TREE Fund Chairman Mike Neal among Green Media’s Most Influential People in the Green Industry: Fall 2012

Green Media, a division of M2MEDIA360 — publisher of Arbor Age, Landscape and Irrigation, Outdoor Power Equipment and SportsTurf – recently announced its 2012 selections for “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.”  Michael Neal, TREE Fund Chairman, was among the six industry professionals chosen for this honor.

Green Media’s “Most Influential People in the Green Industry” were nominated by their peers for their ongoing contributions to the green industry. Nominations were reviewed by Green Media’s in-house panel, and the 2012 selections for “Most Influential People” were chosen for their commitment to the green industry and their influence on their peers. Green Media’s “Most Influential People in the Green Industry” for 2012 are:

  • Richard Arlington, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, Rich Arlington and Associates
  • Jerry Grossi, CTP, owner and COO of Arborlawn
  • Michael Neal, manager of Forestry and Special Programs at Arizona Public Service
  • Tom Nielsen, head groundskeeper at Louisville Slugger Field
  • Dan Sawyer, founder and CEO of Brock International
  • Jim Roche, executive director of the Equipment & Engine Training Council (EETC)

Mike Neal has been the manager of Forestry and Special Programs APS since the mid-1990s. Responsible for managing the vegetation along more than 30,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines statewide, he supervises and coordinates the work of in-house foresters and contract line clearance crews. In addition to vegetation management, he also oversees the utility’s landscape maintenance and wildlife protection programs, and implements safety and education programs to internal and external customers. He actively promotes APS’ environmental image by serving as a liaison with state, county and municipal officials.

Mike became the president (now Chairman) of the Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund) on January 1, 2011. He is a creative and tireless champion of the TREE Fund, publicly encouraging the support of arboriculture research and education as an alternative to random planting of trees without a plan for their long-term care. He spearheaded a gift from APS to the TREE Fund for each of its customers who switched to paperless e-billing, and facilitated the establishment of the TREE Fund’s Utility Arborist Research Fund with a $100,000 gift from APS and a $6,000 gift from the Utility Arborist Association.  In 2012 he completed his first STIHL Tour des Trees and personally raised more than $9,000 for the TREE Fund.  APS is a perennial sponsor of the STIHL Tour des Trees, and is a Charter Member of the Tour’s Power Source Alliance. His many years of service and dedication to communicating the value of professional arboriculture have earned him the respect of his peers in the green industry.

Other affiliations:

  • Past President: International Society of Arboriculture
  • Past President: Utility Arborist Association
  • Past President: Arizona Community Tree Council
  • Past member: NERC Vegetation Standards Committee
  • Past Board Member: Arizona Governor’s Forest Health Oversight Council
  • Chair: Edison Electric Institute Vegetation Management Taskforce
  • Treasurer: Western Chapter of ISA
  • Director: ACRT
  • Director: ISA Certification Board


  • ISA Certified Arborist
  • ISA Certified Utility Specialist
  • Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator
  • Qualifying Party under Structural Pest Control Commission


  • Utility Arborist Association President’s Award: 2010
  • Utility Arborist of the Year- 2006
  • Commendation Award Western Chapter ISA 1999