Arborist group uprooting its international HQ after 50 years in C-U


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CHAMPAIGN — The organization that certifies arborists is moving its Champaign-based headquarters to Atlanta next year.

The International Society of Arboriculture — based since 2008 at 2101 W. Park Court, off Country Fair Drive — announced this week that it chose Georgia's capital in part because of its more convenient travel options.

"Atlanta has an easily accessible international airport," said Sonia Garth, the organization's spokeswoman. "That assists with travel expenses and things like that for staff, and people who are part of the network coming in to do business."

The ISA, which has 23,000 members worldwide and has nearly 60 chapters and associate organizations around the world, has been based in the Champaign area for nearly 50 years, where it has about 45 employees.

"They ended up hiring someone full-time from the Urbana area," Garth said. So "they just based the headquarters where they were located."

Before moving to West Park Court, the ISA was headquartered on West Anthony Drive, where it had been since the early 1990s.

The organization has been growing since then. When Garth started with ISA 14 years ago, it had about 20 employees.

It's unclear what's next for the 45 employees based in Champaign.

"We just received the announcement this week," Garth said. While the organization is looking at transition and relocation packages, "we don't know what those will look like," she added.

The ISA considered 12 cities for its next home, ultimately choosing Atlanta because it allows for more member services, better travel opportunities and better alignment with partners.

"It will be exciting for the organization moving forward, to see where it takes us and the growth that it might bring," Garth said. "We're looking forward to see where that goes, and we'll know more in the coming months."

The organization, founded in 1924, promotes the arboriculture industry as a whole, promotes safety and sets requirements for professionals taking care of trees, Garth said.

It also runs the website to educate the public and tree owners.