Mark Isbister

Mark Isbister
May 1, 2020 Active


Jarraff operator Mark Isbister notes he was never the type of guy who was destined for a job in an office. Raised in Tumut, New South Wales, he’s always loved the great outdoors and, before a career at Active Tree Services beckoned, he worked in forestry and logging,

“I started with Active in 2009 at about the time they first took on the Essential Energy contract around the Bathurst/Orange area,” he explains.

Mark joined the team as an EWP operator and progressed to leading hand, travelling Western New South Wales and the Central Tablelands to areas like Dubbo, Oberon, and Burrega.

When the opportunity arose to apply his skills a little further afield in Tasmania, it was one he couldn’t resist.

“We’ve got four kids and love getting out and about in the country with prospecting and four-wheel-driving among my favourite hobbies. So, when Active offered the chance to move to Tasma- nia as the TasNetworks contract rolled out, we thought we might as well give it a go.”

That was 2017, and Mark and his family haven’t looked back. Since then Mark’s been all over Tasmania with Active enjoying some stunning scenery along the way.

“In NSW you can look down the powerlines and see forever, but in Tasmania you just can’t do that. It’s so densely vegetated.

“Then there are the water views. You quickly get used to them but there are some beautiful views over the ocean here.”

“The thing about Active is that there’s always the opportunity to get out and learn new things. I think I learn new things every day in this job and that’s great.”

Just over 12 months ago, Mark also added the title of jarraff operator to his resume.

The piece of equipment sees users control an extendable pole-mounted cutting blade from the ground. It reduces the need for climbers to go up in buckets, making the job safer and more efficient.

Mark notes it’s a new skill he’s enjoying in a job where no two days are the same.

“The thing about Active is that there’s always the opportunity to get out and learn new things. I think I learn new things every day in this job and that’s great.”

There’s also the opportunity to make new acquaintances and among Mark’s most memorable was a brown snake in New South Wales.

“We were working in a three-man crew on an EWP and had just sat down to smoko,” he recalls.

“I sat down with my esky and reached down to find a brown snake staring back at me.

“I looked at him and he looked at me before he quietly slithered off. I mentioned it to the boys as I got up and returned to the EWP to find everyone already in the bucket.”

Then there was the time Mark and his crew saw a bushfire taking hold and rushed down to do what they could while awaiting the arrival of the fire brigade.

But when it comes to some of his favourite highlights, Mark notes the teamwork is always rewarding.

“One thing they do in Tasmania occasionally is get multiple EWPs in together to cut the same powerline span because the trees are so heavy. It’s always great to look down the line and see you’re all cutting together.”

As for his future, Mark says he plans to stay with Active indefinitely.

“You’ve got big opportunities all over Australia, you get to see different areas and you never know where you could be next.”