MPA Candidate Joins Davidson As The Town’s First Arborist

UNC Charlotte master’s student Peter Grisewood is an expert in the art and science of trees, with a focus on bridging the gap between trees, policy, and economic development in local government. His knowledge and his commitment have led The Town of Davidson to hire him as its first town arborist.

“We are excited about the level of expertise Peter will be able to bring to the town,” said Davidson Town Manager Jamie Justice. “We are looking forward to how he will help us build upon the critical work we have been doing to preserve our tree canopy and educate everyone in the community about this important issue.”

Grisewood will serve as the subject matter expert for all of Davidson’s tree efforts. This includes arboriculture, public tree planting and management, tree removal, and urban forest management. His work will encompass development and interpretation of regulations through the town’s newly revised tree ordinance. He will also lead community outreach efforts, build partnerships, and coordinate public education.

Along with his experiences and his bachelor’s degree in environmental science from University at Buffalo, Grisewood will draw upon his current studies at UNC Charlotte, where he is a candidate for a Master of Public Administration degree.

“From my very first core classes, the curriculum of the MPA program has been immediately applicable to my work role as a public administrator,” he said. “When I made the choice to leave behind private practice and enter into public service as a career, I quickly realized that there were significant differences between private and public management.”

He believed that he would benefit from an MPA degree, as he sought to understand how decisions are made at the executive level, and to fully grasp the processes of government.

“As my knowledge has increased, opportunities are more available, and my experience has broadened, so that I am invited to ‘have a seat at the table’ and participate at a high level in local government,” he said. “Continuing forward as I complete my MPA, I see that the people I network with, and the projects I work on, are really the catalysts that lead me forward on my career path.”

Grisewood comes to the town of Davidson from previous positions with the City of Charlotte, where he has served as urban forestry supervisor since 2016. He also has experience as an arborist, engineering technician, and tree climber. He has been an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist® for the past decade, a certification level that less than two percent of all ISA Certified Arborists currently hold.

As he prepares for the next stage of his career, Grisewood offers advice for other students, particularly undergraduates in any field of study.

“During your undergrad years, I recommend putting in the extra effort towards gaining an internship, particularly over the summer months,” he said. “The people you will network with, and the work experience you will gain, can 100% set you apart from others when you graduate and are job searching.”

When pursuing career choices, people should choose opportunities that interest them and in which they can take pride, he advised.

“With any career choice, consider what you will learn, not what you will earn,” he said. “Do the things that scare you. That is where the true opportunity to move forward lies. If you are nervous about doing something, that’s good! Your nervousness clues you in that what you are doing is important. Acknowledge the fear, control your emotions, and push forward into the future.”

Words: Lynn Roberson | Image: Courtesy of Peter Grisewood