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The Graf Tree Care Team

We are a small business made up of 12 full time employees - 5 of which are ISA Certified Arborists. We have 3 skilled tree climbers, 3 PHC operators, grounds people and machine operators, fleet mechanic, marketing coordinator and an office manager.

We all enjoy arboriculture as a career, are friendly to deal with, and strive to perform the highest quality tree care available today. Our goals are to increase the long term sustainability of all trees in the landscape and keep our client's trees beautiful and healthy

Chris Scott

CHRIS SCOTT - Director of Operations for Tree Crew & Plant Health Care (2007) 

ISA CERTIFIED ARBORIST #IL 1521-A

As our most senior member of the team, Chris has a 26 year career in Urban Forestry. He is a seasoned veteran that can perform any task necessary that involves a tree. He is known as an industry leader for his tremendous work ethic. Not only does he maintain the highest level of skill as a tree climber, Chris is also an ISA certified arborist, and is a licensed commercial pesticide operator. His main order of business these days is consulting with our residential client base and organizing our tree pruning and plant health care crews.

Chris resides in Elburn with his wife and three children.

Mark Graf

MARK GRAF - Chief Financial Officer (2008)

Mark has a Degree in Business Finance from University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, and a Master Degree in Accounting from Roosevelt University. Aside from balancing our books and tending to the company's finances, Mark also runs our sister company, Moonscape Landscape Illumination. Many of our clients want to enjoy their trees, gardens, and landscape features during the evening hours, and so Mark will design a custom lighting system to meet their needs.

Mark is an avid Chicago sports fan and coaches youth baseball for his three sons in Algonquin, IL.

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DIANA JEFFERY - Office Manager /Marketing Coordinator (2009)

Diana holds down the fort in our busy office, managing communications with our clients, and keeping everything running smoothly. She has background knowledge in horticulture, having taken classes at College of DuPage, and over the past seven years at Graf Tree Care, she has continued learning about trees.

Diana has been married to her husband Daniel for 33 years and has four grown children, and two grandchildren. When not at work in our office, she enjoys spending her time gardening, baking, bicycling, and hiking.

Steve Lane

STEVE LANE - GIS Coordinator, Natural Resources Manager (2010)

ISA CERTIFIED ARBORIST #IL 4565-A, TRAQ CERTIFIED

After graduating from the University of Oregon in 2004 with a double Major in environmental science and geography, Steve got into arboriculture back in the Chicagoland area. Over the last ten years, Steve has performed municipal GPS tree inventories all over Illinois, as well as a massive GIS tree inventory for the city of Seattle Washington. Steve's work and educational experience also include extensive work in botany and native areas restoration, which he brings to Graf Tree Care as an additional service. His extensive experience with trees and native plants provide a holistic approach to residential land management. Steve earned his GIS Certificate from Elmhurst College in 2012.

When he's not out walking in the woods being a plant geek, he can be found at venues around the Chicagoland area, playing bass for one of several blues bands he plays with in his spare time.

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ZAC KING - Plant Health Care Coordinator, Tree Inventory Technician (2013)

ISA CERTIFIED ARBORIST #IL 4615-A

Zac is working towards the ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Certification. He is a licensed PHC operator with over ten years of experience in the tree care industry. He has worked on both tree crews and in Plant Health Care. Zac now spends his time working in our growing Natural Resource Management Division as a tree inventory technician. He can be found out in the field, both park sites and street tree inventories collecting data on trees in which we will use to create Urban Forestry Management Plans and GIS Maps.

Zac has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University. On a personal note, Zac resides in Geneva, and is married with a five year old son and one year old daughter. Zac also enjoys brewing his own beer.

Leslie Delles

LESLIE DELLES - Tree Inventory Technician (2013)

ISA CERTIFIED ARBORIST #IL 9199-A

Leslie is an ISA Certified Arborist with 15 years of experience. After twelve years with the US Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Service/Plant Protection and Quarantine, she joined our team in 2013. At the USDA she worked for two invasive species programs, the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program, and the Emerald Ash Borer Management and Regulatory Program. She is experienced in tree inventory and survey on both municipal and private property. Leslie has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Earth Science (Northeastern Illinois University).

