Virginia Bowman had her sights set on becoming a park naturalist when she entered college, and worked during the summers at her brother-in-law’s customer hardwoods business. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation from Kent State University in 2004 and joined the Davey Resource Group as a transmission forester shortly thereafter. Two years later, she took a job as a Forestry Technician with The Illuminating Company, a FirstEnergy utility that serves more than 750,000 customers in northeast Ohio. In 2009, she was promoted to Forestry Supervisor, hiring qualified company foresters to help manage the tree work done by outside contractors. In 2010, Virginia earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She was promoted to her current position of Manager of Forestry Services in 2011. A key accomplishment was developing and executing a multimillion-dollar project from 2012 to 2014 to proactively remove trees affected by the emerald ash borer before they caused damage to the company’s electrical equipment. In 2016, Virginia was honored by and featured in SmartBusiness magazine as one of northeast Ohio’s “Progressive Women” of the year.
Regarding her industry involvement, Virginia has been a member of the ISA since 2005, has served on the Ohio Chapter’s Education and Public Outreach Committee since 2014 and the Conference Planning Committee since 2015. She was elected to the Chapter’s Board of Directors for a two-year term from 2017-2019. She presented at the Ohio Tree Care Conference in 2010, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Virginia joined the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) in 2005 and was elected state representative for Ohio for the term of 2017 to 2019. She was a speaker at the Ohio UAA Conference in 2009 and 2016. Virginia is an ISA Certified Arborist/Utility Specialist and holds an Ohio Herbicide/Pesticide Applicator license.
While her college career plans ended up going in a new direction, Virginia loves working in the utility arboriculture and urban forestry industry in Ohio and would love to share her experiences with anyone who is interested.