Trees and Lines: A Podcast Offering Fresh Perspectives on Utility Vegetation Management

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Earlier this year, Soaring Eagle Technology’s parent company Iapetus Infrastructure Services, launched Trees and Lines, a podcast offering fresh perspectives on utility vegetation management (UVM). Utility vegetation management minimizes risks and controls vegetation that could potentially threaten power lines, railways, roadways, etc. UVM is essential for the managing of outages and reliability and safety of utilities, clearance, and transmission right-of-way (ROW) management. Since the launch, the show has released several episodes featuring esteemed industry leaders. The show’s hosts Tej Singh and Phil Charlton, guide each discussion by introducing different topics in the industry and bringing their own unique perspectives.

Meet the Hosts

With over forty years of industry experience, Charlton is a pioneer in the field of utility vegetation management. He received his BSF, MSF, and PhD from West Virginia in Forest Science. His impressive career includes a significant tenure as President of ECI (Environmental Consultants, Inc.) where he paved the way for hundreds of electrical companies to develop UVM programs for distribution line clearance and transmission right-of-way (ROW) management. Charlton developed the industry’s first electronic system for performance analytics of external workforce management. He has also served on the Right-of-Way Stewardship Council and is an expert witness for UVM. During his ten-year tenure at the UAA, Charlton grew the association’s financials and membership to over five thousand members.

Singh is an electric engineer and risk management expert. He oversees operations and safety for the world’s largest utilities across the country. He joined the Iapetus group of companies in 2012 where he serves as Chief Operating Officer. He obtained a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Management Studies from McMaster University.

Featured Guests

To date, the podcast has featured Pam Rauch, Sara Sankowich, John Goodfellow, Nigel Barry, Lew Payne and Christopher Kelly. These guests share extensive experience and industry knowledge from various companies such as NextEra and the New York Power Authority. Some of the topics that have been explored include innovations in technology, corporate culture, renewable investments, environmental sustainability, UVM research, and international markets. For instance, NextEra’s Pam Rauch discussed how the company is working towards reducing emissions in a cost-effective way. The organization’s commitment to environmental sustainability has paved the way for solar growth in America. Rauch also shared NextEra’s efforts in supporting women and minorities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Unitil’s Sara Sankowich spoke about her passion for diversity and inclusion and how she is bridging the gap between sustainability and UVM. John Goodfellow, Principal Consultant at BioCompliance, joined the hosts to discuss his recent bodies of work focused on topics like electrical incidents involving injuries and fatalities, wildfires, R&D (Research and Development), and technology. Nigel Barry, CEO of Intelfuse discussed his leadership in the Australian vegetation management industry. He also shared how he is currently utilizing LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to gather more precise data. Lew Payne, Manager of Rights-of-Way and Environmental Services for the New York Power Authority, discussed his unique approach of “managing vegetation with vegetation.” The process refers to managing the compatible biodiverse ecosystem and prescribing treatments. In the most recent episode, Clearion’s Christopher Kelly, discussed how he is modernizing field workflows in practical and powerful ways through a suite of innovative software. Clearion focuses on facilitating the vegetation management process for utilities around the world.

The Trees and Lines Podcast is available on Spotify, Youtube, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Buzzsprout. Sign up for alerts and suggest future topics or guests on

About Iapetus Infrastructure Services

Iapetus Infrastructure Services entities support clients through a wide range of vegetation and contractor management challenges.

IIS is an experienced group of industry experts solving complex risks for energy companies. Whether clients’ needs are preventative or responsive, our team members develop and facilitate solutions that are effective, sustainable, and efficient. We are setting new industry standards across the U.S. utility landscape.

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