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When it comes down to picking his favorite class to teach, ACRT Arborist Training Instructor Jeremy McCombs will share with no hesitation, ACRT Arborist Training’s basic arborist course, with the advanced arborist course coming in a close second.
“It’s really rewarding to watch the people with a lower level of skills progress through the week and know that when they leave, these people are going to go out there and work completely differently than they did when they come into the class,” says McCombs.
Ultimately, McCombs’ “why” is rooted in safe practices. He has friends — both who fell from substantial heights — who are paralyzed from the waist down and will never walk again.
“When you see those things firsthand, it changes how you think. That’s when I started focusing more on safe work practices and making sure everyone around me goes home the same way we got here — better, if possible,” he shares.
Those experiences drive McCombs to spend a meaningful amount of time in each course to ensure each student understands that he’s not there to drill American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations into their minds. Rather, he encourages students to take that information, digest it, and apply it for their own sake.
He explains, “I like to say that safety is not a practice, it’s a lifestyle or a choice. It’s a way of life because if we just think safety is a practice at work, that’s not going to work. We have to choose to be safe and think about safety when we’re not at work, too.”
For McCombs, a 30-year industry veteran, working with trees is a family affair. He recalls getting his start in the industry working for a tree care company in California’s Central Valley as a 17-year-old. His father was a logger, and his maternal grandfather served as a tree climber.
After three decades in the industry, McCombs has a couple of pieces of advice he likes to offer those who are newer to the industry.
“Find a mentor and a company that will build you up and help you work safer. Work somewhere that will build your skills and you as a person.”
ACRT Arborist Training provides entry-level through advanced arborist classes and certifications for line clearance companies, government agencies, tree care companies, municipalities, and individuals around the nation.
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