EMPLOYEE STORIES – MARK SHAW
As a man who loves the great outdoors, Mark Shaw’s role as a supervisor with Active Tree Services ticks all the right boxes. It sees him travel across the state of South Australia and occasionally beyond, exploring areas few get to see.
Mark joined Active about seven years ago, with extensive experience in the tree industry and after a stint in the oil and gas game working two weeks on, two weeks off.
“That wasn’t exactly suited to family life, so I was looking for a change,” he explains.
He already knew a “few guys” working for Active, and when the position of a supervisor came up, he seized the opportunity. Initially his role focussed on the McLaren Vale region and included working around the state when required. Now, he’s mainly based at Adelaide Hills on the SA Power Networks contract.
It’s a big area covering Ceduna to Bordertown, and the job still allows him to travel when the need arises. That’s included stints in NSW responding to storm damage, a two-month gig in Victoria and a recent trip NSW with a 100ft cherry picker in tow.
Mark was tasked with transporting and operating the cherry picker in advance of the Red Bull Climbing Championships. His job was to help an ecologist access trees to check for wildlife prior to the event.
“The ecologist had a camera and was checking out the hollows, he found all sorts of animals. Some stayed in the tree but others, like hibernating microbats, were moved prior to the competition.”
Mark notes this variety ensures his job is always interesting, and he still relishes the opportunity to be out in the field operating chippers, pickers or undertaking whatever task is required.
As a supervisor however, his general day-to-day job involves liaising with customers, running crews in the field, organising the workload, and handling any issues that arise.
“I try to keep things moving as smoothly as possible,” he notes.
Part of that relies on open communication with customers, and he explains a welcoming approach helps mitigate any misunderstandings.
“I like to start with a ‘hello, how are you?’ and give them the options. Nine times out of 10, people are then receptive to what we need to achieve.”
It’s a fulfilling role where he also gets to work with the young, “rising talent” of the Active workforce.
“We’ve got some great young lads in SA who are really stepping up to the plate, and that’s always good to see.”
As for what’s changed in his career, well safety and technology are the major innovations.
“Safety is huge,” he notes. “I started out at a time when no-one blinked an eye if you came to work in shorts and a singlet, hard hats weren’t even heard of, and there was no traffic control. Improved safety is great for workers and it’s good for the industry.”
Meanwhile the Active computer system is another valuable addition, he explains.
“It just makes life so much easier.”
But it’s the job diversity, great outdoors and the Active team that Mark values most.
“I’m lucky enough to travel to places others don’t get to go, and work with a great bunch of guys. I can’t see myself doing anything else.”