'96 All-round ISA International Tree Climbing Champion Rip Tompkins shares his safety skills in Alaska.
ISA International Tree Climbing Champion Rip Tompkins says he sort of fell into the arbor world, “I’d been doing some landscaping and one thing led to another and I thought maybe I’d like to try climbing trees, and once I tried it I learned that I really liked it a lot.” Tompkins was on the Peninsula last week to hold a safety and skill seminar at Sterling Tool Rental. Tompkins started a tree company in the Boston Massachusetts area where they had an annual arbor day that included an International Society of Arboriculture tree climbing competition, “So I figured I’d give it a try and competed. I didn’t win that day, but actually I was a big winner because I learned a lot of new and interesting techniques and met a lot of good people, one of which would become my future business partner, 3 time world tree climbing champion Ken Palmer. But that day got me fired up and gave me a thirst to learn more,” said Tompkin.
Tompkin went on to perfect his skills competing around the world and in 1996 won the all-round ISA Tree Climbing Championship. “One of the things that Ken and I realized as we were competing against one another and becoming friends was the lack of safety training in the tree care industry, so we decided to do what we could to change that, and that is what brings me here to do the workshop at Sterling Tool Rental. There is nothing better than the feeling of being up in a tree and when I realized that I could get paid to climb trees, it was a great thing,” said Tompkin, who has climbed trees up to 300 feet tall. “Many of the techniques that I have learned actually came from Scandinavia. I was taught by Soren Erikson who I met through my association with Husqvarna Forest and Garden. They are a company I have been affiliated with the last 14 years because not only do they make fine products, but the way they stand behind safety training in all the industries makes me proud to work for them,” added Tompkin.
According to Joe DeSmidt, owner of Sterling Tool Rental, Rip drew a good crowd to his store last weekend. “It was amazing. I’ve been dealing in saws for over 30 years and knew it all, but in 5 minutes with Rip I learned things I never even thought of and he told me he didn’t care how many people turned out as long as he could keep one person from getting hurt with a saw that the trip would be more than worthwhile. He really cares about people and safety and it shows,” said DeSmidt.
Sterling Tool Rental is the largest Husqvarna Chain Saw dealer in all of Alaska and specializes in personalized customer service. “That’s the key to our success, we back up everything we sell with personal service by trained mechanics,” added Joe. Sterling Tool is a total source Husqvarna dealer offering everything Husqvarna makes from chain saws to riding lawn mowers and brush cutters, to snow blowers and hedge trimmers. DeSmidt hopes to bring Tompkins back again next spring, but in the meantime he’ll be glad to pass on what he learned from Rip at his shop in Sterling. Sterling Tool Rental is open Monday through Friday 8:00am - 5:30pm and Saturday’s until 4:00pm, or call 262-7479. For more information about safety, skill and productivity for the tree care industry you can go towww.arbormaster.com.
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