Managing Equipment For Bartlett Tree Experts

Bartlett’s new senior manager of equipment talks shop.

By Matt Losey
From the October 2023 Issue


I have always been drawn to learning new things; especially about safety, trees, technology, and systems. So my professional career (or “learning adventure” as I see it) at Bartlett Tree Experts took an exciting turn when I was promoted as the Senior Manager of Equipment earlier this year.

From the very start, my new position has been an amazing  confluence of my experiences and interests. There is always something new to learn!

I studied business and forestry in college. I then worked in the FAA compliance department of a private jet company before launching my career in arboriculture.

I joined Bartlett Tree Experts in 2012 in an entry-level position as a Ground Person, dragging brush in Hilton Head, SC. From there, I moved up as a Climber, Crew Leader, Arborist Representative, Local Office Safety Coordinator, and most recently as a Regional Safety Manager.

Fortunately, Bartlett’s corporate structure is intelligently designed so you are acquiring new skills and enhancing others as you move within the company. Let’s just say, I have learned a great deal over the years!

The New Role

In my new position, I handle the day-to-day management duties of a department that is currently five people strong.

Bartlett Tree Experts
Losey (top right) spent years in the field using equipment before managing it.

Among my responsibilities, I oversee:

  • purchasing of new equipment;
  • disposal of old equipment;
  • maintenance, registrations, and financials; and
  • essentially all other things equipment!

Although we have people within the department who specifically handle many of these duties, I jump in and assist in all areas as needs and priorities require.

Bartlett has about 3,000 employees spread out across 167 operations in 39 U.S. states, Canada, the U.K., and Ireland. We handle the management of equipment across the company by working closely with our local office and regional division teams, while looking at new technologies to help us manage the fleet.

On a typical day, our department responds to and handles the requests and needs of our office teams to keep their fleet running smoothly, while finding time to meet with vendors to develop new strategies and equipment, and order for the coming years.

The Equipment department works closely with the other departments within Bartlett, including Safety, Purchasing, IT, and Accounting. A lot of times, we communicate across the building via Teams, document sharing, video calls, and emails.

Drawing On Knowledge

Being Senior Manager of Equipment also meant taking on responsibilities that have been handled for seven years by a Green Industry veteran, Rich Mitchell. I have been working in scientific tree and shrub care for only about a quarter of the time that Rich has been in the Industry.

I had the honor of working with him a bit in my years coming up through the Bartlett ranks since he would assist on various equipment-related issues or projects I encountered in the field.

Fortunately, Rich does not retire until the end of this year. By design, there was a strategy behind the timing of my promotion and setting me up for success by allowing me to shadow and learn from Rich as much as possible. For example, I have had the opportunity to be introduced to many of Rich’s contacts that he cultivated over his 40-year career in the Industry.

As a result, I have been able to tap into Rich’s vast knowledge of the Industry and his talents for building and designing custom equipment solutions to withstand the rigors of use in the field. Rich has taught me what it takes to design safe, strong, efficient equipment. His experience with this extends back over four decades, and that kind of knowledge and experience is hard to find.

Rich has been training me for the past few months now, showing me the ins and outs. This time working together has allowed me the opportunity to learn and understand the department, while equally making it my own and implementing the improvements and changes that I want to see—which is one of the reasons I was chosen for the position.

New Equipment Solutions

When it comes to designing new equipment solutions, I also enjoy the benefits of working with staff at the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories in Charlotte, NC. They’re an amazing team of PhDs and researchers that help to develop the best solutions for our equipment needs. Together, we are currently designing new Plant Health Care vehicles to ensure that our arborists are best equipped to provide safe and effective tree and shrub care. We are also exploring electric motors and pump options that will carry Bartlett into the future as emissions regulations continue to evolve across our operating areas, both domestically and abroad.

Naturally, this is where my background as a production arborist really brings value to the table. My 11 years spent working on client properties provided me with an intimate knowledge of the day-to-day uses of our equipment and an understanding of best practices and maintenance. Later, while working as the Local Office Safety Coordinator (LOSC) in Pisgah Forest, NC, I worked on special projects, which included testing new equipment. These experiences were invaluable to my role today in developing equipment solutions.

Because of my years spent in the field using equipment, as well as my experience conducting a lot of hands-on training, I enjoy every opportunity to educate others across the company about the equipment needs of our hard-working men and women in the field.

As LOSC, I was also involved in developing new processes to improve safety and was one of the primary trainers for the Southeast Division. Then, as Regional Safety Manager (RSM), I took on additional responsibilities in managing the progress of Bartlett’s safety and regulatory programs and goals.

Because of my years spent in the field using equipment, as well as my experience conducting a lot of hands-on training, I enjoy every opportunity to educate others across the company about the equipment needs of our hard-working men and women in the field.

Our Equipment Department makes it a priority to deliver great “customer service” to our internal arborist teams across the company. That means we are highly responsive to the specific equipment needs of all of our operations. We work hard to ensure that all Bartlett equipment is safe, compliant with all regulations, and in good working order.

New Procedures & Tech

Beyond day-to-day operations and developing new equipment solutions, a major focus of my new role is exploring ways to update and implement new protocols, procedures, and technology and then bring these initiatives to the field. This involves partnering with Bartlett leadership and other departments to identify and execute the best solutions.

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As Bartlett continues to grow, we are always looking for ways to improve our processes for managing the Equipment Department. For example, we use internal systems to track new equipment orders and manage maintenance schedules. We are now updating these systems to meet our needs as the company grows both organically and through acquisitions.

One of the complexities of managing Bartlett’s equipment fleet is that our Department must not only prioritize our current needs, but also look ahead to address our future needs. As a result, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my new role is the importance of being open and adaptable to change. By leveraging advances in technology—such as telematics, GPS, and emerging software programs— Bartlett will continue to be in a better position to manage our fleet.

Just like the importance of a maintenance plan for tree and shrub care needs, using technology to plan for future equipment needs translates to always being ready for what comes next. Being prepared with the right equipment allows Bartlett to keep our arborists doing what they do best—caring for our clients’ trees and shrubs to ensure healthy, beautiful landscapes.

Bartlett Tree ExpertsLosey is an ISA-certified Arborist, Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP), and a certified Associate Safety Professional (ASP) through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). He is a four-time Bartlett Champion and served on the President’s Council in 2019. He holds a degree in business from Monmouth University and a degree in forestry from the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) Ranger School.

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