From working out of a pickup truck with a $10 chainsaw to delivering the New York Stock Exchange’s (NYSE) Christmas Tree, O’Sullivan’s Tree Care and Recycling has seen its hard work from humble beginnings pay off.
The Kenworth T880 with the New York Stock Exchange Christmas Tree is shown in front of the stock exchange after completion of the move by O’Sullivan Tree Care and Recycling.
--Photo credit for photos: Georgine Benvenuto Photography
For the past 29 years, O’Sullivan’s Tree Care and Recycling, which specializes in tree service and organic recycling, has been responsible for locating, cutting, transporting, erecting and dismantling the NYSE Christmas Tree. This year’s 78-foot Pine tree was transported with a Kenworth T880 from Foxboro, Mass., where the tree was cut, to the entrance of the New York Stock Exchange. A tree lighting, which was held Nov. 29, represents the 95th year for the Stock Exchange Tree.
From left are Jim O’Sullivan and Kenworth T880 driver Shannon Cassles during the move of the recent New York Stock Exchange Christmas Tree.
For O’Sullivan, it’s vital to have reliable equipment, since operating in Hudson Valley and the Metropolitan New York is hard on the company’s equipment. The Kenworth T880 used to move the NYSE Tree, was purchased through Gabrielli Kenworth headquartered in New York, and is one of five Kenworth T880s in O’Sullivan’s fleet. Overall the company operates 30 light-to-heavy-duty trucks.
“With all of the stop-and-go traffic, potholes and tight roads, our trucks are tested,” he said. “Our trucks, especially the T880s, have held up well for us. Our first Kenworths date back to 2005 and we’re still running them. Some of our trucks have a million miles on them, and those are hard-earned city miles. Kenworths have been great to us.”
When it comes to a haul like the NYSE Christmas Tree, many moving parts are required. Jim O’Sullivan, owner of the company, estimates around 50 people were involved throughout the entire process of planning, cutting, transporting, erecting and decorating the Tree once it arrived at the NYSE. The company relied on its crew and heavy duty boom trucks to help direct the tree on and off the trailer, as well as erecting the Tree at the NYSE.
“There’s a lot of planning that goes into making a haul like this happen,” said O’Sullivan. “It takes two to three days to prepare the tree to be cut, another day to cut the tree, not to mention all of the logistics of getting the tree to the Stock Exchange, which involves the use of flaggers to direct traffic while we erect the tree.”
According to O’Sullivan, after 20 years of being responsible for the NYSE Tree, they have become very good at the job.
“Back in 1993, a tree decorator approached me about bringing in a tree and wanted it located by the Wall Street Bull,” recalled O’Sullivan. “It was a smaller tree than the one the Stock Exchange uses, but for a couple years, we were contracted to deliver a tree to that location. After a few years, we were approached by a contractor who oversaw the Stock Exchange Tree and we were given a contract to do theirs. The rest is history, we’ve been doing it ever since and we continue to get better at it each year.”
For O’Sullivan, the toughest challenge the company faces is finding a tree that looks good and is large enough to present at the New York Stock Exchange.
Jim O’Sullivan, left, and arborist John Bolton of O’Sullivan Tree Care and Recycling are shown by the New York Stock Exchange.
“It takes months to find the right tree,” he said. “The best trees are those planted generations ago, and they are often found in residential areas. It’s difficult to find the ‘perfect’ tree and when you do, most aren’t willing to part ways. We’ve gone as far as California to find a tree suitable for the Stock Exchange. This year, we got lucky. When John Bolton, our senior arborist was visiting family in Foxboro, he saw a beautiful pine tree that he remembered from his childhood days. John asked the family if he could take their tree and have it displayed at the Stock Exchange. They said yes. It’s just a beautiful tree.”
When the tree is to be taken down, the company will haul it away and grind it up so that it can be reused for material such as mulch or topsoil. Aside from hauling Christmas Trees, O’Sullivan’s Tree Care and Recycling provides services such as tree removal, pruning, stump grinding, emergency tree service, crane services, the manufacturing and sale of mulch and topsoil.
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