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Rooted in a love of nature

Locally-owned tree business specializes in trimming, pruning, stump grinding and more

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September 23, 2022

NEW LONDON – Growing up in Sterling, Illinois, Brett Walzer said he and his two older brothers spent a lot of time outdoors.

“We were always out and about playing outside, climbing trees,” he said. “We lived on a farm, so we had plenty of stuff to climb on.”

After high school, Walzer went on to play football for four years at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where he also earned a degree in criminal justice.

However, he said he quickly realized that wasn’t the path he was meant to follow.

“I realized that wasn’t what I was going to be getting into,” he said. “I’ve always loved the outdoors. I’m a passionate hunter and fisherman. After college, I moved to Colorado and worked for a landscaping company. I was thrown on a crew early in my career and there was a tree division. That’s piqued my interest in trees and climbing.”

Walzer said when he returned to Wisconsin, he continued to work in the tree business.

“I’ve always worked for other tree companies,” he said. “I worked with companies that were top-notch and current on all their safety practices. They’re big companies with several crews and have all their stuff in order. I worked for a couple of smaller companies, too.”

Walzer said in 2012, he decided it was time to branch out on his own and officially opened Remi’s Tree Service – which is named after his dog – based out of his home in New London.

“I have a lot of equipment in my shop here on the premises, and I also have equipment in my Appleton-area shop, my main location,” he said. 

Varied services
Walzer said Remi’s – which has a primary service area in and around the Fox Valley – offers a variety of services, including tree trimming, tree removal, fall cleanup, lot clearing, storm damage cleanup, ornamental tree pruning, clearance from wires or houses, removal of broken or hazardous branches, stump grinding, tree and shrub planting, gutter cleaning, natural mulch sales and exterior holiday decorating.

He said his team has the knowledge and tools to perform jobs quickly, efficiently and safely.

“We are insured and we offer free estimates, a multiple-tree discount, 24-hour emergency service, fast response, peace of mind and professionalism,” he said.

Walzer said he has one crew of three to five members – some who had previous experience before joining the Remi’s team, and others he trained himself.

“I don’t want multiple crews because then I lose that personal touch with the customer,” he said. “I look for people who are ambitious. They’ve learned growing up to keep themselves busy. It’s about doing a job efficiently, correctly and making sure everyone around you has a good time doing it, too.”

Walzer said the Remi’s crew works year-round.

“Every season has different challenges,” he said. “Obviously, when you can’t feel your hands climbing because of the cold, it gets pretty dangerous. A lot of jobs I will push to do in the snow. For example, oak removal or pruning. You have specific times you shouldn’t be cutting those trees for risk of infecting other trees in the area and devastating populations. If there’s a big removal on the lake, when the ground’s frozen we can drop stuff and it won’t damage the yard or we can drop it on the lake.”
Walzer said Remi customers range from business owners and homeowners to municipalities and school districts, but that no matter where they’re working, safety is the top priority.

“We have safety features at every job site,” he said. “We walk around the job to identify hazards, to identify the actual job and what we’re going to be doing. Once we get all the safety cones and safety signs set up, then it’s everyone working together. We all know our jobs.”

Specializing in technical removals, Walzer said he has a vast array of equipment on hand.

“I have bucket trucks,” he said. “I have equipment to do jobs right next to roads, emergency storm damage. I have a brand-new knuckle boom crane. That’s a game-changer vehicle for me. It steps me up to the next level of tree work. I can reach out and pick up tremendous weights with this machine. It will be quicker and safer.”

Walzer said as the only climber on his team – a role he’s done for a long time – he can easily determine the integrity of the tree. 
“If something doesn’t feel right, you know right away, there’s red flags that go up — my spikes go in too far, they don’t go in far enough, that noise doesn’t sound right,” he said.

Making its mark
Walzer said the company’s work speaks for itself.

“Our work comes not from the person who just had the tree cut down but the neighbors, the person who watched us,” he said. “They look at their stuff and say, ‘Maybe I should have mine done.’”

Walzer said there are many things that set Remi apart from others in the industry.

“I back up my work 100%,” he said. “I go above and beyond to work safely. I think everyone who’s worked with me in the past realizes the type of work we’re able to do, the efficiency of the work and the overall attitude.”

In addition, Walzer said the team is meticulous when it comes to cleaning up worksites.

“I say this over and over again, ‘not everyone knows good tree work, but everyone knows good cleanup,’” he said.

Walzer said it’s gratifying to hear positive feedback from customers.

“My favorite comment is how well we work together, how everyone’s smiling and having a good time,” he said. “I want my employees to be enjoying what they’re doing and not looking at it as work. I want them to look at a project as a job well done and be excited about their accomplishments.”

Walzer said he finds joy in running the chainsaw, climbing the trees and doing what he’s doing.

“It’s always a challenge,” he said. “It’s a new puzzle to put together every day. It’s a respectable skillset I’m proud to have. (I’m glad) to be able to pass my knowledge along to other people.”

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