American Transmission Co.

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ATC vegetation management team cultivates partnership with UW-Stevens Point

A partnership between American Transmission Co.’s vegetation management team and the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point is providing real-world utility arboriculture education and training to College of Natural Resources students.

Each fall, UWSP forestry professor Les Werner, Ph.D., teaches Forestry 331 – Landscape Maintenance/Arboriculture to about 30 students.

“In 2016, Dr. Werner asked for ATC’s assistance with incorporating utility arboriculture into the class curriculum,” said Adam Helminiak, vegetation management consultant. “It started with a couple of two-hour labs and has grown into two lectures and two labs. Both are presented during the fall.”

The vegetation management team developed an outline for the two-hour field labs and a PowerPoint presentation for the lecture. The lecture covered general electrical knowledge, why utilities manage vegetation, working around electricity, career opportunities in the field, and vegetation management tools and technology.

“This is a great opportunity to introduce students to utility vegetation management and expose them to job opportunities in our industry,” said Ben Gura, senior vegetation management specialist.

The field lab sessions covered utility arboriculture as a professional industry, how electricity flows from generation to the consumer, compliance, environmental stewardship and clearing rights, hazard tree identification and risk management, among other topics.

“We continue to build a great relationship with our UWSP partner, and our team feels this is very meaningful to ATC and the utility vegetation management industry,” Helminiak said.