Welcome to the Ohio Chapter’s mentorship program. If you are new to the arboriculture field or you want to explore career opportunities, we have members willing to share their experiences and help guide you through the process.
Topics that could be addressed during your meet-up include:
- common interests
- career choices
- your career history
- current job responsibilities, etc.
The mentor’s role is to be a window to the world of professional work and to help students and folks that are new to the industry gain confidence in exploring their interests and career choices.
Mentors are listed in alphabetic order based on their primary location. Select a city closest to you and click on “Schedule a Meeting”. Once we receive your request, your mentor will get in touch with you to schedule a time and location to meet.
1995-present Regional Urban Forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
I provide organizational, as well as technical community forestry assistance to municipalities, townships, other state agencies, tree commissions, beautification organizations, planning commissions, public service departments and the public. The project area that I serve encompasses 16 counties in southeast Ohio. My office is located at the ODNR District 4 Wildlife Headquarters in Athens.
This assistance includes planning for downtown revitalization projects where trees and greenspace will provide benefits to the community. I work with various political subdivisions, including municipalities, utilities and highway departments to assist them with roadside vegetation issues. I collaborate with tree commissions and various beautification organizations to navigate grants and accomplish their environmentally oriented projects that may include tree plantings, hazardous tree removal, park planning and maintenance, and vegetation management along public rights of way.
I was previously employed with the Cities of Upper Arlington and Dublin as an Assistant Urban Forester and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency as an intern in the first years after graduation from OSU.
1991 Graduate of The Ohio State University, School of Natural Resources, with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a Minor in Watershed Management.
I live on a horse farm in Morgan County with my husband.
David Bienemann serves as the municipal arborist/utility forester for the City of Hamilton, Ohio, responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all activities related to the acquisition, planting, and growing of trees on City properties and rights-of-way. Coordinates and directs the utility line clearance program for the City’s Electric Division.
David previously served as the municipal arborist for the City of Bowling Green, Ohio, and the Manager of Forestry for Ohio Edison Company in Akron, Ohio. He holds BS in Forestry from Iowa State University and a BS in Labor Economics from the University of Akron. He has been an ISA member since 1993 and an ISA Certified Arborist since 2004. David has been active in the Ohio Chapter ISA over 27 years. Davie is currently the Ohio Chapter ISA Vice President. He served on the Ohio Chapter ISA Board of Directors, the SMA Board of Directors and the Ohio UAA. He has completed multiple free public education seminars on trees and arboriculture since 2004. David is a FAA Certified Remote Pilot to fly Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Drone for Hamilton Utilities.
Internships are available each summer for two college students in the summer from May to August for 12 weeks in Hamilton, Ohio.
Career Choices – Utility & Urban Forestry.
David enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, travel, reading and spending time with his family.
I graduated from Purdue in 1992 with a B.S. in Forestry (Urban Option) and am currently the one of six Regional Urban Foresters for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. Our Urban Foresters provide direct management assistance to Ohio’s communities and I cover a 19 county area in the northwest corner of the state. My clientele includes volunteer tree commissioners, mayors, urban foresters, community administrators/managers/staff, and other government agencies. It is a constant learning experience keeping up with the newest technologies, plant health issues, and personalities. Working directly with communities offers Ohio’s urban forestry program a unique opportunity to identify practical solutions that best fit each community’s needs.
Several events highlight my career. Some have been challenging. Most have been rewarding. Working on the front lines of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and Gypsy Moth were two of the biggest opportunities since Dutch Elm Disease to bring urban forestry to the public’s attention. Encouraging electric utilities to adopt modern line clearance pruning standards always offers a platform to discuss proper pruning with a variety of audiences. After 20 years we are still challenged with addressing a problem of deeply planted tree stock. Of course climate change is looming, and a greater capacity for scientific study has allowed me to fine-tune my tree risk assessment skills and support tree biomechanics research (even if it’s just being the cook.) Of course the computer age has changed so much of what we do. E-mail and cell phones have heightened the public’s expectations while making us accessible 24 hours a day. I had to learn how to turn it off and make a clear separation between my work life and home. It is just too stressful and unhealthy otherwise.
In the midst of Ohio’s EAB infestation, our program celebrated its official 25th anniversary while realizing that many of our trained tree commissioners and community leaders were aged and retiring. It was a mass exodus of knowledge that we had developed over nearly 3 decades and we had no formal mechanism to quickly train a new flock of urban forestry advocates. From 2006 to 2009, we developed Tree Commission Academy (TCA) which is a unique educational experience covering urban forestry, arboriculture, municipal relations, and local government. We’ve since discovered that the whole TCA experience helps keep us sharper by developing a tree savvy population of tree commissioners and local leaders. We were honored and humbled when the Arbor Day Foundation awarded us with their 2010 Innovation in Education Award for TCA.
