EAW 2023, Charleston, SC,
Who is Speaking?

Chris is a second-generation arborist with extensive knowledge in tree risk assessment, tree pruning, plant health care, and tree preservation and protection. His father, Dave Ahlum, started Ahlum & Arbor Tree Preservation in the late 70’s. After growing up around Ahlum & Arbor and working through every position in the company, he took over ownership in 2017. In six years, he has grown his team from one location with 23 employees to over 60 employees at two locations and doubled their company revenue.

Ahlum & Arbor has been accredited through the Tree Care Industry Association since 2016 and was named one of the top 20 tree care companies in 2022.

President-Charleston Tree Experts, LLC

Marshall Badeaux has invested most of his 20-year career in arboriculture as a highly skilled and proficient tree climber. He had more than a decade of experience working production in small tree service firms as a lead climbing/foreman before establishing his own tree care company 2012. With a desire to improve the tree industry, Marshall started Charleston Tree Experts to increase awareness of safety and proper tree care practices. With a lead-from-the -front mentality, Marshall is passionate about providing the right tools for the job, including personal and professional advancement. Under his guidance, Charleston Tree Experts achieved TCIA Accreditation in 2020 and has become a pinnacle of tree preservation locally.

Due to a lack of regulation in construction with regard to tree preservation, Marshall shifted his efforts from production removals to preservation and consulting. As an ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist, Marshall spends most of his time writing tree protection plans for new construction communities, treatment specifications for high valued trees, and finds it more rewarding to forward the importance of preservation. Marshall has contributed time to the Biomedical Sciences lab at the Medical University of South Carolina in research and discovery of deriving medicine from trees for cancer studies. He serves as a mentor to many tree industry professionals and routinely hosts tree care workshops.

Marshall is a Registered Consulting Arborist, Board-Certified Master Arborist, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified and Tree and Plant Appraisal Qualified. He’s a Certified Tree Safety Professional (CTSP) and has an Electrical Hazard Awareness Prevention certification in addition to being a state licensed pesticide applicator. Marshall is an expert for tree regulation enforcement and planning. He has a desire to preserve Charleston’s oldest residents through continued education and constantly implementing advanced tree care practices. When he’s not saving the fractured urban forest, Marshall enjoys traveling abroad and discovering new cultural and arboricultural practices.

Business Development Manager -Lead Sales Arborist-Charleston Tree Experts, LLC

Ashley Connelly began her professional career in the legal field as a professional paralegal for 12 years. Native to South Carolina, with an eye for details and a desire to be outdoors, she daringly pursued a career change to arboriculture in 2020.

Ashley believes communication and education are key to striking a balance between what the client wants and what the tree needs. Ashley instills personal and professional development in her team members. She developed and oversaw the initiatives that doubled the size of the company size and tripled gross revenue in two years. She has pursued opportunities to both build community relationships and further educate the greater Charleston area about the value of the living assets in our fractured urban forest.

She strives to broaden common knowledge on proper tree care and serve her community. She is currently an ISA member and studying for her ISA Certification.

Erin Demers joined TCIA as the manager of workforce recruitment & retention in June 2022. In her role, Erin supports tree care companies and educational organizations with registering the Arborist Apprenticeship Training Program and facilitates logistics for Student Career Day and the Women in Tree Care Pre-Conference events. Erin will be supporting workforce development in the tree care industry in an effort to recruit new workers and provide resources to positively impact training and retention. Erin oversees the Arborist Apprenticeship Training Program, OutsideCareers.org, TCIA’s Career Center, and all current workforce development initiatives.

Amy joined forces with Jeff Grewe, founder of Arbor Aesthetics Tree Service in 2014, before marrying him in 2015. With a background in graphic design and zero arboriculture knowledge, she bought into Jeff’s vision of what Arbor Aesthetics could become. She took over Jeff’s bookkeeping and office phone, and then got to work to become a certified arborist. With a knack for developing processes and efficiencies, Amy has played an integral role in scaling their business and creating a positive and cooperative workplace culture.

Amy is a certified arborist in Nebraska, and never misses a company birthday.

Jeff founded Arbor Aesthetics Tree Service in Omaha, Nebraska in 2005 with a handsaw, a borrowed pickup truck, and a dream. Over the last 17 years, his company has grown to a team of 20 and is one of only two TCIA Accredited companies in Nebraska. Jeff is dedicated to sharing his gift of overcoming adversity with his employees and creating a safe environment for arborists of all backgrounds to grow and develop as leaders and arborists.

He is TRAQ qualified by the ISA, CTSP certified by the TCIA, and is the president of the Nebraska Arborists Association.

Currently, Virginia serves as the director of curriculum and course design at TCIA, where she leads a team of instructional developers and subject matter experts in developing and implementing programs that meet the evolving needs of students and employers. Virginia utilizes her expertise in the development of competency-based training programs and adult learning theory to offer a blended approach to employee development, combining online learning and on-the-job skills training. Her passion for education and commitment to excellence make her a highly respected leader in the field of curriculum and course design. Most recently, she was the chief architect in designing a custom learning platform infrastructure that has modernized the educational landscape for the tree care industry.

Suzanne has a master’s degree in education and 15+ years of experience in project management and leadership. She is a Navy veteran and has worked in many different fields both locally and internationally. She is the director of business solutions at TCIA and works to actively engage members in programs that are specifically designed to help their businesses grow.

Lisa’s passion is working with entrepreneurs. She has 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur and business advisor. She specializes in successfully turning dozens of businesses around to double-digit growth and profitability as well as growing an eight-figure family-owned business. Lisa no longer manages the family-owned business, but still sits on the board and spends all her time guiding other entrepreneurs so that they too can get what they want from their business.

Larry Weaver is an Internationally-touring motivational speaker and comedian. He delivers clean humor with a positive message worldwide through stand-up comedy, public speaking, and digital media. A first-generation college graduate, Larry grew up in the rural village of Saxapahaw, NC. After majoring in accounting at the University of North Carolina, Larry left his CPA dreams behind to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. He has shared the stage with entertainment legends like Faith Hill, Chris Rock, and “Weird Al” Yankovic — just to name a few.

Josh Zeidman is a managing director in the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) practices focused on traditional sell-side and ESOP transaction services. Previously, Josh served as a senior manager at KPMG and responsible for leading a Fortune 60 client through complex business transactions. Josh completed his Master of Accountancy at Miami University, where he graduated Cum Laude. He also holds his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.

Bryan Zlimen is the managing attorney at the law firm of Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC, the only law firm focused specifically on green industry issues. Bryan’s practice focuses on helping new and established businesses reduce risk and capture opportunities for growth.

We will be taking next year to reinvent EAW!

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Connect with
the TCIA Mobile App!

Download the TCIA mobile app and set up/log in with your TCIA account to keep the conversations going. Access Tree Care Industry-specific highlights on the newsfeed, message other tree care professionals on the app, and set up your agenda to never miss a thing. The app is free and a great resource for anyone attending the TCI EXPO 2021!

Connect with
the TCIA Mobile App!

Download the TCIA mobile app and set up/log in with your TCIA account to keep the conversations going. Access Tree Care Industry-specific highlights on the newsfeed, message other tree care professionals on the app, and set up your agenda to never miss a thing. The app is free and a great resource for anyone attending the TCI EXPO 2021!


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