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Our Team

  • Phil Graf

    Phil Graf

    Owner, Company Founder, Urban Forester

    Having worked in both the private and municipal sector of the tree care industry, Phil has created a multi-disciplinary approach to urban forestry. Aside from running the company, Phil enjoys educating people about trees, and also speaks to municipalities and park districts on creating a positive environment in the workplace.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 21
    Years in the tree care industry: 27
    Education: College of St. Francis (1995) Mathematics

    Certifications:
    ISA Certified Arborist (1999). Lic #IL 1553-AM
    ISA Certified Municipal Specialist (2013)

    Qualifications and Recognition:
    ISA TRAQ Qualified (2015)
    Midwest Institute of Park Executives
    Associate Member of the Year (2012 & 2019)

  • Chris Scott

    Chris Scott

    Tree Crew Division Manager

    Chris is a well known and respected industry professional that has been working with trees since 1990. He is a skilled tree climber with a reputation for having a tireless work ethic.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 13
    Years in the tree care industry: 30

    Certifications:
    ISA Certified Arborist (1999). Lic #IL 1321-A

  • Zac King

    Zac King

    Plant Health Care Division Manger

    Zac is one of the most well-rounded arborists in the Chicago area, and can work efficiently in all three divisions of our company

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 7
    Years in the tree care industry: 15
    Education: Northern Illinois University (2003) Biology

    Certifications:
    ISA Certified Arborist (2005). Lic #IL 4615-BCMA
    ISA Board Certified Master Arborist (2016)

    Qualifications and Recognition:
    ISA TRAQ Qualified (2017)

  • Leslie Delles

    Leslie Delles

    Division Manager of Natural Resource Managment and GIS

    Leslie is a very experienced tree data collector having worked with the United States Department of Agriculture prior to Graf Tree Care. Leslie has collected data on hundreds of thousands of trees in Illinois.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 7
    Years in the tree care industry: 20
    Education: Northeastern Illinois University (1996) Earth Science

    Certifications:
    ISA Certified Arborist (2015) Lic #IL 9199- A

    Qualifications: ISA TRAQ Qualified (2017)

  • Steve Lane

    Steve Lane

    Lead Urban Forestry Consultant and GIS Coordinator

    Steve has transformed Graf Tree Care by using GIS to help us manage all three divisions. He is our innovator, the “idea man”. He is an accomplished public speaker, having spoken on global stage at the International Society of Arboriculture Annual Conference, and the ESRI User’s Conference. Steve also teaches advanced training courses for the Illinois Arborist Association.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 10
    Years in the tree care industry: 15
    Education: University of Oregon (2004), Environmental Science, Geography
    Elmhurst College (2012) GIS Certificate

    Certifications:
    ISA Certified Arborist (2006). Lic #IL 4565 – A

    Qualifications and Recognition:
    ISA TRAQ Qualified (2015)
    Illinois Arborist Association (IAA) Commercial Chair, President Elect

  • Todd White

    Todd White

    Plant Health Care Technician

    Todd is a long-time industry professional and a very seasoned arborist and plant health care technician. He runs a spray rig throughout the spring and summer months, and is also a valuable asset on our GIS mapping team in the winter months.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 1
    Years in the tree care industry: 25

    Certifications:
    ISA Certified Arborist (1998) Lic #IL 1244-A

  • Nate Stelter

    Nate Stelter

    Natural Areas Division Manager

    Nate manages our Natural Areas Division. In the off season he can be found collecting data for large tree inventory projects, and helps write recommendations for our clients regarding using trees for storm water management. Nate is working towards becoming an ISA Certified Arborist.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 3
    Years in the tree care industry: 3
    Education: University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point (2016) Hydrology

    Certifications:
    ISA Certified Arborist #IL 9762-A (2019), Certified Wetland Scientist (2017) – IWEER

  • Cherry Countryman

    Cherry Countryman

    Forestry Survey Technician

    Cherry is one of our lead data collectors for GIS based Tree Inventory projects. She was the Captain of the Woodsman Team (Timbersports) at Syracuse University where she earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Natural Resource Management. Cherry is working towards becoming an ISA Certified Arborist.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 1
    Years in the tree care industry: 1
    Education: Syracuse University (2008) Natural Resource Management

  • Will Nash

    Will Nash

    Arborist Apprentice

    Will began his career at Graf Tree Care just days after graduating from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Forest Resource Management. He attending the Chicago High School of Agricultural Science, and work as a season tree crew member at Cook County Forest Preserve.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 1
    Years in the tree care industry: 1
    Education: Southern Illinois University (2019) Forest Resource Management

