Joe Dale

Joe Dale
July 29, 2021 Active


Teamwork, trust, mitigating risk and relying on each other’s skillset – South Australia Commercial Supervisor Joe Dale notes these are just some of the parallels between working at Active Tree Services and his recent experience in the military.

Joe returned to Active Tree Services earlier this year after five years in the Australian Army, including a seven-month tour in Afghanistan.

The stint in the military was a box he felt he had to tick after joining Active straight out of school in 2012.

After starting out as a chipper operator, Joe had quickly progressed through the ranks to team leader and supervisor.

In June 2016, he made the decision to take a break from the tree industry and follow in the footsteps of his two brothers by serving his country.

“I felt if I didn’t do it, I would regret it,” Joe explains.

“I wanted to tick that personal goal and share that experience with my brothers who were based in Brisbane.”

Joe moved to Queensland and joined the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR). He trained as a combat first aider and mortar man, before being deployed to Afghanistan in February 2019.

“I probably experienced every emotion ever in those seven months in Afghanistan,” Joe reflects.

“It was awesome, it was cold, it was life and death, and had its fair share of danger but ultimately I really enjoyed the experience.”

Located near Kabul, Joe’s role varied but on one memorable occasion it saw him tasked with protecting a sniffer dog and his handler.

Known as Woody, the dog was attached to the British Army and his role was to detect ammunition, bombs and explosives along with the materials used to make them.

Known as Woody, the dog was attached to the British Army and his role was to detect ammunition, bombs and explosives along with the materials used to make them.

“My job was to protect the dog and his handler so they could concentrate on clearing an area,” Joe explains.

Noting Afghanistan proved an eye-opening experience, Joe says it gave him a greater appreciation of life in Australia and the importance of good leadership.

“It gets serious pretty quickly over there, you have to detail everything carefully and communicate clearly to ensure you know where everyone is.”

Joe explains these skills are similar to those required at Active where it is critical to remain composed in in high-stress situations.

“The Army really honed my belief that it’s about respect for all, leadership, integrity, resilience and appreciating the skillset of other people then using it to maximise efficiency,” Joe explains.

After returning from Afghanistan Joe was promoted twice, attaining the position of Corporal. Happy with what he’d achieved, he decided the time had come to return to Active.

“I was keen to come back and use that skillset from the military,” Joe notes.

Earlier this year, Joe rejoined Active as a supervisor on the South Australia Commercial contract.

His role sees him looking after crews and their equipment while also liaising with high-profile clients including the SA Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

It’s a job he loves, working as part of a team he genuinely appreciates.

“The team I work for have really high morale. They’re great communicators, are serious when it comes to getting down to business but will also share a joke as well.”

In the coming weeks however, Joe will make the move to Brisbane after being offered the position of Queensland Commercial Supervisor.

His focus will involve growing the Queensland Commercial contract and applying the skills he’s developed during his time in South Australia, and he’s looking forward to the lifestyle of the Sunshine State. 

In the interim, Joe notes Active has allowed him to see much of South Australia.

Among his favourite places is the Eyre Peninsula, including Coffin Bay for the oysters and Streaky Bay for its sheer beauty.

“The wildlife I’ve seen along the way is wicked,” he explains. “There’s nothing like finding a koala in a tree to put a smile on your face.”

Joe notes his job is also packed full of unique experiences where no two days are the same.

“The other day for example, we were using a 95-tonne crane to lift a large tree over powerlines. How cool is that?” he notes.  

But by far, one of things he values most about Active is the mateship.

“When I left and joined the Army, people I’d worked with at Active messaged me on Anzac Day and when I was overseas,” Joe says.

“There are great people in this company and even while I was away, it showed they had my best interests in mind.”