Traverso Tree Service, Inc

John Traverso

Board Certified Master Arborist # WE-0206B

John Traverso grew up in Orinda and graduated from Campolindo High School. He earned his Associate Arts Degree at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. He worked as a nurseryman for six years at Orchard Nursery in Lafayette during high school and college. In 1979, with a friend and fellow nurseryman, he started ‘Spirited Landscaping.’ In 1981 he left Spirited Landscaping to start his own company called ‘Traverso Landscaping.’ To supplement his winter income, John diversified and started doing tree work along with landscaping. In 1986 he became a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and found out he really enjoyed doing tree work. In 1989 he decided to concentrate exclusively on the tree service and phased out of landscaping. John has been very active in the industry as an instructor, regional coordinator for the arborist and tree worker exams, member of the certification committee, and a past president for the California Arborist Association. In 2005 John passed an advanced arborist certification and is now a Board Certified Master Arborist with the ISA.  When asked what he likes best about his job he replied, “Teaching, and the challenges of technical removals.” John retired in 2021, but is still involved in the training and educational aspects of the company.

Scott Minch

ISA Certified Arborist #WC-3799

Scott Minch is our Field Operations Manager and a full-time estimator. He grew up locally in Concord and got his Associate of Arts Degree at Diablo Valley College. After working for a brief period in construction, he transitioned to Traverso Tree Service in April of 1995. Having never used a chainsaw before, he began as a groundsman, but quickly moved up the ladder to become a climber and Certified Tree Worker. Three years later he got his ISA Certified Arborist credential, and continued to serve as a climber and foreman until 2000, when he left after the birth of his first daughter. Scott returned to Traverso Tree Service in late 2010 as both a foreman and estimator. In September of 2020, he stepped into his role of Field Operations Manager, and works closely with the crew and office to ensure a satisfactory customer experience. Although he is mainly an estimator, you may see him out on various job sites in a training capacity. Scott enjoys how tree work allows him to retain his youthfulness, and says his favorite thing is climbing trees. When he’s not out in the field, you can find him fishing, golfing, or cuddling with his two dogs, Rowdy and Buddy.

Thorne “Scott” Foster

ISA Certified Arborist #WE-1244A

Scott Foster, one of our full time estimators and consultants, grew up locally, graduating from Acalanes High School in Lafayette. He went on to earn his Associate Arts Degree at Diablo Valley College with an emphasis in Biology. He was raised in a family of 3 boys that spent a lot of time in the out of doors, hunting and fishing. Scott determined early on that he did not want a desk job but preferred to work outdoors. In the late 80′s a friend of his, who was working for Traverso Tree Service, recommended he apply for a job. Scott started working for Traverso Tree Service in 1987 as a groundsmen. He promptly passed the WCISA Certified Tree Worker exam, and then became an ISA Certified Arborist in 1993. After working for Traverso for well over 20 years, attending countless arboricultural seminars and conferences, and being an instructor for the California Arborist Association, he is very knowledgeable and well equipped to understand and recommend solutions to all of your tree needs. When asked what he likes best about his job he said, “The fact that it is outdoors and provides different challenges everyday.” Scott continues to educate, and learn, on a daily basis as he meets with clients to assess the condition of their trees and provide an appropriate solution to their tree needs.


Rhys Petrella

ISA Certified Arborist #WE-11965AT

Rhys Petrella is our newest estimator, returning after a multi-year stint at the County of San Francisco. He has been in the tree industry since 1991, with 11 of those years spent at Traverso Tree. He received his climbing specialist credential in 1992 and his arborist certification in 2021. In his spare time, Rhys enjoys archery.

Maija Wigoda-Mikkila

ISA Certified Arborist #WE-12986A

Maija is our newest consulting arborist, specializing in construction-related reports. She graduated in 2010 with a B.S. in Education & Social Policy from Northwestern University. In 2014, she completed coursework for her Permaculture Design Certificate. She received her arborist certification in 2020 and came to us early 2021 after working as a math & gardening teacher, groundsperson, and estimating arborist. Her work experience is supplemented by the Merritt College Urban Arboriculture Program, where she is one course shy of receiving the Arboriculture Tree Care Specialist certificate. What Maija likes best about tree work is that there is always something new to learn. In her free time, she enjoys exploring local trails with her pup, rock climbing, and fermenting her garden harvest.

Jaime Zaragoza

ISA Certified Arborist #WE-10536AT

Jaime Zaragoza is our safety manager and one of our newer estimators, after 30+ years on the tree crew (you may still encounter him as the foreman!). He started at Traverso as a groundsman in 1989, quickly received his tree worker certification, and became a certified arborist in 2014. Jaime’s favorite part about tree work is working outside in the open air. Outside of work, he likes playing soccer, spending time with family, and taking care of his chickens & garden.

Arnulfo Merino

ISA Certified Arborist #WE-10873A

Arnulfo, one of our top climbers and foremen, grew up in San Vicente, El Salvador. He studied at Escuela Parroquial Guadalupe Carcamo before making the move up to California in the late 90s. Upon arrival, he worked as a janitor in South San Francisco for a brief period, but soon transitioned to tree work. He has been working with Traverso Tree Service since 2001. He passed his ISA Tree Worker Climber Specialist test in 2015, and the following year he passed his ISA Certified Arborist test. When asked what he likes most about tree work he said, “Climbing of course!” Outside of work, Arnulfo enjoys gardening and time spent with family.

Danielle Schrader

ISA Certified Arborist #WE-9614A

Danielle grew up right here in Walnut Creek, attending Acalanes High School in Lafayette. After graduating high school, she moved up to Oregon to attend college at Pacific University in Forest Grove where she worked as a “grounds keep” as a work-study program to help pay for school. While in school, Danielle also spent a year living and studying in Ecuador, where she became a fluent Spanish speaker. In 2004 Danielle became Traverso Tree’s first office employee and after 7 years of being surrounded by the arboriculture world, Danielle decided to “make it official” and passed her arborist certification exam in 2011. In addition to her role as the Business Operations Manager, she uses her tree knowledge to provide information and advice to clients as a supplement to onsite visits with one of our other arborist.




Jennifer Tso

ISA Certified Arborist #WE-10270A

Jennifer is currently one of our consulting arborists, specializing in construction-related reports. She completed her horticulture degrees at UC Davis and became a certified arborist in 2013 before relocating to the East Bay and joining our company in 2015. Jennifer’s favorite aspects about arboriculture include learning how to identify new species and diagnosing problems – basically detective work! She hopes to continue her education at Traverso as a groundsman on the crew, where she will learn tree work from the ground up.

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