Speakers

Eric North — Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota
Eric’s primary responsibility is preparing students for successful careers in urban forestry, arboriculture, and natural resource management in the built environment. In his classes, students learn the complexity of tree biology, how to complete site assessments, manage pests and think strategically about urban forestry management. Eric also serves on community boards and committees, including the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and is an ISA Certified Arborist.

Philip Potyondy — Sustainable Forestry Coordinator, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board 
​Philip likes trees and people. He is a proud University of Minnesota graduate with a Master of Science & Bachelor of Science in Urban Forestry, an International Society of Arboriculture – Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist, Tree Care Industry Association – Certified Treecare Safety Professional, an avid member of the world’s only tree climbing brass band “The Arborators”, and a founding member of Brewing a Better Forest. He has been with Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board for 12 years.

Nels Spence — Local Office Safety Coordinator, Bartlett Tree Experts
Nels received his formal education in horticulture and fitness technology in and around the Portland, Oregon area. He worked as an athletic trainer at the US Adidas headquarters and coach at a spinal rehabilitation and sports training facility. After a couple years of training he felt the urge to move back to Minnesota where he began his career in arboriculture. The winter of 2022 will be his 10th year working for Bartlett Tree Experts.

Rob Venette — Director & Research Biologist, Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants & Pests Center, U of MN & USDA, Forest Service
Rob Venette is Director of the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC) at the University of Minnesota and a Research Biologist with the U.S.D.A Forest Service, Northern Research Station. Rob has been Director of MITPPC since 2015 and has helped the Center grow to include more than 90 researchers. He is particularly well known for his work on the cold hardiness of invasive species, like emerald ash borer. 

Brian Volz — Arborist and Tree Inspector, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Brian is an arborist and tree inspector for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board where he has been employed for more than 5 years. He has an MS in Urban Forestry from the University of Toronto and a BS in Cartography from Missouri State University. Brian has over 12 years experience in the field including as production climber, plant health care technician and sales arborist. His favorite parts of day to day operations include structure pruning young trees, tree inventory documentation, special climbing projects and making house calls to Minneapolis residents who have questions on their trees.

Karen Zumach — President, Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee
Coming soon!

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