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With decades of experience, ACRT Services Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) Specialist Rich Hendler has seen the evolution of our industry first-hand.
Vegetation management in rights-of-way (ROWs) has been a necessity since our world became dependent on power.
The early days of Hendler’s career were spent researching, developing, and launching selective herbicides, while training applicators.
Reflecting on his career, Hendler shares “One of my key hard idealisms is, we did a great job in the 80s and 90s. We’ve evolved to better, more cost-effective tools. Now, we’re moving towards treating and managing ROWs as ecosystems instead of linear corridors that distribute power. In that evolution, we need to lay claim to the good we’ve done in the past with taking care of the undesirables while keeping the lights on and creating biodiversity in the corridors through forests.”
These days, Hendler focuses his efforts on land management and environmental stewardship. He likes to joke old dogs can learn new tricks, too.
As an IVM specialist, he holds a seat with visibility to the industry where he can see the changes being made and appreciate how far our best practices have come.
“We need to stop, hit the pause button, and rejoice in the good we’ve done. And in that same moment, commit to a higher level in the future. It will take knowledge, commitment, training, and it will cost more,” explains Hendler.
When he looks into his crystal ball, Hendler sees a bright future for our industry filled with teamwork, continued hard work, and more selective applications to better the environment.
“We all need to become greener in our daily lives,” says Hendler. “It takes a team. Change is slow but understanding why it has been slow will help us pick up the pace and do better in delivering it. You can’t switch on a greener world, but you can switch on your commitment to be a little greener in your organizations, meetings, moments, and personal lives.”
ACRT is the largest independent utility consulting company in the U.S. and empowers utilities to proactively manage vegetation across their entire rights-of-way. We consistently stay on top of and share relevant industry content with our employees and customers around the country.