When EPB revamped its vegetation management plan, Wolf Tree, Inc. was able to help bring the plan to life and create a long-lasting partnership with the utility.
EPB, a municipal utility provider servicing clients around Chattanooga, TN, began reorganizing its strategy about 15 years ago and implemented a more formal utility vegetation management program. A manager was hired, and a separate vegetation management department was formed. Prior to this change, the company had not applied a proactive approach to planning UVM. Under the new management more systemic, strategic methods were employed. Two reputable tree contractors were in on the ground floor to help implement his plan: Wolf Tree, Inc. (a Davey company) and an area competitor. A planning contractor was also hired.
The contract began in May of 1997, targeting encroaching vegetation on the grid. EPB understood vegetation management was a long game, and they would be able to improve reliability through proactive maintenance.
Since then management processes and equipment have been fine-tuned and the Wolf Tree contract has expanded to around 30 crews (with 50-60 employees total), depending on the workload demands. The crews have tamed the overgrown vegetation and now treat rights-of-way according to an established work cycle.
Wolf Tree has worked with EPB for over 20 years. In that time, the two companies have fostered a great relationship that results in better communication and production efficiency. A close relationship between Wolf Tree’s supervisor and EPB’s Vegetation Management Group allows the utility to have eyes and ears in the field.
Additionally, Wolf Tree crews were accident-free in 2018 and in the first few months of 2019. They participated in Davey’s “This Is Why I’m Safe” campaign where crew members had photos of loved ones in frames attached to their helmets, lunch boxes, or other high-visibility locations to remind them of the importance of following safe practices.
Wolf Tree is currently in the second year of a 6-year contract with EPB. By offering excellent service and maintaining their close-knit relationship, Wolf Tree expects to continue its work with EPB for as long as the contract allows.