Al West’s Legacy of Leadership
After many years of service, Al West is stepping down as a Council of Representatives (CoR) representative for TREE Fund.
Lee Huss, former chair of the CoR Executive Committee, said Al represented TREE Fund with class and a personal conviction of the great work it provided for arboriculture. He added that when ISA changed governance to a smaller board of directors, Al was selected from the ISA Board of Directors to serve as the first ISA CoR chair. During the early years of CoR, particularly at the Annual Meetings, Al did his very best to ensure everyone had a voice at the table.
Another former chair of the CoR Executive Committee David James added, “I have a strong recollection of a man in control and used to helping a group of people reach important decisions. He did this by allowing people time to speak, ensuring he understood what they were saying, encouraging debate, and at all times remaining impartial, but still helping us as a group to make some important decisions that would guide CoR through the next few years as it found its place in the mechanics of ISA functioning and maintaining its connection with all its component parts.”
Following stepping down as Chair, Al continued to represent Tree Fund on CoR. “He always had thoughts to offer on any particular subject we were discussing, he also usually had a few sage words of advice for me when we stopped for a coffee break, “ James noted. “The personality traits I saw Al exhibiting as Chair continued as a member of CoR.”
Al was instrumental in the formation of TREE Fund resulting from the merger of ISA Research Trust and the National Arborist Foundation, he was the chairman of TREE Fund from 2002-2008 and he is now chairman emeritus of TREE Fund.
Raised in England during World War II and immigrating to the U.S. via Canada in 1949, Al arrived in California in 1952. Following college graduation, he became a research forester studying influence of forests on snow accumulation and melt. Al served as District Ranger, Forest Supervisor for Los Padres National Forest. In Washington D.C., he was National Director of Information Systems, National Director Fire & Aviation, Associate Deputy Programs & Legislation and Deputy Chief. Al currently lives on an orange grove in Ojai, California where he was District Ranger. He is active in several local non-profits and serves in one county-elected position. One of his peers jokingly said that Al could always be counted on to bring a box of oranges from his orange grove to sell at the live auctions and that they were typically the most expensive oranges ever eaten.