Return to Table of Contents – Fall 2012
New TREE Fund Trustee Doug Gober’s resume details his rise through the ranks at Asplundh Tree Expert Co. from brush cutter to Vice President. But the achievement he is proudest of is not his own success, but that of other Asplundh employees he has mentored, encouraged and developed along the way.
“It’s passion that drives people, and I have a passion for this business,” he said recently. His primary objective continues to be a safer, more efficient workplace for Asplundh’s tree care professionals. Recognizing that training and development of the company’s young workers is critical to their success (and Asplundh’s as well), Gober has always devoted substantial energy to this cause. “People are our most valuable resource,” he says. “If we train our people well, treat them fairly and reward their successes, then we’ve given them the tools to succeed. I hate to see anyone struggle; it doesn’t serve anyone’s purpose.”
Gober’s entrance into tree care was precipitated by a sports injury which derailed a semi-pro soccer career. His older brother Mike, an Asplundh employee, suggested tree work to help strengthen Doug’s knee. That was in 1971, and both brothers went on to build successful careers at Asplundh. (Mike has since retired.)
Doug was promoted to general foreman in 1982, to supervisor three years later and to manager in 1987. In 2004 he was appointed to sponsor of five management regions in the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest. His business acumen and aptitude for forging relationships was instrumental in forming Asplundh’s corporate alliance with PECO in 1990, which remains strong today. “Our alliance continues to evolve as our targets for performance, safety, budget and schedule evolve,” he said. “We’ve been able to meet PECO’s objectives, and that’s provided a model for success with our other relationships.”
Doug’s business and financial management experience, coupled with his passion for tree care, motivated his decision to accept the Trustee seat left vacant by Steven Asplundh’s resignation from the TREE Fund Board. “I understand the challenges of marketing the value of research, particularly in a tough economy,” he said.
He and Linda, his wife of 41 years, are regulars at Asplundh’s annual golf outings to benefit the TREE Fund. He’s also a fan of the Raise Your Hand for Research auction and has honed a talent for bidding up the selling price of items eventually purchased by others. “Tree care is my life, and the TREE Fund is a great cause,” he said. “Success is measured by what you leave behind, and I still have plenty of passion. When I run out of that, I guess I’ll think about retiring. But not yet.”