The story of Cumberland Valley Tree Service-Landscaping starts in a kitchen in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, back in 1978. George Pogue Jr., the company’s president and general manager, recalls starting as a brush dragger for his father at age 14. After earning his forestry degree, George returned to work full-time with his parents in 1985, bringing innovative visions for the company’s growth.
His wife Lisa, who joined the company in 1999, serves as the chief financial officer. George Sr., the founder, still works at the spry age of 86, running their non-CDL log truck and hauling loads daily.
Navigating the Economy
Like many other businesses, CVTS-L felt the economic downturn between 2009 and 2011. George attributes their survival and eventual success to diversification. “We want to be full service for our clients – no job is too small for us,” he states, noting that they have undertaken projects ranging from $200 to $200,000.
Growth Fueled by Client Needs
The company listens closely to client feedback to steer their growth. From initially offering tree care, they’ve branched out into landscaping and even small construction projects, such as decks and outdoor living spaces. They’ve also ventured into real estate, flipping houses during the winter months to keep the business rolling.
The TCIA Connection
A crucial part of CVTS-L’s success story is their engagement with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). As active members for more than two decades, they have utilized a variety of TCIA’s resources, including its Tailgate Safety program and Tree Care Academy courses.
Lisa notes the importance of the TCIA’s Career Pathways offering, which they customized to create their Professional Development Plan. This series of online courses starts from the first day of orientation and extends through an employee’s first 90 days, offering valuable insights into tree rigging, removal, and plant-health-care.
Mission and Vision
Their mission statement reflects their commitment to quality, integrity, and industry standards. Their long journey from George Sr.’s kitchen to their current four locations shows they live by this mission every day.
Credentials and Training
George proudly highlights their team’s qualifications, from Certified Treecare Safety Professionals at each location to various other certifications and licenses. “Credentials are another part of creating valued employees,” he notes.
Networking and More with TCIA
George and Lisa regularly attend TCIA’s Winter Management Conference and TCI EXPO, key industry events for networking and learning. They emphasize the importance of these platforms in keeping them ahead of the curve.
The Importance of Accreditation
Both George and Lisa believe that becoming an accredited company was pivotal for their growth. It forced them to formalize their business processes, structure, and vision, ultimately giving them the confidence to expand and compete in the market.
The growth of Cumberland Valley Tree Service – Landscaping is a masterclass in how to navigate the complexities of the industry while staying true to one’s roots. They’re not just offering jobs, but careers, shaped through their well-defined Professional Development Plan, and are an exemplary model of what can be achieved with the right focus, flexibility, and engagement with industry associations.