Posted: March 21, 2024

Pat Covey believes just about everyone who works at the Davey Tree Expert Company has seen the photograph.Pat Covey speaks in front of a crowd

Covey joined the company in 1991 and is now the team’s chairman, president and CEO. In front of dozens of employees and invited guests Friday, Covey celebrated the company’s completed renovations of its corporate headquarters in Kent, Ohio.

But first, Covey contemplated the crossroads it took to reach this point. He says he often wonders what would’ve happened if John Davey hadn’t moved to Kent in 1880 to become what the company calls “the Father of Tree Surgery.” What would’ve happened if Covey had never found a small ad in the Akron Beacon Journal promoting Davey Tree?

But Covey talked most about the crossroads depicted in the photograph. It’s a picture of Jim Pohl, Jack Joy and Doug Cowan, members of the employee ownership committee, signing the deal in March 1979 with attorneys looking on. The Davey family was in its third generation and couldn’t find someone who wanted to run the company. There were shareholders who wanted to cash out. That’s when private equity companies in New York came knocking.

“They were headed well down the path of becoming private equity owned or being owned by someone else outside the family,” Covey says. “109 employees pooled together their money, whatever they could come up, and offered the Davey Company away to sell it back to the employees.”

To read more about Davey's employee ownership history, click here.

The Davey Tree Expert Company provides research-driven tree services, grounds maintenance and environmental and utility infrastructure consulting for residential, utility, commercial and environmental partners in the U.S. and Canada. Established in 1880 and headquartered in Kent, Ohio, Davey has over 12,000 employees and is the ninth largest employee-owned company in the U.S. This year, Davey celebrates 45 years of employee ownership – Join us and apply today! 

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