Award of Merit

The Award of Merit is the highest honor paid by TCIA to an individual or company that represents leadership in the field of arboriculture and long-term commitment to the industry. TCIA doesn’t give an Award of Merit each year, one reason why this Award is considered our industry’s most prestigious recognition.

Winners are announced at TCIA’s annual Winter Management Conference.


Current winner

Award of Merit is bestowed on Richard Goforth

The following is the text of Andy Felix's presentation of the Award of Merit at Winter Management Conference in St.Kitts in February.

The recipient of the 2019 Award of Merit is someone who really needs no introduction, but that won’t stop me from making one. With over 30 years of involvement with TCIA, there is quite possibly no cause, idea or endeavor of this association that he has not been involved in supporting.

Perhaps one of his most notable contributions came during his tenure on the Board of Directors in the late 1980’s. At that time, TCIA (or NAA as it was called at the time), was contemplating the launch of both a trade show and a magazine. And while TCI EXPO and TCI Magazine have become institutions today, both were seen as considerable risks back then. Everyone knew that for either initiative to succeed there would need to be considerable buy-in from the associate membership, that is the suppliers, manufacturers, and service providers that support the tree care industry. As the associate member of the Board at the time, this individual enthusiastically lead the charge to secure the backing of his peers and won over just about every single one of them.

I cannot express how important the successful launch of TCI EXPO and TCI Magazine has meant to this organization. Anyone who understands the strong financial position in which TCIA finds itself today knows that to be true. As the current Board looks to the future of TCIA and this industry, we are able to make valuable investments because of the hard work of our predecessors, particularly this year’s Award of Merit recipient.

It’s about more than just starting TCI EXPO and TCI Magazine with this individual, though. He has continued his support for these initiatives, quite literally putting his money where his mouth is, as an exhibitor and advertiser ever since. He also continues to be a great partner for the industry, participating in events such as the Robert Felix Memorial Golf Tournament, to name just one. And on top of everything else, as was said in his nomination, “He and his wife Linda are two of the nicest people that I’ve met during my time as a TCIA member.”

Please join me in congratulating the 2019 TCIA Award of Merit recipient, Mr. Richard Goforth!


Past winners

  • 2018 Mark Garvin
  • 2017 Tom Tolkacz
  • 2016 Dennis Ryan
  • 2015 Dr. John Ball
  • 2014 Terrill Collier
  • 2013 Jeanne Houser
  • 2012 Jerry Morey
  • 2011 Greg Daniels
  • 2010 Dan Christie
  • 2009 Tim Johnson
  • 2008 Mark Tobin
  • 2006 Peter Gerstenberger
  • 2005 Robert A. Bartlett Jr
  • 2004 Lauren Lanphear
  • 2003 Gary R. Mullane and Robert Mullane
  • 2002 Donald F. Blair
  • 2001 Pat Felix and John Britton
  • 2000 The Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • 1999 F. David Dickson* and Paul P. McFarland
  • 1998 Robert A. Bartlett, Sr.
  • 1997 Robert Felix
  • 1996 John R. Hendricksen
  • 1995 Asplundh Tree Expert Co.
  • 1994 P. P. Pirone and Paul Wolfe II
  • 1993 Dr. Alex Shigo
  • 1992 and Dr. Richard Harris
  • 1991 and George Tyler
  • 1990 and Walter E. Money
  • 1988 Hyland R. Johns
  • 1987 Erik H. Haupt
  • 1986 Richard G. Alvarez
  • 1985 The Davey Tree Expert Company
  • 1983 Professor Gordon King
  • 1982 The F. A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company 
  • 1981 Earl J. Sinnamon
  • 1979 H. M. Van Wormer and Dr. L. C. Chadwick
  • 1978 Dr. Paul E. Tilford and Ross Farrens  and Edwin E. Irish
  • 1980 John Z. Duling and Freeman L. Parr
  • 1984 Ray Gustin, Jr. and William P. Lanphear