Davey Tree, Kent State Partner on Degree Program

This article from Kent State University's eInside tells readers about the partnership Davey has with Kent State to provide employees the opportunity for higher education. 

Posted: Sept. 8, 2014

By Matt Fredmonsky 

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Brian Edwards knew that he couldn’t drag brush forever. The Hickory, North Carolina, resident started in the tree industry right after graduating high school.

He wanted to go to college but, at the age of 18, couldn’t afford it.

“Back then, I had a weak mind and a strong back, and I was able to outwork everyone I worked with and I said ‘this is for me,’” Edwards recalls. “As I got older, I realized a strong back and a weak mind wasn’t going to get me too far.”

Edwards, now 46, started with The Davey Tree Expert Company in 2009 and eventually rose to foreman. He coordinated utility vegetation management around Dominion North Carolina power lines. Yet he still craved a bigger challenge.

“When I learned about the program with Kent State University, I jumped in with both feet,” he says.

Davey partners with Kent State on a two-year associate’s degree program, of which Edwards was Kent State’s first-ever graduate. Employees at Davey can earn credits applied to the degree by taking extension programs offered within the company. Edwards enrolled in the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences (D.I.T.S.), a monthlong intensive training program in biological sciences, tree and plant care, disease diagnoses, climbing and safety procedures and management techniques. D.I.T.S., a 105-year tradition, is Davey’s premiere training program.

RJ Laverne, Davey’s manager of education and training, says employees in the associate program can study courses at Kent State while simultaneously completing D.I.T.S.

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