By - Jon Brown

Best Practices for Utility Vegetation Management
March 20-21, 2017 | Dallas, TX

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Vegetation problems create the single largest cause of electric power outages. Both transmission and distribution providers experience tree-related outages on a regular basis and can often lead to larger, more significant problems for both providers and customers alike. Utilities and regulators generally agree that keeping trees and vegetation away from transmission and distribution lines is a critical and expensive responsibility of all utility companies concerned about reliability and fire mitigation.

The goal of this course is to provide attendees with the knowledge from experienced industry experts and a chance to learn from other utilities on how to best tackle various vegetation management challenges. This course is broken down into three fundamental areas of vegetation management; risk management, technology and innovation, and integrated vegetation management plans. Each topic will be broken down and explained to the attendees through PowerPoint presentations, case studies, and open discussions.

Learning Outcomes

Risk Management

  • Identify your areas of risk exposure as a utility
  • Describe proper claim investigation strategies
  • Explain the meaning of co-employment
  • Identify the risks / liabilities of co-employment
  • Describe the responsibilities of employers vs. independent contractors

Technology & Innovation

  • Discuss how a variety of methods maximize results
  • Demonstrate how drone based LiDAR is used as an asset
  • Examine developing cost share programs
  • Explain how cost drivers affect spending
  • Identify workload reduction strategies

Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM)

  • Define Integrated Vegetation Management  
  • Review detailed descriptions of incompatible and undesirable vegetation
  • Review prescription control and how to choose the correct application methods driven by species, density, height and location.
  • Explain the benefits of natural plant succession and tools to arrest this process to deliver sustainable, diverse, compatible rights of Way
  • Describe monitoring treatments and how to employ quality assurance measures to enhance an IVM Program.
  • Discuss how to mitigate environmental concerns
  • Recognize ways to establish a positive working relationship with external agencies



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this event.

EUCI is authorized by ISA to offer 6.5 CEUs for this course.


Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day, be in attendance for the entirety of the course

Instructional Methods

Case Studies, discussion, and PowerPoint presentations will be used


Monday, March 20, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast


As the utility vegetation management industry grows, so does its exposure to risk both internally and externally.  Today’s consumer is becoming more litigious and utilities are faced with an increased risk of claims stemming from contract personnel and vegetation management events.  This section will shed light on the various claims that utility companies are facing by helping the attendees understand their exposures, and the strategies for minimizing risk and limiting impact once claims and employee relation issues surface.

8:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Risk Exposure and Claim Mitigation
  • Identifying areas utilities face risk
  • Recognizing your vulnerabilities
  • Being prepared for claim mitigation
  • Claim investigation strategy

10:45 – 11:00  a.m. :: Morning Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Mitigating Co-Employment and Independent Contractor Compliance Risks
  • What is co-employment and how is it best avoided
  • Recognizing your exposure to co-employment liability
  • Knowing the responsibilities you have as an employer

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon


Technology and innovation are at the forefront of the utility vegetation management industry (UVM).  The appetite for a smarter, faster, and safer ways of managing vegetation adjacent to utility lines is at an all-time high.  In this section, Empire District Electric will provide an overview of their UVM program, discuss their efforts with an innovative cost sharing program and their pathway for integrating drone based LiDAR on their system.  In this section, we will discuss management strategies for system workload and the relationship of cost drivers on your VM budget.

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. :: Case Study and Program Overview – Empire District Electric
  • Insider look into Empire District Electrics UVM program
  • Developing cost sharing programs (wires over wildlife)
  • A utilities path for implementing drone based LIDAR

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. :: System Management Strategies
  • Do you know the work load on your system?
  • Understanding your cost drivers and their impact

4:30 – 5:00 p.m. :: Open Forum, Day One Wrap Up

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast


Integrated vegetation management is one of the most misunderstood management concepts facing the UVM industry.  There are widespread ecological, biological and cost benefits to implementing an integrated approach on your utility systems.  In this section, ACRT and Oncor Electric Delivery will review IVM best management practices, outline the benefits and demonstrate how the use of herbicides is an effective and beneficial tool to managing rights of way.

