Image Tree Service, Stemmed from a Young Man’s Dream, Is Now a Successful and Bountiful Company
Article by Marisa Ruffoni, Photo by Steven Knudsen
Published May 1, 2016
|Jeff Kowell (center), owner of Image Tree Service, with employees Rogelio Sanchez, Aaron Drexler and Salvador Morales.|
Jeff Kowell, owner of Image Tree Service, set his sights on being an arborist and starting his own company when he was a charismatic, determined and hardworking 24 year old. Working for a myriad of local tree service companies, he traveled from one to the next with hopes of gleaning all the experience and information he could.
With no college degree, Kowell wanted to prove himself and make a positive difference in the tree service industry. After obtaining his contractor’s license, he started his own business, Image Tree Service, by buying a 1969 Ford truck from his grandfather. Kowell made flyers and put them in mail boxes and cars across Sonoma County.
Work started out slow, but after customers saw his focus and the importance he placed on performing quality work and customer service, word spread and work started to pick up. Making only enough money to pay rent and bills at the time, he slowly saved up enough money to buy his first dump truck, and soon after a chip truck. He can still remember the ecstatic feeling he had when using his dump truck for his first load of chips.
As his company took off, a company name and logo was in order, and just like all great sketches come to be, Kowell came up with the Image Tree Service logo one night while sitting around the fire with some friends. The company tagline “you can’t have a company called Image Tree Service without a good image” is often spoken amongst staff. With the strong customer relationships, after work follow ups, high quality work, and pride in all that they do, the name is fitting.
Jeff is appreciative and thankful he started his company in Healdsburg, because of all the local support as well as the client base which had the finances and interest in caring for their trees. Now currently operating out of Windsor and offering services in both Sonoma and Napa County with nineteen employees, Kowell offers many more tree services now than when he first started the company by himself. From tree removal, emergency tree services, root management, pest management, view restoration, or tree transplanting you can find it all.
He still has much of the same crew from the very beginning with only a few additions over the years. When asked what makes Image Tree Service stand out from other companies Kowell said, “we have a very strong focus on employee safety and training. We create a very safe work space for our guys including new equipment, even teaching them how to prune to ISA standards. I work with my employees and help them from grounds men up. Many of our grounds men have advanced through roles in the company and are now our climbers. We look at it like an art not a job. We take a lot of pride in our work”.
Image Tree Service focuses on sustainable methods, and the work they do is one hundred percent recyclable. “We have never dumped a load of chips in a landfill,” said Kowell. Instead he donates them to a variety of people and organizations who are in need. To continue the generosity, Image Tree Service also donates wood or services to raise funds for local organizations such as Boys & Girls Club, 4-H, Healdsburg Historical Society, Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove, Rotary Club of Healdsburg and Sonoma County Farm Bureau. They even donate wood to help build bee hives. They want to help and support anyone and everyone they can. Kowell is always willing to make something work for the betterment of the community.
Helping the agricultural community is of high importance to them. With so many kind and hardworking people in the agriculture community, it makes the jobs that much better when they are able to help create a safer road, better view or healthier trees for customers. Kowell has a strong connection and love for the agriculture community, not only with the work that he does but the people he does it with.
The future of the company is bright, and Kowell hopes to continue to grow the company, jokingly saying to over ninety employees! Kowell also hopes to be able to have the space to do his own mulch coloring which is not a service he currently offers, but one he would like to provide in the future. For now Jeff Kowell is very happy with his staff, crews, and getting to work in the agriculture industry with such outstanding people.
For more information visit www.imagetreeservice.com.