.
Pest Prevention Fall and winter are ideal times to start protecting trees against spring infestations By Millicent Skiles
"By the fall you’re worn out. But you have to wake up for a few minutes,” says Chip Doolittle, president of ArborSystems, a provider of injection solutions to treat tree pests. “Just be- fore you take off on that vacation, you need to be planning what you’re going to be doing next year.” THE NEED FOR VIGILANCE In 2021, more than 5.8 million acres of trees were killed and 5.7 million acres suffered damage from pests and diseas- es in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That same year, a study in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change discovered that forests damaged by insects and disease were reducing the carbon sequestration potential of forests across the country by about 50 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, about 10 million cars’ worth of emissions. Every tree has its nemesis, generally categorized as arthropods (insects and spiders,) vertebrates (animals,) weeds, pathogens, and nematodes. For the most part, trees have spent hundreds of millions of years evolving a system
of checks and balances to stave off attacks from pests. Yet, introduce a foreign pest to the area or plant a non-native tree and all bets are off. As arborists look toward spring, it’s hard to make predictions on how pests will behave. “We don’t know what to expect, but it’s coming into our ports right now,” says Rob Gorden, director of urban forestry and business development with Arbor- Jet, Inc., a provider of tree injections and pneumatic soil excavation tools. He points to the emerald ash borer ( Agrilus planipennis ), whose larvae feed under the bark of ash trees, dis- rupting vascular systems and choking off water supplies. Native to Asia, it likely arrived in the United States in wood packing materials in 2002. “While they may target weaker trees in Asia, here they attack healthy trees,” Gorden says. Like many pests, the emerald ash borer keeps a low profile, with new infesta- tions avoiding detection for up to three years. Aer frantically feeding and
Emerald ash borer, Dutch elm disease, sudden oak death. The mere mention of these insects, fungi, and diseases is likely to keep any arborist up at night. Whether they bore, suck, or chew, these pests can wreak havoc on entire forests and tree communities. In Massachusetts, keeping watch for invasive pests is a full-time job. When the state’s 3.2 million acres of forests enter their dormant season, four for- esters take to the sky, hop on boats, and creep on foot to meticulously track the spread of beech leaf disease (likely caused by Litylenchus crenatae , a foliar nematode) and spongy moths ( Lymantria dispar ). “They’re out there with their binoc- ulars all winter,” says Nicole Keleher, director of the Massachusetts Depart- ment of Conservation and Recreation’s forest health program. “It’s complex, there’s a lot going on." Aer a busy growing season, it might be tempting for tree care companies to take a break as fall and winter ap- proaches. But for those with their eye on the future, they know a new cycle of work is about to begin.
Like many pests, the emerald ash borer keeps a low profile, with new infestations avoiding detection for up to three years.
ArborTIMES Fall 2023 | 29
and get honeydew around the ground. And that can attract other pests that the tree can’t protect against.” Arborists use preventive measures, such as pruning, mulch, soil amend- ments, and proper watering, to support plant health. This work can continue with the introduction of friendly in- sects, quarantine to limit the spread of diseases, and pesticides to directly counteract pests. When treating trees against pests, the biggest mistake an arborist can make is “not getting out there early enough,” says Stringfellow. He points to apple scab ( Venturia inaequalis ), a fungus that appears in early spring, with full effects seen in June or July. “By that point, it’s too late to do anything. You treat in the fall to reduce the amount of pathogens in the spring.” Pests and diseases can leave a wide range of clues and footprints to indi- cate their presence. Signs can include chewed, distorted, or stippled foliage, white spots or masses, holes or boring tracks in bark, sticky substances, and leaf spots.
The Wedgle is a syringe-like applicator, used here to inject imidacloprid (Pointer) to control emerald ash borer.
attacking a tree. Aphids, for example, are oen a harbinger of more destruc- tive pests to come. “Do aphids kill the tree? No,” says Bill Stringfellow, managing director at Quest Products, LLC, which provides pesticide and fertilizer products. “But what they do is suck the juices out of the leaves
multiplying in spring, most pests sink into hibernation, a sliver of time that gives arborists the perfect opportunity to shore up defenses and mount a coun- terattack. “Fall is an interesting time because there’s not a lot of pest activity going on,” says Mark Ware, an "arborologist” who provides product tech support for Rainbow Ecoscience, which provides treatment products, equipment, and research. “But what I really like about fall is that it’s a great opportunity to alleviate plant stress.” GIVING TREES A FIGHTING CHANCE A healthy tree offers a variety of nat- ural defenses against pests, including structural barriers, such as sap or wax, toxic chemicals, and the attraction of pests’ natural enemies. However, these barriers can be over- come when a tree is stressed or suffers damage. It can be hard to see this dam- age when a tree is lush with foliage. So, winter is the perfect time to observe pest infestations when fallen leaves ex- pose a tree’s limb structure. In protecting trees, an arborist’s work begins with simple observation and tracking to accurately identify what is
Wooly ash aphids attack the underside of a curled American ash leaf (Frazinus americana) . The aphid colony has been largely parasitized by Aphelinus sp ., as noted by the black aphid “mummies.”