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GREG RATFIELD - Tree Crew Leader (2014)

Greg, a native of DeKalb, is our Tree Crew Leader. His love and admiration for plants and trees developed as a child and flourished through annual camping trips with his family to Devil's Lake in Wisconsin. Even as an adult, Greg can still be found veering off trail-crouched and inspecting vegetation-fascinated by plant life.

Greg is lucky enough to have found the perfect woman-his wife-that allows him to keep multitudes of plant life and several species of animal life in and around their home. Greg enjoys teaching children how to garden, especially his twin sons and his daughter.

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MATT MCCLURE - Ground man/Arborist Apprentice (2014)

Joining our team in the late summer months of 2014, Matt has been learning quickly about trees, working outdoors in the cold, and the natural world. Matt is an avid skateboarder and snowboarder, and is a West Chicago native. He attended St. Mary’s Grade School and West Chicago High School. Phil is also very excited to have Matt joining Graf Tree Care, since the two have known each other since Matt was about ten years old. “Matt is almost like a younger brother to me, and I am glad to see him pursuing this career path. He is fitting in nicely with our crew and helps bring the age curve down a little bit…” Phil says jokingly. “As the rest of us are getting older, it is nice to ha ve some younger guys around here.”

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KC JOHNSON - Arborist Apprentice (2015)

KC was born in Naperville and grew up in Aurora. Since then he has always enjoyed the outdoors, spending a lot of time hiking and cycling through forest preserve trails and nature walks. KC enrolled in criminal justice and law enforcement courses at Waubonsee Community College, and worked alongside his father doing brake jobs, oil changes, and other engine repairs for friends and family. In his last year of high school he selected Horticulture as his final elective and throughout that year he realized he had an interest in plant biology.

josh-engel

JOSH ENGEL - Safety Coordinator (2015)

Josh born and raised in Aurora, and graduated from Aurora Christian High School in 2004. He proudly served 4 years 6 months and 3 days in the United States Marine Corps from 2006-2010. He was first deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007 to the City of Fallujah, a second time to Rawah Iraq in 2008, and a third deployment to Helmand province Afghanistan from March 2009 to April 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Josh currently lives in Elburn Illinois with his newly wed wife and their Black Lab. Josh, a skilled tree climber, has been in the Tree Care Industry for three years, and runs our Safety and Education Program.

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SCOTT TURNEY - Fleet and Facility Manager (2016)

Scott joined our team at the beginning of the season in order to keep our fleet running smooth, maintaining and repairing our trucks, spray equipment, wood chippers, stump grinders, and ATVs. He is also responsible for keeping our shop clean, organized, and in compliance with all safety regulations. Scott was born December 23, 1965 and has lived most of his life in West Chicago, where he graduated from high school.

After High School, he served in the United States Navy from 1984 – 1994 during Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He served aboard the USS Hermitage, USS Portland, USS Milwaukee, and the USS Spartanburg County, earning 6 letters of commendation and numerous service medals for conflicts while at sea. After serving, he worked for Comcast for 21 years as a fiber optic engineering maintenance technician.

Scott has three wonderful children Alex, Curt and Grace, and is very well known and respected as a community-minded individual. He has been very active as a youth athletics coach for football, basketball, and baseball/softball at the West Chicago Park District as well as at the High School.

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JIM SEMELKA - Municipal Consulting Forester (2016)

ISA CERTIFIED ARBORIST IL #0732-AM, MUNICIPAL SPECIALIST

Jim brings 40 years of private sector and municipal urban forest management experience to Graf Tree Care. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Forest Resource Management from Southern Illinois University, has been an ISA Certified Arborist for over 25 years, and an ISA Municipal Specialist since the qualification was introduced. He served as the Village Forester for the Village of La Grange and as the Urban Forestry Superintendent with the Village of Oak Park before leaving municipal work for the private sector.

Jim’s municipal management experience includes establishing complete tree inventories, creating long term, contract-driven pruning cycles, forming Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borer management programs, municipal tree planting programs, and serving as Staff Liaison to Forestry Commissions and other Municipal Boards.

