Arborist Spotlight Francisco DavilaSherrilltree Team Oct 25th 2019
Sherrilltree recently spoke with Spider GreenScapes LLC owner Francisco Davila (@greensspider) about his love of climbing and working with trees in NYC.
- What drew you to this line of work?
- The beauty of working outdoors and staying connected to nature.
- What inspires you?
- Nature itself. You look at a street tree in NYC, and it manages to survive even when it has everything stacked against it. Compacted soil, little water, trash, tiny tree pits, pollution, it takes all that bad, and it just continues to grow. Or you're driving on the highway and you see “weeds” growing in the worst places everywhere, it just finds a way no matter what. That's inspiring.
- What do you love most about this business?
- I try and speak for the trees by helping them out whenever possible. Living in such a busy city such as NYC, every green space is a rare gem, and it’s amazing to be able to work within those gems.
- What makes your business unique?
- Being in NYC, I run a “micro” set-up, which allows me to navigate through the congested city with minimal footprint, both physically and environmentally. Larger equipment is used as needed.
- How have you grown your business from idea to where it is now?
- I’ve only been in business for myself for less than a year, so I am still growing. But within a very competitive market, my biggest advantage is that I’m not driven by the bottom line, but by the love of the work and ensuring I deliver the best possible product.
- What did you have to overcome to be here now?
- For me, mostly mental constraints, the fear of the unknown, and the “what if” always cloud the vision, and with all the competition out there, you have to overcome all that and just give it your all. No plan B, because failure is your “plan B,” so it's not an option.
- What are your goals for this business?
- To survive and be independent. The ability to do work as I see fit is a blessing. Always a challenge, but surviving and becoming a company, delivering a quality product, while helping to continue to green the city, is the end goal.
- What have you learned so far about business, and what can you share with others?
- The “behind the scenes” is a job all in itself. Staying organized is very important. Knowing where you are at all times, both financially and mentally, helps you stay out of the red and recharged to keep pushing forward.
- What change, if any, would you like to see in this industry?
- I would love for our industry to be recognized as the trade it is. There are too many “companies” out there with a chainsaw and ladder calling themselves tree workers, which dilutes the market, and we all suffer financially in the end.
- Tell us about your favorite day at work.
- Any day where everyone and everything is all synced up and operating effectively is a great day. But my favorites days are those days when before you know it, the day is done and all you walk away with nothing buy joy and pride for what you do. Should be every single day, but ya gotta have bad days to enjoy good ones.
- Is there a type of tree you love to climb, and one you hate to climb, and why?
- I love American Elms, they have such majestic canopy. They just grow wherever they feel like growing, providing a pleasant challenge with its wide spread and twisted limbs.
Worst trees would have to be virgin Pin Oaks. A virgin Pin Oak is a Pin Oak that has never been pruned before. Loaded with tiny dead, but super strong, branches cutting you up, and tons of other live branches whipping you all over. Such a pain!
- What is your go-to rope for climbing, for rigging, and why?
- Climbing rope is the Xstatic. For me, it's the best mix of size and stiffness. Works good with mechanical devices, and the ever so few blokes hitch. And it's got a trippy color.
Rigging would be Samson Stable Braids, because of its great strength, availability, price and knotability. Teufelberger Sirius lines also because of its strength, colors, and feel. Once milked properly, they are amazing.
- What is your favorite climbing system and why?
- For me, it's Xstatic with a Reon Rounds tether, a rope wrench, my pink oval Os and pink hitch climber (they need to bring these back!!), and HRC cord tied into an XT. I still like the feel of a hitch, and for me, this combo has worked great! Wears nice, and runs great. On spar work just coming down the spar, the Rock Exotica Unicender works amazing.
- What is your favorite piece of arborist equipment and why?
- I love all my gear, but above all, I would have to say one of my first “high end” harnesses. The first generation Petzl Sequoia harness, simply because it was a present from one of my biggest supporters — my girlfriend Nadilyn. Meant a lot early in my career to have that, and it's now retired, but still one of my favorites. Outside of that, the Protos helmets with a Sena headset I think are revolutionary for safety and communication.
- Thanks, Cisco, for taking the time to talk to us! We appreciate the urban perspectives you bring in the arborist scene at @greensspider!