30 | ArborTIMES Fall 2023
trees a lot more susceptible to pests.”
Tree care professionals may have good intentions when it comes to protecting trees, but it can take a trained eye and years of experience to know how and when a pest has invaded. “Most people aren’t trained to look at the subtle symptoms,” says Rafael “Andy” Vega, chief science officer for J.J. Mauget Co., which provides tree injection supplies and equipment. "Getting a team of specialists who are trained in monitoring for insects and diseases is going to be more critical.” WEATHER INDICATORS Climate change has been creating un- predictable weather events that are challenging a tree’s ability to defend itself. “There’s no denying that weather pat- terns have gotten strange over the last five to 10 years,” says Ware. “Because of that, we’re seeing a significant increase in environment stresses, which makes
Trees play a significant role in coun- teracting the effects of climate change, such as capturing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, providing shade, and reducing wind. However, they can eas- ily be overwhelmed by extreme weath- er events, especially with the one-two punch of heat and water scarcity. “Sometimes, we get a new invasive species that are well adapted to our cli- mate. Sometimes, we see natives that are dealing with conditions that are fa- vorable and allow for pests,” says Kele- her. “If you have a site where trees are really stressed out, their defense can go down and they can be affected.” Arborists have a number of tools to help anticipate how pests will behave in the spring, including soil tempera- ture, dew point, and growing degree days (GDD.) First identified in 1735, GDD is a weather-based indicator that measures heat accumulation to indi-
A longleaf pine showing the effects of drought conditions.
cate plant and pest development.
The rise in temperature one year oen heralds the early arrival of spring — and pests — the following year.
Learn more! Call 800.698.4641 or visit ArborSystems.com for information and videos Our advanced technology for tree treatment allows you to INCREASE THE NUMBER OF TREES YOU TREAT IN A DAY!
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ArborTIMES Fall 2023 | 31
“The warmer the climate, the more fre- quent the lifecycle can occur for pests,” says Gorden. “These products need to last long enough to give you the protec- tion that’s needed. If it’s not there for the second or third generation, what have you really accomplished?” Pesticide manufacturers continue to conduct tons of research to anticipate pest patterns and provide safer and more effective products to customers. “The technology is constantly improv- ing," says Ware. “Before, arborists might use 40 to 50 gallons of product to treat a single tree, which increases the potential for chemical trespass and drip concerns. Now, we have products that you can apply a millimeter of and Unfortunately for arborists, by the time customers call to ask for help with a tree, it’s usually too late. As Doolittle points out, “You don’t walk into your doctor and say, ‘Man, I’m feeling great, what’s wrong with me?’” To get ahead of pests, tree care compa- nies can spend time cultivating aware- ness among their customers throughout the year, but especially in winter. “Setting expectations is critical,” says Ware. “It’s easy to lose sight or track of things during the growing season. Winter is a good opportunity to get feedback and reach out.” Customers may be unaware that their own actions may be threatening the health of their trees. Keleher points to summer boats parked next to a tree all winter as an example, compacting the soil, bumping into trees, and inadvertent- ly creating pathways for pests to get in. it can last up to two years.” THE NEED FOR EDUCATION “Winter can be really rough for trees,” Keleher says. “For me, it’s about keep- ing them safe and not allowing inten- tional damage.” When trees do suffer, a customer’s de- sire for aesthetics and convenience all
This map shows trends in the total number of growing degree days per year at 305 weather stations. The color and size of the symbols represent percent change between 1948 and 2020.
“Pests are emerging at an earlier time and over-wintering at a later time,” says Vega. “This adds a generation or two to their life cycles.” With each year different from the last, it can be hard to make predictions. “Is anyone a prophet or a forecaster?” asks Doolittle. "What to expect in the spring is determined by all the vaga- ries of the year that you’re in.” Doolittle’s approach to pests is simple: keep an accurate record of what hap- pens, plan for the worst, and take care of problems immediately. “There’s some- thing different every year,” he says. Armed with this knowledge, many tree care professionals can avoid the use of pesticides or tree removal to control pests. “If we can do cultural practices that don’t require pesticides, then we’re already ahead in the spring,” says Ware. “There are some [tree care] com- panies that have no interest and don’t learn it, and they just cut down trees.”
PESTICIDES AND FERTILIZERS Pesticides have come a long way from when they were first introduced in the 1930s and 1940s. Treatment used to involve spraying and coating entire 30- to 40-foot trees with gallons of pes- ticides. Not only was this expensive, but even a gentle breeze could easi- ly blow products to areas where they didn’t belong. Now, pesticides and fertilizers can be injected or implanted directly into the tree and soil, making them targeted and cost-effective. These work by taking ad- vantage of a tree's water transport sys- tem to bring the chemicals to the leaves, shoots, and roots where it’s needed. “We use the tree’s biology to take care of that,” says Vega. “When we inject trees down at the base, we can move a chemical from the base of the tree up to 60 to 80 feet.” The trick, of course, is making sure the pesticide is available to the tree when pests arrive and begin to proliferate.
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