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. :: Integrated Vegetation Management Overview
  • IVM principals
  • Best management practices

9:30 – 9:45 a.m. :: Morning Break

9:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: IVM System Management & Environmental Relationships
  • A look into Oncor’s path to IVM implementation and cycle management
  • Cooperation with utility environmental departments and external regulating agencies

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Open Forum, Day Two Wrap Up


Jason Grossman, Manager of T&D Vegetation, Empire District Electric Company

Jason Grossman, graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2005 with a degree in Agricultural Science and Natural Resource Management. He majored in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management with an emphasis on Natural Resource Management. He started working in utility forestry in 2006 as a contractor with Environmental Consultants Inc. Jason began his career at Empire in 2008 as the Vegetation Control Coordinator – Distribution West, later advancing to Vegetation Control Coordinator – Transmission in 2013 and Manager of T&D Vegetation in 2016. Jason is a founding member of the City of Joplin Tree Board where he served as chairman from 2009 through 2013.


Bruce Moore, Program Manager-Forester, Oncor Electric Delivery 

Bruce Moore is a forester and Program Manager at Oncor Electric Delivery, and he graduated with a BS in Forestry from Stephen F Austin State University in Texas.  Bruce has over 32 years of experience in the utility vegetation management (UVM) industry for Texas Utility related companies that include: Dallas Power & Light, Texas Power & Light, TU Electric, TU Electric & Gas, and Oncor.  Bruce is recognized as a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and holds a Pesticide Applicators license from the Texas Department of Agriculture. Bruce has served in leadership roles for both the Texas Vegetation Management Association (TVMA), and the Texas Chapter of the ISA.


Elaine Ritchie, Transmission VM Manger, Oncor Electric Delivery 
Elaine joined Oncor in 2011 as an Environmental Specialist within the company’s Environment, Health, and Safety & Training group. She was largely responsible for Oncor’s relationship with the USFWS and set up a 10(a)(1)(B) Incidental Take Permit. Through the permit implementation she developed a working relationship with the Bruce Moore and the Vegetation Management group. Elaine started working in vegetation management (VM) in January of 2015 as the Transmission VM Manager. Elaine holds an MBA in Marketing from North Texas University, and a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Northeastern State University.


Bob Urban, Senior Risk Manager, ACRT

Bob Urban the Senior Risk Manager, Senior Business Development Manager and Senior Manager Contact Training Work Group with ACRT. Bob oversees the business development efforts in the West region of the United States. Bob has served a total of 21 years in various roles with ACRT including field Supervisor, Operations Manager and Director of Operations for the western region.  He holds an associate’s degree in Arboriculture from Paul Smith’s College, and is an ISA Certified Arborist and Utility Specialist.


Bob Chess, Chief Human Resources Officer, ACRT

Bob Chess has been involved in human resources and labor relations his entire career. His responsibilities at ACRT and its subsidiary Bermex include all human resource functions, Safety, Fleet, and Marketing. Prior to joining ACRT, Chess served as Vice President of Human Resources for Roadway Express, a major national less-than-truckload transportation company. He previously held various management positions at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and its subsidiaries. Chess serves on numerous boards, including ACRT, Bermex, the Akron Urban League, the University of Akron, and Sentry Products. He is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR Leadership Group of Northeast Ohio, the ESOP Association and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC).


Joe Marshall, Business Development, ACRT

Joe Marshall a Business Development Manager with ACRT. Marshall oversees the business development efforts in the Southeast region of the United States. Having served a total of 15 years at ACRT in roles ranging from manager of sales and marketing to senior operations manager, Marshall now is a liaison to clients, helping to assess and meet customer needs. Marshall was a senior manager with Signal 88 Security, based in nearby Hartville, OH. He is a graduate of Malone University in Canton.


Rich Hendler, IVM Expert Consultant, ACRT

Rich Hendler is a utility vegetation management expert with decades of experience under his belt. His expertise ranges from extensive right-of-way (ROW) knowledge, herbicide knowledge, and integrated vegetation management (IVM). The bulk of his career was spent with Dow Agro Sciences, where he helped lead the company’s right-of-way operations through product launches, product and market development, oversight and training and assisted clients in pursuing excellent IVM programs. A past president of the Utility Arborist Association (UAA), and past president of the Oklahoma and Louisiana Vegetation Management Associations. Hendler served as the inaugural president of the Texas Vegetation Management Association, where he was also a recipient of the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Hendler was recently honored with the UAA President’s Award in the summer of 2016. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tulane University and a master’s in agronomy from Texas A&M University, and is an ISA Certified Arborist and Utility Specialist.


Hyatt Regency Dallas
300 Reunion Blvd
Dallas, TX 75207

To reserve your room, please call 1-214-651-1234
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $195.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of March 19 – 20, 2017.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to February 19, 2017. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.


Event Standard RateAttendees

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