VISTA Award Overview

The VISTA award is the most important honor the association can bestow upon one of its members.  It was created to recognize truly outstanding tree care professionals whose acts and deeds serve as a guide and challenge for all members of the industry. 

The award’s title is an acronym for Vision, Integrity, Service, Talent, and Action – the leadership qualities inherent in all award recipients.


MAA members are encouraged to nominate colleagues for VISTA award consideration.  Please write a letter to the MAA board of directors with the name of your nominee and include the reasons why you believe he/she should receive the VISTA award.  Take the award’s purpose and title into consideration when crafting your nomination letter.  Be specific, cite examples, include details and, if possible, ask for letters of support for your nominee from other members.  Nomination letters may be sent via regular mail or e-mail to:

VISTA Award  - MAA Board of Directors
8-D Pleasant Street South
Natick, MA  01760

[email protected]  (“VISTA Award” in Subject Line please)


  • October 10 - Deadline for submission of VISTA nominees and letters of support
  • Late October - Board members review nominations and deliberate
  • Early November - Final decision is made regarding VISTA recipient
  • Nov/Dec - VISTA recipient is notified/presenter selected
  • February - VISTA recipient announced at annual meeting
  • March - Announcement made via meeting notice/speech written
  • April - VISTA Award presented at membership meeting

Past Recipients:

2000 - Mark Tobin, MCA
2001 - Ron Despres, MCA
2002 - Matt Foti, MCA
2003 - Dennis Ryan, MCA
2004 - Will Maley, MCA
2005 - M. Virginia Wood, CMP
2006 - George Mellick, MCA
2007 - Henry Davis III, MCA (Ret.)
2008 - Cricket Vlass, MCA
2009 - Carl A. Cathcart, MCA
2010 - James Abusamra, MCA
2011 - Ellis Allen, MCA
2012 - Robert Childs
2013 - Mike Lueders, MCA, MCLP
2014 - Scott McPhee, MCA
2016 - Ron Yaple, MCA
2017 - Lenny Cleaves, MCA
2018 - Bob Greymont, MCA
2019 - Richard Herfurth, MCA

Richard Herfurth Honored with 2019 VISTA Award

On April 23, 2019 Richard Herfurth, MCA was presented with the association’s prestigious VISTA Award.  Nearly 200 members, old friends and colleagues gathered at the April meeting to celebrate with Richard as he received his VISTA award. Richard’s longtime friend, Dennis Ryan, MCA made the presentation which was followed by an exuberant standing ovation. The following is an excerpt from Dennis’ remarks that evening:

“Richard is a graduate of the U.S. Marine Corp in 1974. Harley-Davidson in 1977, Stockbridge Arbor and Park in 1982 and UMass Urban Forestry in 1984.  

Richard is a friend of mine and has been for a good long time. I inherited Richard and his unique classmates from Professor King in 1983 (Bob Allan, Paul Sellers, George Mellick and his wife Laura …).  Herf went to work for Bartlett in 1988 as a climber and today he is the New England Division Safety & Training Coordinator for Bartlett Tree Expert Co. With Jim Ingram’s blessing he has shared his training skills not only with his Bartlett co-workers, but with many in this room. How many here have received some training from Richard? [Editor’s note: the majority of people in the room raised their hands.] I know he helped me every year with students and continues to help Dr. Brian Kane in Amherst.  I have worked all across this country with some of the best arborist in the world. Richard is the best field arborist I have ever known. 

If there’s one thing I know about Richard it is that he’s a man of few words who does not like to have the spotlight shining on him. Yet he is the first person to step up, when help is needed.
We promised Herf that we’d keep this short and sweet, so I’ll stop here!

I know you all join me in congratulating Richard Herfurth for his service to our industry with this year’s VISTA award!”

Bob Greymont Honored with the 2018 VISTA Award

On April 24, 2018 Bob Greymont, MCA (Ret.) was presented with the association’s prestigious VISTA Award. More than 150 members, family, old friends and colleagues gathered at the April meeting to support Bob as he received his VISTA award. Mark Tobin, MCA invited all past VISTA recipients to stand with him as he made the presentation to Bob.  The following is an excerpt from Mark’s remarks that evening:

“Many words could be used to describe Bob Greymont; strong, smart, hardworking, strong, planner, teacher, generous, arborist, entrepreneur, honest, and strong... For those who worked with Bob, his teaching certainly resonates over time. 

Bob made many contributions to our industry and our association: building a great company, and especially developing and coaching great people. He fostered an environment where the field arborist could become a well-paid professional."

Congratulations to Bob Greymont for this well deserved recognition!


Lenny Cleaves, owner of Cleaves Company, Inc. in Needham, Mass., was named the 2017 VISTA Award winner by the Massachusetts Arborists Association (MAA).  Lenny was honored for his lifetime commitment to his customers in the field of arboriculture.

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected as a VISTA Award winner and with more than 30 years of service to the industry, Lenny Cleaves is a very worthy recipient,” said Jay Ippolito, President of MAA. “His commitment and professionalism set a very high standard of excellence.”

 “I am deeply honored and grateful to accept this prestigious award,” said Mr. Cleaves. “It is enormously satisfying to have a built a career working with this fantastic community of tree care professionals.”

About Cleaves Company, Inc.
Cleaves Company, Inc. is a leading supplier of tree care and landscape equipment, accessories and tools in the Northeast. Carrying well known brands such as Bandit, Echo, Rayco, Honda and Stihl, with a full fledge service department to maintain equipment and tackle any issue that may arise from commercial use of equipmentMore info at