“Being young and starting out in the industry right after college presented some challenges because there’s such a big learning curve to everything that we do,”
In honor of International Women’s Day, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is sharing stories about women in the arboriculture profession throughout the month of March to honor their contributions to the industry.
Megan Kacenski was introduced to arboriculture through her family. Both her cousin and uncle work as arborists for Bartlett Tree Experts, so it wasn’t hard for her to find the passion for this industry.
It wasn’t until she studied Resource Economics and Arboriculture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, that Kacenski fell in love with climbing.
“I fell in love with the physical and mental challenges of production work and decided to join that side of the industry after college,” she said. “I eventually found my way to being an arborist [for Bartlett Tree Experts].”
After college Kacenski worked for Bartlett in Philadelphia for several years before transitioning to her current role. It was during this time that her love of production work grew; however, joining the workforce right after college didn’t come without its challenges.
“Being young and starting out in the industry right after college presented some challenges because there’s such a big learning curve to everything that we do,” she said.
Kacenski credits her success to having positive influences in her life. “Having the right people around me and building a strong network of mentors that have helped me learn and move throughout my career has been a huge a factor,” she said.
Kacenski said she learned a lot about hard work and what it takes to do good production work in the industry.
“My time in production was really valuable to me,” Kacenski said. “Some of the biggest crane jobs or removals I was able to do with my crew were really special to me because I felt like I learned a lot of valuable lessons from seeing that side of the work we do as arborists.”
These lessons would later help her in her current role as an arborist representative for Bartlett.
Working as an arborist representative, Kacenski begins her workday in safety meetings with her team and works with clients by inspecting their trees and shrubs and giving them recommendations for how to care for their property.
“As an arborist representative where I’m acting as a manager and a leader for the people that I work with I think it’s really important that I have those lessons so that when we’re looking at jobs that my crew could potentially be working on I can see the hazards, obstacles, and challenges that they’re going to face and be able to empathize with what they’ll be going through in a day and be able to put them in a in a safe position.”
Kacenski is an ISA Certified Arborist®. “Having the proper licensing and credentials is a huge factor to being able to confidently go onto properties and know that you have the necessary education to perform good tree work,” she said.
She also serves as the vice president of Penn-Del Chapter ISA.
“The Penn-Del Chapter has a great board of directors,” she said. “One of the past president’s has been a huge mentor, and when he came off the board, he reached out to me and thought that I would be a good fit to join the board.”
When she joined the board of directors, Kacenski served as the director at large for two years. In this role she worked on community outreach and created ways to use social media to benefit the chapter. When she stepped into the vice president role, she continued her outreach efforts, but also began working with the education committee.
“I’m really proud of the team I’ve built around me and the people that I work with,” Kacenski said. “I would not have been able to be successful in my career without the people that I have supporting me.”
Check out the other Women in Arboriculture profiles.