EMPLOYEE STORIES – JARROD HENDERSON
When Jarrod Henderson hung up his chef’s coat and replaced it with high-vis wear and a hard hat, he joined a lengthy list of former chefs who have exchanged the kitchen for the great outdoors and a career with Active Tree Services.
Jarrod explains his ‘tree-change’ was a decision spurred on by the recommendation of a friend and the chance of a better work/life balance.
“I’d previously worked with Active supervisor Alex Segrott when we were chefs together at a motel, and then he came to Active and suggested I might like it.”
With young children, Jarrod felt the opportunity to work day shifts with weekends off and an office in the great outdoors was simply too good to pass up.
That was nine years ago, and in the time since Jarrod has progressed from ground-lining and chipper operator to leading hand on the Ausgrid contract in the Hunter Valley, Cessnock, and Port Stephens.
Along the way he’s experienced almost every role there is to enjoy in the field, including working as a climber, and EWP operator. A few years ago, Active also offered him the chance to gain his Certificate III in Arboriculture, allowing him to add qualified arborist to his growing skillset.
This experience now sees Jarrod step into whatever role is required on any given day. Most recently he’s been scoping trees which need to be cut as crews work to meet bushfire compliance in the lead up to summer.
It also sees him travelling from Merriwa to Putty and Kuruah to Cessnock, and the Maitland boy says he never tires of the variety of scenery and sights involved.
“One day you’re in the mountains, the next you’re overlooking the beach at Port Stephens. You’re never in the same place and there’s so much scenery in between.”
The role has also seen him venture further afield, including a stint down on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. It’s an experience that ranks as one of his favourites in nearly a decade working at Active.
“I worked a couple of weeks down there by myself on their power supply, which I was pretty happy about as it showed they trusted me with the responsibility.”
More recently Jarrod enjoyed a six-week period working in Yass outside Canberra.
“That was completely different,” Jarrod reflects. “The day I came home it was in the minuses and the day after I got back, it snowed.”
It’s not his only brush with brisk weather either. He fondly recalls the day he was “paid to play in the snow” when poor weather called work to a halt at Barrington Tops.
Meanwhile, that weather can also result in extremely heavy workloads and its own unique challenges.
Shortly after Jarrod started with Active, severe storms and flooding impacted Port Stephens. With a number of crew members flooded in, it was a “pretty crazy” period of 10-hour days cutting trees off powerlines, Jarrod notes.
Aside from the variety of scenery and his love for the great outdoors, Jarrod explains it’s the people who really make working at Active so much more than just a job.
It’s also a place he’ll continue to enjoy working at for the foreseeable future.
“It’s a good company to work for where each day is spent with your mates. I’ve also had the chance to travel to Victoria and throughout NSW doing it.”