John Davey developed the concept of tree surgery, the idea that the health of a tree could be maintained like that of a human being when he founded The Davey Tree Expert Company in 1880. John, known as the “Father of Tree Surgery,” started training the world’s first tree surgeons – predecessors of the modern-day arborist. Today, the employee-owners of Davey Tree are committed to using their knowledge and expertise to deliver unmatched excellence in client experience. And they are dedicated to furthering John Davey’s mission of caring for trees.
Rooted In Expertise Since 1880
Remaining True To Our Roots
The Davey Tree Expert Company has grown from a small seedling of an idea first planted by John Davey into a giant within the green industry.
Since 1880, Davey has set industry standards for tree care and become one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America. As Davey has grown, so too has its commitment to its clients, employees and the environment.
Explore The Timeline Of Davey History Below.
- 2020: Davey partners with Certified Employee-Owned (Certified EO), the leading certification program for employee-owned companies in America.
- 2019: Davey celebrates 40 years of employee-ownership.
- 2017: Davey is on track to employ 9,000 across North America with total annual revenues projected to reach $1 billion by 2020. Karl Warnke retires as CEO after 37 years of service to the Davey Company. Pat Covey is named President and CEO.
- 2016: Pat Covey is elected president and chief operating officer.
- 2014: The company celebrates 35 years of employee-ownership.
- 2012: Davey management develops a Strategic Plan to concentrate on the company’s focus and direction.
- 2006: Davey partners with the USDA and others to begin development of the i-Tree software suite to quantify the benefits of trees.
- 1999: Karl Warnke is elected president and chief operating officer with two decades of Davey service.
- 1995: Davey Resource Group is established to provide an array of services to clients, including natural resource consulting, tree inventories, utility vegetation management and more.
- 1985: Davey opens its new corporate headquarters in Kent, Ohio. That same year, Doug Cowan, who played a crucial role in the employee acquisition, is elected president and chief operating officer.
- 1984: Davey’s Residential/Commercial service line is established.
- 1982: The Employee Stock Purchase Plan is introduced, making it easier for employees to acquire shares through payroll deduction—at a 15 percent discount.
- 1979: Davey becomes employee-owned as the employees of the company, let by Jack Joy, acquire Davey Tree from the family.
- 1977: Jack Joy, a 30-plus year Davey employee, is elected president and chief operating officer at the same time the Davey family announces plans to sell the company.
- 1976: Davey is granted a patent for developing Arbor Green, a revolutionary liquid tree fertilizer.
- 1969: Davey Tree acquires the Davey Tree Surgery Company in California.
- 1967: Davey opens the Kent Shop in Kent, Ohio, to service the company’s rapidly expanding equipment fleet.
- 1954: The new Davey Technical Service Center opens in Kent. As home to research and development, the new facility also houses D.I.T.S. and is the predecessor to the Davey Institute.
- 1953: Bucket trucks and brush hogs are introduced to Davey crews. These advancements come on the heels of the advent of the power chainsaw, brush chipper, chemical brush control and mist blowing, all of which were introduced to the tree care industry by the close of the last decade.
- 1946: Martin L. Davey, Sr., dies. His son, Martin L. Davey, Jr., becomes president at age 28 just months after returning from three years of service in WWII.
- 1934: The company begins to recover from the effects of the Depression by turning a modest profit after three straight years of losses. In the same year, Martin L. Davey, Sr., is elected Ohio’s fifty-third governor.
- 1933: The throes of the Great Depression render Davey Tree unable to make payroll. Kent office employees were put on half pay; some employees went weeks without a paycheck.
- 1930: Davey’s Canadian operations are founded.
- 1928: Wellington Davey founds the Davey Tree Surgery Company in California.
- 1921: Davey Tree moves into the utility line clearance market with a contract for Northern Ohio Power and Light Company.
- 1920: Paul Davey, Martin’s younger brother, introduces mechanization into the business, improving efficiency through his adaptation of pneumatic compressor technology. The compressors improved fertilization and cavity repair methods in the field, increasing efficiency and profitability. Paul would use his many patents to later found the Davey Compressor Company.
- 1909: John Davey, as the first president, files the articles of incorporation for The Davey Tree Expert Company along with his son, Martin L. Davey, Sr., who is named general manager and treasurer.
- 1908: The Davey Institute of Tree Sciences (D.I.T.S.) is founded to train employees in the science of tree care; the inaugural class graduates in 1909.
- 1901: Davey publishes his book “The Tree Doctor” outlining his scientific methods for healing and caring for America’s trees.
- 1880: John Davey founds The Davey Tree Expert Company.