Leadership

Wright Service Corp-Vannice

Derek Vannice

President and Chief Operating Officer
An icon in the utility vegetation management (UVM) industry, Derek Vannice joined CNUC in 2011 after decades of success at two chief industry organizations, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Utility Arborist Association (UAA). As ISA director of certification, he increased the program’s Certified Arborists from 2,000 to more than 26,000 in 50 countries. Concurrently, as UAA executive director, Vannice was responsible for many initiatives and programs that advanced the organization and industry in regard to reputation, technology and training. He served as the primary spokesman for the utility arboriculture industry and also provided expert testimony in regulatory hearings. Vannice was the 2008 recipient of the ISA Achievement Award and the 2011 recipient of the UAA President’s Award. Vannice holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a Master of Business Administration and has done independent consulting work with utilities and line clearance companies across North America.

Josh Beaver

Vice President
Josh Beaver provides support and guidance for daily operations and technical applications initiatives. Beaver holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist® and ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist™. Beaver began his career with CNUC in 2010 as a lead consulting utility forester, and has also worked as regional supervisor and regional manager within the organization. Previously, he worked as a biological technician and was responsible for developing wildlife habitat on public and private land. A part of the UVM industry since 2005, he has specialized experience in storm restoration efforts, project management, and employee development initiatives. Beaver serves on both the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) Professional Development Committee and Events Committee, and has been published in UAA’s Utility Arborist Newsline. He also has presented at several industry conferences throughout the United States.

Wright Service Corp-Porter

William Porter

Director of Research, Development and Industry Intelligence
Will Porter is the principal project manager for benchmarking and research. Porter graduated from the University of Illinois and is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist® and ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist™. With more than 20 years of experience in the utility vegetation management (UVM) industry, Porter has direct knowledge of all aspects of UVM work. Since joining CNUC in 2008, he has directed many program and compliance reviews and special projects, and has performed analysis of a wide range of UVM metrics. Porter was the principal author of the 2010 CN Utility Consulting Utility Vegetation Management Benchmark and Industry Intelligence and has been published in the Utility Arborist Newsline and Transmission & Distribution World. He presents often on UVM benchmarking and LiDAR projects and other industry topics in the U.S. and abroad. He also continuously monitors and evaluates legal and regulatory changes, issues and trends related to UVM around the world. Porter brings to CNUC a unique understanding of UVM programs, best practices and research intersections.

Jimmy Williams

Regional Manager
Since 2009, Jimmy Williams has worked in the utility vegetation management industry, currently ensuring quality and customer satisfaction managing CNUC’s contracts in the western part of the country. Williams was previously a regional supervisor and a project manager for CNUC on the Pacific Gas and Electric Company contract, and started in the industry as a consulting utility forester. He has particular experience performing safety audits and working with vegetation management databases. Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simpson University and both Firefighter 1 and Emergency Medical Technician 1 basic state certifications from Shasta College – both  in Redding, California. He is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist® and ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist™, the recipient of a 2009 customer service award, and has a strong leadership, training and volunteer background. Williams also serves on the Utility Arborist Association Marketing Committee.

 

Matt Searels

Regional Manager
Matt Searels is the regional manager that handles operations in the eastern part of CNUC’s service territory. Currently based in LaFayette, Georgia, he began his career with CNUC as lead consulting utility forester at Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in 2013. Searels was later promoted to regional supervisor, before being promoted again to regional manager in 2016. Currently, he manages contracts, develops financial reports and dashboards, and designs internal employee development programs and presentations. He has extensive background in work planning, remote sensing, and customer service. He enjoys the opportunity to be involved with the community, educating the public about trees and the environment they live in. Searels earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of West Georgia and Bachelor of Science degree from University of North Carolina, where he was an Undergraduate Research Scholar. In 2012, Searels was the lead author for a publication in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Plant Sciences for his work with the threatened plant American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). He is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist®, Utility Specialist, ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ), a member of the Utility Arborist (UAA) Research Committee, and a member of the UAA Research Committee.