Kevin Belter: ISA Board Certified Master Arborist® TX-3374B
Member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists
I grew up in the Texas hill country. I spent countless hours outside playing and working. Whether it be vacationing to parks, exploring all around the Boerne lake and its main tributary or dragging cut cedars across 11 acres to a burn pile working for my dad – I loved the outdoors.
I did not particularly agree with my father’s plan to “save” the property by complete eradication of cedar trees and in a way that was partly responsible for the beginning of my scientific questioning as well as a kind of bonding with these poor unwanted trees and by extension all trees.
Though the cedar dragging, fence construction, and the plethora of other duties I had over the years at home were not easy, I definitely gained a strong work ethic that serves me well today – I’d dare to say the most important factor in whether a small business succeeds or fails. Another critical component of a business’s success is knowledge – and knowing the limits of that knowledge in order to expand and improve constantly so it can inform the quality of work performed, make the business operations more efficient, etc. Though I took honors courses all through my schooling - I especially applied myself in college where I acquired a Bachelors of Art degree with the double majors of Theology and Philosophy. It was while I was doing Master’s studies that I took a part-time job with a tree care company and fell in love with this profession. Though on an initial face-value it may appear that the degree I had would not be of use – my experience is that the philosophy has helped me immensely in effective business structuring, fast-tracking the appropriation of the arboricultural field of knowledge, and scientific approach to application of current industry practices as well as inventive and effective new methods. As was Amos in the Old Testament was a “caretaker of sycamores”, I too see my profession as a way to glorify God and be a steward of these amazing and symbolic creations responsible for so much good – beauty, shade, air to name but a few.
I am often asked what’s my favorite tree? There is a very unique Montezuma cypress tree (a close cousin to our native Bald Cypress – my logo tree), known as the Tule Tree which is my inspiration and symbolizes my calling and purpose. It is the largest diameter tree in the world and it may be the very oldest. It is still standing today in excellent health. This picture of the tree with the Parroquia Santisima Asuncion de Maria del Tule, built in the 1600’s, represents well what motivates my passion. The town and church were built here because of the tree. The people’s lives have centered around this tree for many centuries. It points them to their Creator and Savior. I do what I do because I see trees in a light many don’t and wish to share my perspective in hopes that others will too be blessed from gaining a deeper appreciation and gratitude for trees.
As a final note – my approach to free enterprise and capitalism is paired with a rock-solid foundation that unwavering commitment to ethical business practices can not only sustain but produce healthy growth for businesses. Sometimes compromise is good – but never is when it’s a question of right and wrong. Economics is not amoral. Every choice, every decision, and all business actions should honor what is good, just, and kind.
My co-workers have worked with me for many years. They have excellent training and they truly care about your trees. We each find meaning and pride in working with integrity each and every day.
If you happen to see me on Tuesday’s the odds are you will get to meet my absolutely amazing girlfriend and my other inspiration! I am also indebted to my mom, who for many years had kept my books in order and my dad who helped with investment loans at a fair rate.
Finally, my last word are a litany of mentors or heroes in the industry – who you esteem says a lot about who you are:
- Greatest climber and lover of trees – Bernd "Beddes” Strasser
- Greatest work climber & rigging expert – Mark Chisolm
- Greatest Texas Arborist – Jerry Pulley