Mid-State students get hands-on power line training at Utility Arboriculture Day

Mid-State students get hands-on power line training at Utility Arboriculture Day

March 27, 2017

Industry professionals from The Davey Tree Expert Company, Nelson Tree Service, Zielies Tree Service, and Asplundh led hands-on training at Mid-State Technical College’s Utility Arboriculture Day on Friday, March 17. The event was a much-anticipated highlight of the Urban Forestry Technician program’s Tree Practicum class series designed to expose students to careers in utility arboriculture—work that keeps power lines clear of overhanging trees and vegetation. The event also featured the Wisconsin Rapids Water Works & Lighting Commission, who provided an electrical distribution system demonstration and focused education on worker and public safety.

The class took place outside on the Wisconsin Rapids campus’ non-energized training conductors. Students worked in small groups and had the opportunity to analyze how trees were obstructing power lines and discuss environmental factors that could affect their pruning approach. After completing pre-work safety and site inspections, they then worked to clear the lines and re-direct tree growth as utility arborists would. All guest industry trainers were graduates of Mid-State.

“This was an outstanding hands-on training opportunity,” said Urban Forestry Technician instructor Joe Hoffman. “Students had an extra chance to use our rope-and-saddle setups, aerial lift, and fiberglass pruning equipment with the added element of working near electrical conductors in a safe and controlled fashion, under the tutelage of industry professionals.”


“The number one cause of outages to the electric grid is trees, and as line clearance professionals it is our job to protect those lines from tree and wire conflict,” said Jack Bloomfield, regional vice president of Utility Operations for The Davey Tree Expert Company. “Energy providers have invested tremendous resources into keeping the electricity flowing to meet consumer expectation of uninterrupted service, and career opportunities abound in line clearance arboriculture throughout the United States,” he added.

“Indeed, career opportunities in arboriculture—utility, commercial, and municipal—are tremendous,” echoed Hoffman. “Employers from throughout the country who attend our annual Urban Forestry Career Fair often outnumber our students and view our program as an important source of graduates with the right preparation for work in this field.”

For more information about the Urban Forestry Technician program, visit http://www.mstc.edu/programs.

Brian Smith leads a pre-work safety and planning session at the College’s Utility Arboriculture Day

Brian Smith: Mid-State Urban Forestry Technician graduate and current utility arborist Brian Smith leads a pre-work safety and planning session at the College’s Utility Arboriculture Day on the Wisconsin Rapids campus, March 17.

Urban Forestry Technician student uses an aerial lift to practice pruning trees limbs away from power lines during the College’s Utility Arboriculture Day

Student Pruning: Mid-State Urban Forestry Technician student uses an aerial lift to practice pruning trees limbs away from power lines during the College’s Utility Arboriculture Day on the Wisconsin Rapids campus, March 17.