Local Roots

The Davey Tree Expert Co. has outgrown its corporate headquarters, but it remains committed to Northeastern Ohio

Davey Tree Expert Co.’s corporate headquarters in Kent

Nearly 150 years ago, John Davey planted roots in Kent, Ohio.

Today, the company he founded in 1880 is a multinational corporation approaching $900 million in annual revenue, with 9,000 employees. Davey Tree Expert Co., which offers residential, utility, and commercial tree-care and consulting services, is the country’s 13th largest employee-owned company, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership.

The company has outgrown its corporate headquarters in Kent. There are plans to build a science and learning center in Kent that would provide hands-on training to the company and industry as a whole. In the coming years, Davey Tree is expected to reach $1 billion in revenue.

Sandra Reid, Davey’s vice president of corporate communications and strategic planning administration, believes the company’s ownership model, which dates back to 1979, plays a significant part in its success.

“We think that our growth is based on our service diversity, and our services within the consulting division continue to grow,” Reid says. “We also think our employee ownership model contributes to growth, in that we are not a franchise organization. We are home owned.”

Davey operates across the U.S. and Canada, but its roots remain planted in Northeast Ohio. The company is headquartered at a North Mantua Street complex in Kent, and has several other locations in the area. Recently, Davey entered into an agreement to purchase the former Oak Knolls golf course in Kent, with plans to turn it into a science and learning center for technical training and research.

“Our roots are in Northeast Ohio and we’re quite proud of that,” Reid says, noting the 500 Davey Tree jobs in the region. “And we continue to make a commitment to Northeast Ohio.”

Reid also points to Davey’s corporate strategic plan, “Vision 20/20,” as reason for its growth. The plan focuses on a few key elements: Smart growth, excellent service, differentiating Davey, employee strength and financial responsibility.

The strategic plan has “enabled us to have everyone focused on one agenda, with measurable results tied to what matters most,” she says. “And being an employee-owned company in a service industry, there is nothing more important to us than our employees and our clients.”

Davey is committed to the communities in which it operates, too.

“We support national, state and local organizations around tree and environmental initiatives,” Reid says. “For us a lot of it starts with education.”

Davey helped develop a vocational horticultural program at Kent’s Theodore Roosevelt High School. The company also partners with Kent State University on horticulture and arboriculture programs. Across the country, Davey has similar initiatives, from arranging guest lectures to funding horticulture and arboriculture scholarships to hiring graduates. Ultimately, the goal is to prepare students for the workforce and perhaps one day work for Davey.

Once they get there, Davey offers a number of training opportunities. An example is the Davey Institute of Tree Science, a four-week intensive course, which participants can apply toward college credit from Kent State.

On the environmental front, Davey has worked to protect Northeast Ohio’s tree canopy and increase green space, and sponsors the tree-planting initiative “Trees for Threes” with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

From Davey’s client services to its community involvement, workforce development and training, the company’s work is tethered by its brand promise: “Proven solutions for a growing world.”

“The world continues to change,” Reid says. “What we try to do in all of our divisions is bring solutions to our clients, so the ‘proven’ is things that we know will work, will make a difference, will make for a better world. I think that’s our core focus in terms of what we try to deliver every day.”