Who We Are //

Our Origins

Founded by the Willcocks family in 1975, today, Active Tree Services is an Australian owned business with a national footprint and a workforce of 1,000 FTE committed to delivering services in arboriculture, vegetation management, consultancy and systems.

Photo: Founder Mark Willcocks

Who We Are //

Our Priorities

At Active, our purpose is Keeping our communities safe and green. It drives everything we do, whether it’s delivering world class vegetation management services to help ensure public safety through bushfire prevention and tree safety management or urban greening through tree planting and watering.

Who We Are //

Our Values

Our values have been articulated based on who we are and who we aspire to be. Their origins lie in the founding of our business and, today, help communicate and instil our unique culture as new generations of team Active commence and continue to serve our clients around Australia.

Who We Are //

Team Member Stories

Active people are bound through a common purpose and lived values that make Active a great place to work.  We work in small teams, our crews, often in remote and beautiful locations and almost always outdoors.

Active supports diversity in our workplace. 

Nathon Burton

Team Member Stories //

Nathon Burton

For NSW Powerlines Manager Nathon Burton, making critical decisions under pressure comes naturally.

It’s a skill he perfected during a 15-year career in the military and one he’s utilised in management positions at an array of national and multinational corporations. 

So, when the opportunity arose to head up one of Active Tree Service’s most significant business areas, he knew it was something he wanted to pursue, but it was also a role he did not rush into lightly.

Over the course of several months, Nathon met with Active team members including Chief Executive Officer Richard Nedov and Chief Operating Officer Jim Roberts.

He found the culture and ethos of the company resonated, and its vision for the future was one he was keen to be part of.

“Something inside said this was something I needed to pursue. I knew it was a great role, but neither Active nor I were in a rush,” Nathon says.

“We took our time, catching up and building a relationship and it just clicked, I knew I had to be part of that team.”

With multiple contracts across the state, Active’s New South Wales division is one of the largest in the company.

It’s also primed for significant growth in the coming years.

Nathon’s role involves overseeing that expansion. In the four months since he’s joined Active, he has been focussed on aligning the current contracts and building the team, while also liaising with current and potential clients. 

“We have multiple contracts coming onboard in the coming months and in the next few years we’re looking at increasing that further,” Nathon says.

“So, there’s a great opportunity here to build the team and its culture and create a strategy that allows us to get bigger and better.”

It’s a role that part is proactive, part reactive, and not without its challenges. But Nathon is no stranger to problem solving under pressure.

In his lengthy military career, he specialised as a mechanical, weapons and marine engineer, including five years attached to counter terrorism as a member of the 2nd commando unit, Australian Special Forces along with two tours of Afghanistan and one of Iraq. 

During each of those tours, he was the weapons subject matter expert, training members of foreign military organisations and the Australian Special Forces.

“In some of these environments your life is at risk and problem solving is key,” Nathon reflects.

“You have to be able to work through the fight or flight response, remain calm and instantly come up with a plan in a highly stressful environment.”

That discipline, planning and the ability to remain calm under pressure are all skills Nathon has tapped into since leaving the military.

In recent years he has held positions as the National Head of Fleet and Standards at Boral, and also worked as the Asia Pacific Head of Services for a US power, oil and gas company.

Now based out of Waterloo and Penrith, Nathon’s role with Active will allow him to spend more time with his young family, which is something he relishes after travelling extensively during his military career.

“What I really like about Active is it’s a large business that’s growing rapidly, but it still has a family feel,” Nathon says.

“It remains nimble and has the ability to react quickly, in both the services it provides and how it looks after its customers.

“I like the culture, I can see where the company is going, and I’m excited to be part of its future.”  

    Matthew Sparrow

    Team Member Stories //

    Matthew Sparrow

    When Matthew Sparrow first enquired about the opportunity to work at Active Tree Services, he never envisaged it would lead to a job that would take him round the world, trialling the latest machinery available to the tree industry.

    But that’s exactly what’s eventuated in his six years with the company. From that initial enquiry, Matthew has gone from a chipper operator on the SA Powerlines contract to a leading hand with SA Commercial.

    In the process, he’s travelled to England where he trialled then helped deliver Active’s latest exciting piece of kit and now, he trains operators around the country on exactly how to use it.

    That ‘kit’ is the Magni Rotating Telescopic Handler – a highly valuable piece of machinery touted as a game changer for both efficiency and safety.

    With a lifting capacity of 6-tonne, it has a vertical reach of 30 metres and boasts 3-in-1 attachments that open up a whole range of opportunities for Active.

    Mathew explains Active Chief Operating Officer, Jim Roberts first flagged the Magni as an item worth investigating while at a trade show overseas.

    “He thought it was something that was definitely worth looking into, so in May last year Sean Stanley from Qld Commercial and I were asked to travel to the UK to see it in action,” Matthew says.

    For Matthew it would be his first time overseas, and an opportunity too good to pass up.

    While there, he and Sean had the chance to witness Magnis in action on a range of projects across the country.

    “It was a great experience with lots of information that helped us in terms of how it could be used, and what we might need to buy in the way of attachments,” Matthew says.

    “We had the opportunity to sit in it, see its capability, and gain an understanding before purchasing.”

    Ultimately that experience resulted in Active importing two initial Magnis, with the first arriving in South Australia mid last year.

    “We did our first job with it on June 19, removing 19 small gums,” Matthew says.

    “It was a job that was supposed to take a week, but only took a couple of days.”

    Since then, a second Magni has been put to use in NSW, and Matthew’s job now involves training other team members on how to operate the machinery.

    “Once you get a handle on the computer side of things, it’s a pretty easy machine to operate and I just love watching the guys get to see what it does,” he says.

    “Their reaction is always great.”

    Matthew notes not only does the crew at Active love the Magni, but clients also appreciate its capability too.

    “Yesterday for example, it was used to lift a tree off powerlines,” he says.

    “That’s normally a job that might take a day, but with the Magni it took just an hour. 

    “It’s one of those machines that can save clients a lot of money, as it might mean they only need to close down a street for a couple of hours rather than a whole day or longer.”

    As a result, Matthew says some clients now request it for specific works and that’s likely to increase as tha Magni gains exposure on various contracts.

    But for now, Matthew’s thrilled to be part of its rollout and introduction, and he remains grateful for the opportunities he’s been afforded since joining Active.

    His connection with the company also runs far deeper than just a job, with his partner and sister-in-law part of Active’s administration team.

    “It was my sister-in-law Bec Button who initially got me the job here,” Matthew says.

    “She was working here and had nothing but good things to say, so I asked if there was anything available and she lined up an interview.

    “And since then, my partner Jamie Sara has joined the team as well.”

    While Matthew concedes that can occasionally make separating work and home life a little bit challenging, he says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

    “I live to work, so I’m a bit shocking,” he reflects.

    “But I genuinely enjoy my job and love working at Active.”

    “I’ve had the chance to work with great people, to travel interstate and to travel overseas.”

    “Active’s been nothing but good to me.”