Tonya Tuntevski really knows trees. Going on her 11th year with Consumers Energy, she serves as an Associate Forester for the Zeeland and Allegan service territories. She spends her days ensuring the right tree is planted in the right place so our customers can have the energy they need, whenever they need it.
What inspired you to become a Forester?
Growing up, I was outdoors all the time and loved climbing trees. I pursued my passion for trees by attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry with an emphasis in Forest Genetics from Oklahoma State University. Everyone on the Consumers Energy forestry team are also certified arborists through the International Society of Arboriculture.
I love talking with customers about our vegetation management program and explaining why we might remove a tree rather than trim it. Our customers love their trees, and I love talking about them. Explaining Right Tree Right Place and giving them advice on the appropriate species to plant in close proximity to our power lines is what fuels me to do my job.
Why is a vegetation management program necessary?
Trees account for 30 percent of our outages each year. Our vegetation management program is designed to clear wire zones and provide safe and reliable service for our customers.
How do you know what trees to address and when?
We have 2,000 circuits throughout the state of Michigan—that’s a lot of trees to trim. We rank our circuits based on outages due to vegetation.
Why do you mark trees?
We mark trees for our vegetation management program. Dots mean trim, X’s mean removal, slash marks mean that it is brush and is going to be removed.
What does an average day on the job look like?
We don’t really have an average day. The closest we get is collaborating with dispatchers, designers, planners, schedulers, tree crews and line crews to ensure we are providing safe and reliable service.
If you’re concerned about a tree and would like us to evaluate it, call 1-800-477-5050 or visit us online at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/forestry.