2020 Conference Speakers

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Conference Speakers For The 71st Annual Conference & Trade Show

Want to know who’s speaking at the conference this year? Below you’ll find bios of industry professionals you’ll see in February at our annual conference. To view the Conference Agenda, click here.

Dr. Ken Burton

A professional speaker and veteran leader who transforms struggling organizations into healthy and vibrant entities. He clearly communicates leadership concepts through humour and personal anecdotes. Ken is an academic with an approachable, easy going personality; as comfortable in the lectern as he is in the coffee shop.


J. Casey Clapp

Casey is a Tree Inspector for the City of Portland, Oregan, and worked as a consultant with Tree Solutions, Inc. in Seattle, Washington. Casey specializes in tree identification, diagnostics, risk assessments, and trees in development. He’s been involved in urban forestry and arboriculture since 2010.


Heather Fraser

Heather has worked in the forestry sector for 37 years and has been with the City of Moncton for over 27 of those years. She works for the City as Natural Resources Program Coordinator under the Engineering and Environmental Services Department. Her job goes well beyond managing the urban forests and parks – including larger tracks of land in watershed areas that produce potable water to the Tri-Community of Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe. She is a Forest Technician, Fish and Wildlife Technologist and has Environmental Science background from Mount A University in Sackville, New Brunswick.


Dr. John Gathright

Dr. Gathright holds a Doctorate of Bio-Agriculture from Nagoya University, founded Tree Climbing® Japan (1997), Japan’s the first technical tree-climbing school. Tree Climbing Japan has grown into a national organization with 4,000 certified tree climbers who have helped over 300,000 people of all abilities to climb trees in urban forests and green spaces. 
Through his doctoral research and other endeavors, Gathright has conducted extensive research into the physiological, psychological and societal benefits of purpose specific tree-climbing and tree assisted therapy programs. A pioneer and leader on the subject, Gathright established TreeHab® – Tree Climbing Therapy® and Tree-Assisted Therapy®, he is the reciprient of numerous awards.

He truly believes that like Bio Diversity, Arborists greatly benefit from a diversity of professional partners and associates out side of the Arboriculture Industry. In addition to Tree Climbing and TreeHab activities, Dr. Gathright created the Japan Arborists Association – an ISA affiliated Organization, as well as the Arborist Training Institute of Japan. Through combining Arboriculture Business with TreeHab and other strategic Social Outreach these organization have also created new business opportunities and higher profits for arborists and company owners. When not actually climbing trees or training tree-climbing instructors, he can be found lecturing about the topic as a Professor at Chubu University or sharing his expertise at events and conferences as well as spending time with his family and friends in their TreeHouse (Home) made of Japanese Miso Barrels in the mountains of Central Japan.


Jackie Hamilton, R.P.F., M.F.C.

As Research Analyst, Regional Ecosystem Services, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Jackie leads research projects relating to urban forests and the ecosystem services they provide as a Research Analyst with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Before starting at TRCA in 2017, Jackie had 5 years of  professional experience working at not-for-profit, consulting and government agencies. She is a Registered Professional Forester, an ISA certified arborist and a graduate of the Master of Forest Conservation program at the University of Toronto.


Richard W. Harper, PhD

Richard is an Extension Associate Professor of Urban & Community Forestry @ UMass Amherst. Rick is an immediate Past-President of the International Society of Arboriculture, New England Chapter, and is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist. He currently teaches courses in urban & community forestry and human dimensions of natural resources, and administers an applied integrated research and extension program in urban forestry.


Dr. Darby McGrath

Dr. McGrath is Program Lead for Greening the Canadian Landscape at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and is the Research Scientist for Nursery and Landscape. Her work integrates nursery production research with ecological restoration principles to address challenges of tree establishment and performance in the built environment.


Dr. Glynn Percival

Dr. Percival manages the UK and Ireland Bartlett Tree Research and Diagnostic Laboratory based at the University of Reading. He is the author of over 100 scientific papers, magazine articles and book chapters. In addition, Dr. Percival is on the editorial board for Arboriculture and Urban Forestry and Urban Forestry Urban Greening and is the co-editor of the proceedings of the Trees, People and Built Environment Conference, published by the Forestry Commission. Reading University made Dr. Percival an honorary visiting research fellow, citing his valuable contributions within the Plant Science Department and the University. Dr. Percival is also a visiting lecturer at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and was awarded the prestigious Arboricultural Association Award for Research and Education in 2017. Dr. Percival is actively involved in managing urban and rural landscapes for the Royal Households and Duchy of Cornwall.


Mark Roberts

Mark is a former President of the ISA and the New Zealand Arboricultural Association. He has been honoured nationally and internationally for his services to arboriculture and the profession. His relaxed and approachable presenting style has seen him talk on varied topics across the world stage. Mark has written industry articles for over 20 years, his works is regularly published overseas and several of his articles have been translated, his writing now includes an educational blog robertsconsulting.co.nz. Mark is a consulting arborist based in Dunedin New Zealand, where he is the owner of the arborist collective Roberts Consulting Ltd.


Andrew Wall

President of Sandler Training in Milton, Ontario. Andrew has been helping Entrepreneurs, Business Owners and Presidents profitably grow since 2006. Andrew combines his 30 years of sales experience with his 20 years of sales management and leadership experiences with the globally renowned Sandler Training proprietary content in an interactive and fun manner.