Each year, the International Society of Arborists (ISA) recognizes several arborists as “True Professionals of Arboriculture” for their unique contributions to the field. These arborists do not limit themselves to tree care, but also work to educate and reach out to the local community about the importance of urban forests.

As the New Year draws closer, Loose Leaf will dedicate each Monday in December to one of 2013’s five True Professionals in appreciation of their work and the work of arborists everywhere on behalf of our trees.

We’ll start by taking a look at the life and work of second-generation arborist Terrill Collier, a plant health care consultant for Collier Arbor Care, a division of Bartlett Tree Experts, in Portland, Ore.


Terrill Collier tree climbing.
Terrill Collier tree climbing. Credit: Terrill Collier/ISA

Terrill Collier is an outdoors kind of guy. He started backpacking in high school and completed a three-day trip around Mt. Hood, the highest mountain in Oregon, by himself. Ever the adventurer, Collier went to Europe after college for two years, traveling to 14 Western European countries. “When I finally came back to the states and settled down in the family business,” Collier recalls, “I realized that I loved my career as an arborist and have been at it ever since.”

Collier Arbor Care of Portland, Ore., began with Terrill’s dad as head of sales driving the company truck and his mom as the bookkeeper who also handled the phone. Today, Collier’s wife, Janet, is his business partner, co-owner and office manager. Their son, Logan, is a third generation ISA Certified Arborist and competition tree climber, joining 26 employees who have made this small business one of the premier arboriculture firms in the Beaver State.

“I grew up exposed to the business of arboriculture and learned to help out,” says Collier. “One of my father’s favorite sayings was work smarter, not harder. When I took over as manager of the business in 1980, he said to get ahead and be the most professional company we could be, we needed to belong to an organization like ISA. We became founding members of the ISA Pacific Northwest Chapter.”

Collier advances the arboriculture profession by promoting best practices. He publishes, “The Arbor Advisor,” a client newsletter with advice on proper tree care. He is also a leader in sustainable landscape practices and wants his company to be on the leading edge in the green industry.

Terrill Collier at work.
Terrill Collier at work. Credit: Terrill Collier/ISA

“Many other industries claim to be green, but I believe that arborists are the original ‘greenies,’” maintains Collier. “I subscribe to the philosophy of running our company by the new triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. You need to take care of your people and the community, protect the planet and show a profit year after year in order to be sustainable.”

For the past five years, Collier has been working on the sustainability initiative for his business which also includes: an organic nutrition program for trees and shrubs, solar electric at the Collier office, a bio-wash pad for cleaning the company fleet of trucks and recycling office and industrial waste.

Collier’s peers say his arboriculture footprint reaches far and wide as past president of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of ISA, promoting the Trees Are Good website, encouraging ISA certification among his employees and running one of the most civic-minded tree care companies in his region.

“I have been a volunteer for various committees and Boards in our industry for the past 30 years. When I volunteer, I get back more than the time I have put in. Working with leaders in arboriculture helps advance my skill and knowledge. I encourage young arborists to step forward. It will pay back to you many fold.”—ISA and Terrill Collier

Come back next Monday as we celebrate an arborist who’s inspiring the next generation.