  • Alex Turney

    Alex Turney

    Tree Crew Leader

    Alex is one of our Tree Crew Leaders in the tree pruning and removal division. He has learned everything he knows about trees and tree work while on the job. He is a skilled tree climber and aerial lift operator. Alex was an outstanding 3 sport athlete at West Chicago High School, and was the varsity quarterback 2014-2016.Alex has a great personality and is fun to be around.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 3
    Years in the tree care industry: 3

  • Charles Giles

    Charles Giles

    Arborist Apprentice

    Chuck began working with us back in the spring of 2019. In his first year as a tree crew member, he has learned a lot and is considering arboriculture as a career. Chuck has a great work ethic and is always pleasant to be around. Hailing from Chicago, IL, Chuck is an avid White Sox and Bulls fan.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 1
    Years in the tree care industry: 1

  • Scott Turney

    Scott Turney

    Fleet and Facility Manger

    Scott is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the Graf Tree Care fleet, and also maintains our shop as well. He provides a great example of work ethic for our younger staff. Scott spent ten years in the U.S. Navy followed by 20 years at Comcast as a Network Operations Technician. In the Navy, he was awarded 6 letters of Commendation and numerous metals for conflicts at sea.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 4
    Years in the tree care industry: 4
    Years in active military service: 10

  • Jon Carlson

    Jon Carlson

    Tree Risk Management Consultant

    Professional of the Year (2008) Illinois Park and Recreation Association Natural Resource Section Education Chair (2008-2011) Jon began his career as a Dutch Elm Disease Technician for the City of Monona, Wisconsin. He then worked for 16 years at the Fox Valley Park District in Aurora, IL then for 14 years as the Superintendent of Parks and Planning for the Bartlett Park District, and then 6 years for the City of Colorado Springs as the City’s Special District Administrator. As a Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Arborist, Jon has joined Graf Tree Care to provide tree risk management consultation to municipalities, park and school districts.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 1
    Years in the tree care industry: 1
    40

    Education: Biological Aspects of Conservation, University of Wisconsin Madison
    1979 Certifications: ISA Certified Arborist (1992). Lic #IL 1135A Qualifications and Recognition: ISA TRAQ Qualified (2016) Midwest Institute of Park Executives Park

  • Zach Riban

    Zach Riban

    Tree Crew Leader

    Zach is one of our Tree Crew Leaders for our tree pruning and removal division. He is learning about trees every day on the job, and is working on his climbing and pruning skills. Growing up, Zach played hockey and he was also on the Lacrosse team at West Chicago High School. Zach, known by his crew members as “The Nighthawk” has an awesome attitude and work ethic.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 2
    Years in the tree care industry: 2

  • Justin Stiles

    Justin Stiles

    Arborist Apprentice

    Justin is the newest member of our team, joining us in January 2020. Justin has been in the green industry for over 20 years, working in the private industry as a landscape architect. Although he has a great knowledge of trees, he will be learning more as this season progresses.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 1
    Years in the tree care industry: 1

    Education: Kishwaukee Junior College (1997) Horticulture

  • Jim Semelka

    Jim Semelka

    Consulting Municipal Forester

    Jim spent nearly 40 years in Municipal Forestry, as the Village Forester of Oak Park, and La Grange, IL. He is our most seasoned veteran of the tree care industry and has so many other special recognition that we couldn’t possibly list them all here.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 4
    Years in the tree care industry: 44
    Education: Southern Illinois University (1976) Forest Resource Management

    Certifications:
    ISA Certified Arborist (1983). Lic #IL 0745-AM
    ISA Certified Municipal Specialist (2012)

    Qualifications and Recognition:
    ISA TRAQ Qualified (2017)
    Illinois Arborist Association Past President, and Past Municipal Chair
    Illinois Arborist Association Special Recognition Award (2013)
    Suburban Tree Consortium Past President

  • Diana Jeffery

    Diana Jeffery

    Office Manger

    Diana has many responsibilities including managing communications with our clients, human relations, marketing, and generally keeping things running smoothly from behind the scenes. Having been with Graf Tree Care for 11 years, Diana knows her job better than anyone and gets is done with efficiency and precision. Her loyalty and dedication are unparalled by today’s workplace standards. Diana is a family oriented person, and is a proud grandmother.

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 11
    Years in the tree care industry: 11
    Education: College of DuPage (2002) Horticulture

  • Mark Graf

    Mark Graf

    Chief Financial Officer

    Mark takes care of financial matters such as payroll, accounts payable accounts receivable, and tax compliance

    Years with Graf Tree Care: 12
    Years in the tree care industry: 12
    Education: University of Wisconsin- Whitewater (2004), Business Finance
    Roosevelt University (2010) Masters Degree in Accounting

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