In this month's member spotlight we introduce you to Kevin Ward, arborist consultant at Utility Tree Service based in Shelby, North Carolina. Kevin is a Certified Arborist with many years of experience, and he manages crews who are committed to safety and efficiency when working on projects in central North Carolina.

Read on to learn how his crews quickly deployed to handle an emergency tree removal in Gastonia, N.C.  He also has good insights for new members and those considering joining the HMI Authorized Member Network.


How have HMI referrals and support impacted your business?

Our business has grown over the past decade by working with HMI. Nine times out of 10 our HMI leads are in a new areas that our business is trying to get into.


What advice would you give arborists new to the HMI program that may help them be successful?

Use the mobile app and document your work! When you think you have enough pictures, take 20 more, and when HMI asks questions answer them honestly because they are only trying to justify getting you paid quickly and efficiently.


What challenges have you overcome when you first started handling HMI referrals?

It’s been an a very difficult experience but amazing to overcome some extremely challenging issues. It's extremely gratifying to help homeowners who have had large trees fall on their home and impact their lives. We are honored to help clients under difficult circumstances. We wouldn’t have had some of these opportunities without HMI.

We had a unique challenge recently as inclement weather caused a tree to fall on the home of an elderly woman. She was very concerned and somewhat frantic about water penetration causing damage to her interiors. HMI sent us the referral at 11:54 a.m., and by 12:45 p.m., we had a crew on site working. It's all about responsiveness and professionalism!



What makes your company distinct in your market?

Utility Tree Service has a strong reputation as a committed service provider known for quality over quantity, professionalism over profit, and the highest standard of service available. We’ve spent a lifetime honing our craft and improving the quality of our services, which includes fast turnaround times and rigorous standards for safety.


What else would you like us to highlight about your business?

We position ourselves as community ambassadors, helping to build a better, healthier, and happier community for all. As tree care experts, we are a key intersection between nature and society. This is why we use safe, sustainable, and eco-friendly methods when working on tree care and debris removal.


How does HMI’s mobile app help you in your business?

I always recommend using the mobile app. Ten years ago I was sending all the pictures and documentation paperwork over to HMI on a regular basis. It's so much more convenient to upload it while we're in-progress.


Don’t hesitate to reach out to Kevin for advice about working with HMI or questions about the profession.