TCA led to the development of the Ohio Urban Site Index (USI) which is a quick site assessment tool for evaluating treelawn soil quality. Research showing the practicality of the Ohio USI has been done in the United States, Canada, and Poland. We continue to fine-time the process and are utilizing it frequently with our communities in developing community-wide Master Planting Designs...another process we developed.
Earlier professional experiences helped shape my steer journey. Prior to transferring to the urban forestry position, I was a Service Forester for a 6 county area. It was an invaluable experience allowing me to become familiar with the woodland management needs and challenges of NW Ohio.
For 5 years following graduation I worked for ACRT, Inc out of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio where I was a contract utility and urban forester. The urban forestry work was mostly inventory gathering for various cities. The days were long, but I got to see some great places and become familiar with the up and coming computerized inventory programs. Things have come a long way since then! Working as a utility forester was an excellent way to develop communication skills and to learn the back roads. It was a difficult and stressful job, but I am grateful for the listening and negotiation techniques I developed during those years.
Virginia Bowman had her sights set on becoming a park naturalist when she entered college, and worked during the summers at her brother-in-law’s customer hardwoods business. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation from Kent State University in 2004 and joined the Davey Resource Group as a transmission forester shortly thereafter. Two years later, she took a job as a Forestry Technician with The Illuminating Company, a FirstEnergy utility that serves more than 750,000 customers in northeast Ohio. In 2009, she was promoted to Forestry Supervisor, hiring qualified company foresters to help manage the tree work done by outside contractors. In 2010, Virginia earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She was promoted to her current position of Manager of Forestry Services in 2011. A key accomplishment was developing and executing a multimillion-dollar project from 2012 to 2014 to proactively remove trees affected by the emerald ash borer before they caused damage to the company’s electrical equipment. In 2016, Virginia was honored by and featured in SmartBusiness magazine as one of northeast Ohio’s “Progressive Women” of the year.
Regarding her industry involvement, Virginia has been a member of the ISA since 2005, has served on the Ohio Chapter’s Education and Public Outreach Committee since 2014 and the Conference Planning Committee since 2015. She was elected to the Chapter’s Board of Directors for a two-year term from 2017-2019. She presented at the Ohio Tree Care Conference in 2010, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Virginia joined the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) in 2005 and was elected state representative for Ohio for the term of 2017 to 2019. She was a speaker at the Ohio UAA Conference in 2009 and 2016. Virginia is an ISA Certified Arborist/Utility Specialist and holds an Ohio Herbicide/Pesticide Applicator license.
While her college career plans ended up going in a new direction, Virginia loves working in the utility arboriculture and urban forestry industry in Ohio and would love to share her experiences with anyone who is interested.
Brian has had a passion for trees and the outdoors his entire life. Some of his best early memories are of climbing trees as a kid in his mother’s back yard. Brian always knew he wanted a career in the outdoors and forestry was always being a favorite topic. He followed this career goal and education path to lead him to where he is today. Through his time in the industry, Brian became an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist, Municipal Specialist, and Tree Risk Assessment Qualified. Brian is currently pursuing the Registered Consulting Arborist credential. Brian is also a certified pesticide applicator through the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Brian is currently a member of the Ohio Chapter ISA and the American Society of Consulting Arborists. He is involved with the Education and Public Outreach Committee and the Safety and Risk Management Subcommittee. Brian is currently the City Forester for Dublin, Ohio. Brian enjoys spending his free time with his wife and kids walking in the woods, climbing trees, or sitting around a campfire.
Sue Mottl graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a degree in Forest Recreation, a degree in Urban Forestry and a minor in Natural Resources.
She is currently the Landscape Arborist for the City of Stow having been in this position since 2006. Her main responsibility is to oversee the design and planting, pruning, and removal of street trees, park trees and trees on city owned open space.
Prior to working for the City of Stow she worked for:
- ACRT – completing street tree inventories throughout the United States and Canada; training others in proper climbing techniques, pruning, planting and removals; and completing utility vegetation inventories.
- Hendrickson, The Care of Trees – climbing to prune and remove trees and assisted with their IPM program.
- Summit Metro Parks – she was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the F. A. Seiberling Nature Realm – arboretum, prairie and nature trails as well as the park district hazard tree program.
She has been an Ohio Chapter member since 1989 and was in the first group to become a Certified Arborist in Ohio. She became TRAQ qualified in 2006.
She has been involved since 2015 on the commercial committee for the annual Ohio Tree Care Conference and has enjoyed finding speakers to present. She is a current board member of the Ohio Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.
Tyler Stevenson administers the State Urban Forestry Assistance Program for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. He is an ISA TRAQ, BCMA® and holds a BS and MS degree in Forestry from Virginia Tech and Penn State, respectively. He has a broad range of experience across multiple urban forestry disciplines, including utility, consulting, and municipal forestry. Prior to joining ODNR, he was the Grand Rapids, MI city forester and has also held positions as an urban forestry consultant, USFS forest technician, and ACRT utility forester. Tyler would be happy to share his diverse experience with you and provide support, guidance, and resources for advancing your career in arboriculture.