Leaders in Training: GF School
April GF School
For more than 10 years, Wright Tree Service (WTS) has held its week-long biannual General Foreman School (GF School), which gives field employees the opportunity to gather together and experience hands-on training about their role as a leader of the company. Although the program has grown in both number of attendees and number of topics, the goal is always to provide valuable information on how to be an effective manager and leader while learning current industry best practices and regulations.
“There’s so much to bring back to the field after the week is over,” said Minnkota Division GF Bill Schumal, who has worked for WTS for 13 years and has attended GF School twice. “There’s always room for improvement and always something to learn.”
The program is held in the spring and fall at the corporate office in West Des Moines, Iowa, and combines a showcase of presentations, training and demonstrations that affect their job. The presentations are conducted by corporate office employees and outside sources. Some topics include drug and alcohol compliance, information technology, workplace behavior, internal goals, verbal communication skills, customer service and hiring procedures. Several local Department of Transportation (DOT) officers, policemen and equipment manufacturers presented about safety-related issues and inspection processes.
“It’s helpful to gain tips directly from experts we wouldn’t normally be in contact with,” said Schumal. Attendees also meet corporate office staff who they interact with on a daily basis but have never met face-to-face.”
Although the program has “GF” in the title, project managers, safety supervisors and others have participated. Risk Manager Rocky Palmer explains that it is essential for there to be a rotation among company leaders to ensure everyone is kept up to date, but also finds it important for employees to participate in the program multiple times.
“Laws and regulations are always changing,” said Palmer. “With new technology and equipment quickly emerging, there are countless ways to work safer and more efficient.”
Congratulations to all April GF School participants! We look forward to the next GF School in October.