Employee Stories

Employee Stories – Mark Spiteri

EMPLOYEE STORIES – MARK SPITERI

For Sydneysider Mark Spiteri, his 11-year career with Active Tree Services has taken him to heights and sights he never dreamed of. Each day brings something new, whether it’s helping out in fire-ravaged regions, aerial tree work, or trekking into remote locations alongside goannas and kangaroos.
It was more than he hoped for when he got out from under the bonnet as a motor mechanic in 2005 and followed a friend into a career with Active in the great outdoors.
Mark started out as a ground worker in the Penrith region, trimming undergrowth from beneath power lines. He then moved onto the cherry picker, doing aerial work. He soon became a leading hand, and six years ago progressed to supervisor of the Endeavour Energy contract at Windsor, where he managed a crew of 12 employees and eight sub-contractors.
These days you’ll find him at Bowenfels where he supervises crews, deals with clients, and audits work. He’s also spent time in the Hills District and Narellan along the way.
“I really enjoy the places it takes you; the scenery, the environment and working with different people,” he says.
Those places have included a memorable stint at Yellow Rock near Springwood following the bushfires of 2013. The fire had spread over 3500 acres, destroyed 193 houses and damaged 200 more.
“We were working in scenery with so much devastation,” he notes, “and dealing with people who’d just lost their houses”.
Like most Active workers, he’s seen trees take down power lines, trees through houses, and trees on cars as well. He reflects that being able to assist in an emergency is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
“There are plenty of residents who praise and thank you,” he says. However, occasionally he has to deliver news that people don’t want to hear.

Mark Spiteri

“There are times when someone’s grandfather planted a tree 80 years ago and you have to inform them you need to cut it in half.”
He explains many people don’t appreciate how big a tree will grow when they plant it.
“The bottom line is don’t plant near power lines. Most people don’t realise the things that go on behind the scenes to maintain electricity supply – the work that just goes into putting a kettle on.
“I never used to look up either and prior to starting in the industry I didn’t know that a job trimming trees even existed.”
Since he joined Active, that perspective has certainly changed, and so has the technology involved in day-to-day operations.
“The way we operate plant and equipment has changed lots due to technology. Paper’s now pretty much gone out the window. It’s all on smart tablets. It’s made the job much easier. These days you have a simple GPS tracker to help find your way through the bush or locate a specific power pole. It used to take a lot more time to find places.”
It’s likely he’ll see many more changes in years to come, with no plans to leave the industry and the great outdoors that he loves.
“It’s been a great experience. It’s a great company to work for, and I’ve been fortunate to work with great people.”