He was President of the Suburban Tree Consortium and has been active in the Illinois Arborist Association for many years, serving as Municipal Chair, Program Committee Chair, and is currently the President of the IAA. Jim received an IAA Special Recognition Award in 2013 for his work in clarifying the role of Prevailing Wage rates as they apply to municipal pruning and removal contracts.

Professional Associations: International Society of Arboriculture, Illinois Arborist Association, Society of Municipal Arborists.

Phil Graf

PHIL GRAF - Urban Forester, Company Founder (1999)

ISA CERTIFIED ARBORIST #IL 1553-AM, MUNICIPAL SPECIALIST, TRAQ CERTIFIED

Phil began his career in the tree care industry in 1993. From 1993-1999 Phil worked in both the private and municipal sectors of the industry. In 1999 after becoming an ISA Certified Arborist, he founded Graf Tree Care, Inc.

Starting out as a two man tree trimming operation, Phil grew the company throughout the next decade, providing quality tree care in DuPage and Kane Counties in areas such as Plant Health Care and Urban Forestry Management.

In 2013, Phil became an ISA Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist and spends most of his time working with Municipalities and Park Districts to improve their Urban Forests. EAB Management, Reforestation Planning, GIS based tree inventory, and professional arborist training are his specialty. He is currently on a public speaking across tour across Illinois and Indiana called “Planning the Urban Forest”.

Phil is an active member of the Midwest Institute of Parks Executives (MIPE), and was named the Associate Member of the Year in 2012.

Married since 1996, Phil and his wife have seven children. The family enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, and sports. Phil coaches softball and baseball at the West Chicago Park District.

frank graf

FRANK GRAF - Master Arborist (2014)

Frank Graf (Frankzjec Hozalleran Laurino Graf), born in 1973, is a long lost cousin of Graf Tree Care owner Phil Graf. Frank has a very storied past in his home country of Hungary. Frank was the first Board Certified Master Arborist in Hungary (2009) and was given the Gold Leaf Award (2012) after being the first to discover the Three Spotted Maple Borer (TSMB), a foreign invasive insect that is ravaging the population of Autumn Blaze Maples across Eastern Europe.

Click here to read more about Frank in our press release. 

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RINGO - Shop Dog (2016)

 

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What's New

GRAF TREE CARE MOVES INTO NEW FACILITY
Last year, we purchased an empty 5,200 square foot building in Batavia, IL. After the design phase and architectural drawings were completed for our custom buildout, the interior construction began. We decided to use this opportunity to showcase urban wood utilization. Recycled wood planks were used to create our desks, cabinets, shelves, window sills, and a conference room table; all from trees that were removed by our crews and milled right here is Batavia. Click here to read full article.

ZAC KING – ISA BOARD CERTIFIED MASTER ARBORIST
In November, our Plant Health Care Coordinator, Zac King, reached the highest professional level of Certification the International Society of Arboriculture has. This certification is based on years of practical work experience, along with intense independent study. Zac has worked hard in the field in our daily operations, attended conferences and seminars, and studied on his own in order to attain this prestigious certification. Congratulations Zac!.

EVENTS AND PUBLIC APPEARANCES
Here are a few places you can come to see us over the next few winter months:

  • January 19-20: State Park District Conference -Downtown at the Hilton, Chicago, IL. Phil Graf and Steve Lane will be presenting groundbreaking 3D Tree Mapping and Canopy Analysis.
  • January 24-26: Indiana Arborist Association Annual Conference - Indianapolis, IN. This time Municipal Consulting Forester Jim Semelka will be with Phil and Steve set up in the exhibit hall to showcase more urban forestry services and technologies.
  • February 28-29: Great Lakes Park Training at Pokagon State Park – Angola, IN. Phil will be in attendance to network and talk to fellow trainees about urban forestry.
  • March 14-15: Minnesota Shade Tree Short Course - Bethel University, Arden Hills, MN. Steve will be presenting on using GIS for Reforestation Planning after the Emerald Ash Borer.
 
ISAsidebar
1485 Louis Bork Dr. Unit #113 | Batavia, IL 60510 | Phone: 630/762-2400 | Fax: 630/578-1304