The Davey Tree Expert Company’s tradition of training arborists continues with the 106th graduating class of the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences (D.I.T.S.), Davey’s flagship training program.

More than 50 employees participated in classroom and field training sessions which included tree climbing and safety procedures, tree and plant care, disease and pest diagnosis, management practices and team building.

“We are training Davey’s best and brightest, many of whom will become leaders within the company and the industry,” said R.J. Laverne, manager of education and training at Davey. “The tools we give them at D.I.T.S. make them safer, more knowledgeable, more efficient and therefore better at meeting the needs of clients.”

Davey employees must be nominated by a field manager and approved by corporate management to be admitted into the rigorous education program, which filled 11-hour days for six days a week in February.

A new class this year called “Train the Trainer,” showed students how to use what they learned at D.I.T.S. once they returned to the field. As part of the four-week program, students also learned about equipment use and maintenance to tree lightning protection, hazard tree identification and utility arboriculture regulations. Finally, students heard management presentations from their respective service lines as the program drew to a close.

As part of the D.I.T.S. graduation banquet, Laverne announced that Kyle Omholt, of The Care of Trees, a Davey company, received the Golden Oak Award. The award is earned by the student with the highest academic performance. Instructor’s Awards also went to Stephen George and Ted Smick for exemplifying a passion for learning combined with a generous willingness to share knowledge with others.