Alumni Profile: Scott Jamieson, BS ’84
Forester helps city trees live longer
Quiz time: Which of the following is not an oxymoron?
A. jumbo shrimp
B. government intelligence
C. freezer burn
D. urban forester
E. none of the above
Unless you selected “D,” it’s time to meet Scott Jamieson, BS ’84, president and CEO of The Care of Trees, a national company headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Wheeling, Ill.
Jamieson’s company employs 500 people in 28 urban locations in the United States. The Care of Trees deals solely with tree preservation for its 60,000 commercial, residential, institutional and governmental clients, who range from mom-and-pop businesses to museums (The Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum), golf courses (Westchester Country Club), universities (Yale, Fordham and the University of Chicago), cities (Park Ridge, Ill.) and counties (Arlington, Va.).
“What we do is not as important as fighting homelessness or world hunger, or curing cancer,” Jamieson acknowledges, “but I think it’s pretty cool to be able to make a living by doing something like beautifying the world we live in. There’s more to this than just having a good career.
“One or two trees can make a huge difference in people’s lives, no matter where they are. I’ve actually seen people cry when we’ve had to cut down one of their trees.”
Dunes and smokestacks
Jamieson first gained an appreciation for the environment and caring for it as a youth. He grew up in Miller, Ind., sandwiched between the belching, gray and black steel mills of northwestern Indiana, and the Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a pristine paradise of sand hills that roll gently into the quiet surf of Lake Michigan.
“It was, and still is, a unique place,” Jamieson says. “When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time roaming around the sand dunes. I could look over and see the steel mills off in the distance. It is kind of strange that these two places are so close together.”
The 20-mile stretch of flawless lakefront left its mark — and more — on Jamieson. It sparked a career.
“The Lake Michigan shoreline is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the entire world,” he says. “On the one hand, you can find plants that only grow in alpine conditions, and not far away, you’ll see plants like the prickly pear cactus. It’s an amazing place.”
But no more amazing than seeing trees thrive between sidewalk and street in a place such as Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue neighborhood. It’s Chicago’s version of Rodeo Drive, an ultra-high-rent area of shops and restaurants where Jamieson has convinced retailers that good trees are good for business.
“People may not realize it, but we’re finding that trees attract customers,” he says.