Sandra Reid has always loved trees — she even played one in a grade school play.
The Stow woman says, “I like learning about trees. I do have a natural tendency there.”
For more than 25 years, Reid has talked and written about trees — and those who plant and trim them — in her various communications jobs at Davey Tree Expert Co. of Kent, the longtime residential/commercial tree care service company.
Reid recently moved into the job of vice president of corporate communications and strategic plan administration at the company, one of the country’s largest employee-owned businesses.
It’s the first time a communications employee is among Davey’s team of vice presidents.
Davey employs about 7,400 in North America, including about 500 in Northeast Ohio.
In Reid’s new role, she will oversee Davey’s strategic plan, called Vision 20/20, which the company began work on about a year ago.
Reid said she will focus on “keeping the strategic plan going ... how we market the plan internally,” to Davey’s thousands of employees.
The Vision 20/20 plan’s strategies include “smart growth,” “excellent service experience” and “employee strength.”
Davey’s employee ownership “makes that communication very important,” Reid said.
“Not only are we [employees] spread throughout the U.S. and Canada,” she said, “we are company owners. It is important that employees really understand the direction and the focus of the company.”
Reid has had the challenge of handling both communicating to employees as well as customers at a time when Davey has been branching out — big time.
In the past five years, Davey has acquired 16 tree, landscape and environmental service companies around the country.
The many acquisitions benefit Davey’s employee-ownership system. Acquired employees can buy company stock, with the larger shareholder pool balancing out employees and retirees who are redeeming their stock.
The company set up its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in 1979 — nearly 100 years after the business was founded by John Davey.
Reid started at Davey in 1986, fresh out of college. She received an undergraduate degree in marketing and public relations from Ohio Northern University, in Ada, in northwestern Ohio.
Her first job at Davey was video and communications coordinator; she wrote for the company’s internal magazine, called The Bulletin.
Reid moved up, taking on more responsibility, and from 2000 to 2006, she managed corporate communications as well as training and education at the company’s Davey Institute, the employee training center headquartered in Kent.
In 2006, she moved up to manager of corporate communications as well as marketing. She was named to the vice president’s post earlier this year.
Davey has recently been in the local news as portions of the company have taken over the top of a new three-story building at Haymaker Parkway and South Water Street in downtown Kent. The building is part of a big revitalization project.
Davey’s corporate offices remain on North Mantua Street — near Kent Roosevelt High School and just south of Oak Knolls Golf Course.
Reid is a Kent Roosevelt graduate and notes that one summer — while she was in high school — she worked in a snack bar at Oak Knolls.
“In some ways, I feel I was destined to be at Davey,” she said with a chuckle.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.