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ASCA Academy 2001
<Bradford Hendricks>
I'm procrastinating joining ASCA- it's really quite expensive, and for a guy who has a regular day job, and part time consult to a very finite group (municipalities), I don't for sure know if it's worth it. After all, I can handle only a few clients, and a few hours a week. I suspect I'll make less than $5K at consulting this year.
The Academy is rather mysterious. What does one learn there? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
How about it, anyone. Any ideas? Please post here or e-mail me.
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<Scott Cullen>
Reply to post by Bradford Hendricks, on August 22, 2000 at 20:45:52:

Bradford, you've really posed two questions.

1. JOINING ASCA. Under the new policies you can join without attending the Academy... you need the Academy for Registered Consulting Arborist status which can be a subsequent step if you want. Is it expensive? x$ per year in dues. At your hourly rate how many pay for x$? x$/$5k = ?% How many additional hours might you get by being an ASCA member, or through referrals? Will you learn something that increases your efficiency or billing rate? Only you can answer those questions.

Personally, I've found the most important benefit of membership to be the network of incredibly knowledgable people that I can call on for advice or input.

2. ACADEMY. As to cost log on to the ASCA website which is linked here and request a brochure. The academy is entirely non-technical. The content is related to consulting: Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice, Oral & Written Communication (report writing), Practice Management and the arborist's role in dispute resolution.

It's not cheap. Registration, travel, hotel and meals, time away from work, homework (yes there's a take home report assignment). But you have to view it as a career investment. Maybe Academy one year, a shiny new computer linked Resistograph another year, an air spade another year. The Academy gives you tools.
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<Russ Carlson>
Reply to post by Bradford Hendricks, on August 22, 2000 at 20:45:52:

We have nearly 250 people who have attended the Academy in 5 years- about 70 per year in 98 and 99. Most will probably tell you it was more than worth the cost.

Cost (tuition) is $875 members, $975 non-members. (Your new membership can save you a hundred bucks right up front.)

The Academy is February 27 - March 2, 2000, at Loews Annapolis Hotel, Annapolis, MD. The first session is 8:00 PM Tuesday, 2/27, so you can use that day for travel, if necessary. Wraps up Friday night about 10:00 PM.

This is among the best 4 days you can spend on your career.

So now you've heard from some of the instructors. Would you other folks jump in and give your views?
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<Robin E Hargis>
Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on August 22, 2000 at 20:45:52:

Brad, it has been the best money I've ever spent. I too was doing it part time as well as being an urban forester/arborist for a local county. I have graduated from the academy and just been ofered a position with a local tree service to consult for them; a service they have been lacking in. I have 2 more written reports and some ceu's to pick up and I will be registered which is my ultimate goal. The knowledge is invaluable that ASCA offers along with the support. Anything worth while is worth doing right. If you are going to consult ASCA is the ultimate source. Good luck.

Robin E. Hargis ASCA
Cert. Arborist ISA Fl 0608
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<James Lascot>
Reply to post by Robin E Hargis, on August 23, 2000 at 06:28:57:

I have accumulated 20 years in the arboricultural field, with 15 years as a climber/foreman. I realized that I didn't want to climb trees forever so I decided to make a serious effort to further my career in arboriculture. I became a salesperson/estimator. During that time I found that I enjoyed verbal consultations, researching, report writing and became computer literate. As I created better reports, my reputation grew. I took on bigger and more diverse projects. I gobbled up ISA and ASCA resources on report writing, expert witness testimony and development around trees. I found them extremely valuable because I was already doing it. I attended the ASCA Academy in 1997. I wasn't an ASCA member but I needed an accelerated learning environment. I found the experience to be very "heady". I was with some of the leaders in arboriculture. My group leader, five or six to a group, was Steven Day (former ASCA President), Russ Carlson was my roommmate (owner of Tree Tech and creator of this website), Dorothy Abeyta, Scott Cullen, Jim Ingram, Ed Brennan, Dennis Inyguez, Denise Britton and many more were there! The most profound thing I got from the Academy was the dedication, intelligence and depth of knowledge demonstrated by both the faculty and participants. At that time most of the Academy participants consisted of ASCA members who had been consulting arborists for decades before the Academy was required. I found the whole experience to be very valuable. I have created a lasting dialogue with many I've met there and consider them colleagues. This has helped in giving me the confidence to create my own consulting firm. It's not for everybody, but I think the ASCA Academy is an invaluable resource for those bitten by the consulting "bug".
Good luck,

James Lascot (Sourwood '97)
San Francisco, CA
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