Matt Bartelme, 45, of Danbury, Conn., owner of Barts Tree Service, does structural pruning a a Japanese maple tree at a Newtown home, Monday, May 4, 2015. Photo: Carol Kaliff / The News-Times

Matt Bartelme, 45, of Danbury, Conn., owner of Barts Tree Service, does structural pruning a a Japanese maple tree at a Newtown home, Monday, May 4, 2015. (Carol Kaliff)

Leaving The Corporate Ladder To Make Another Kind Of Climb

by Dirk Perrefort | May 4, 2015

DANBURY — About six years ago, Matt Bartelme gave up climbing the corporate ladder. He decided to climb trees for a living instead.

Bartelme, then a Pitney Bowes executive who oversaw the company’s global supply chain, decided to clear some trees from a home he purchased on Candlewood Lake. Having grown up on a farm, Bartelme was used to working the land, so he grabbed a chainsaw and got to work. He soon fell in love with the job and began researching for any information he could find on tree care.

“I started up a small side business on the weekends but it’s a very difficult industry to break into,” he said.

Before long, Bartelme had left Pitney Bowes for his own consulting firm, but his side business in tree work became more profitable than the consulting business.

“That’s when  I decided to take the leap of faith,” he said. “And I’ve been loving it ever since. In the corporate world, you can work long and hard, but have no real sense of accomplishment. When I’m taking down a tree or doing some pruning work, you can look at what you’ve accomplished by the end of the day.”

Bartelme, the founder of Barts Tree Service, said he used his marketnig knowledge from his corporate background to build a strong brand for the company and social media presence. He also learned as much as he could about the trade.

“I went to all the different trade organizations and went to every event and seminar I could find,” he said. “Iwanted to learn from the leaders in the industry so we could become the industry leaders in our area.”

Bartelme is now one of only a handful tree experts in the Danbury area who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

“It’s a rigorous certification that includes classes about a tree’s biology, chemicals that are used, cabling and proper pruning methods,” he said. “It really shows your dedication to the job.”

Rob Ryder, a Newtown resident who has been a client of Barts Tree Service for several years, said it’s that kind of know-how that has him coming back to the company. Some of the work at Ryder’s property includes the yearly pruning of a red maple tree in the front yard.

“You can tell that they really know that they are doing,” Ryder said. “Matt knows how to selectively prune a tree over time so that it really fills out and looks wonderful. He does things the right way and it makes all the difference.”

Bartelme said his attention to detail sets him apart from the competition.

“There are a lot of good tree guys out there – don’t get me wrong – but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to come in and fix something after a landscaper was hired to trim a tree,” he said.

Bartelme said he enjoys helping the consumer.

“I love the interaction with the customers and educating them about the right planting and pruning methods,” he said. “I might lose some of the smaller jobs that way, but usually they’ll call back when they have a big project in the works.”

Originally published in The News-Times “Business” by Dirk Perrefort, “Leaving The Corporate Ladder To Make Another Kind Of Climb”. Published on May 5, 2015, Accessed on Oct. 30, 2015.

Back to News