Ozarks Life Update: Amanda Pratt’s career climbs to new heights

The journeyman tree trimmer for IBEW 53 accepts Union Organizer job
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 9:00 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As long as there have been trees, there’s been kids to climb them.

“When I was little,” Amanda Pratt said, “I was always in the tree.”

We first met Amanda Pratt a few weeks ago when she was climbing into a Springfield tree.

“There are women out there that do this and they’re all over the country,” Pratt said. “It’s just very rare to see them.”

The 32-year-old Springfield woman’s life has taken off as a tree trimmer. She climbs up a tree, harnesses in, and cuts back branches from power lines.

“The extreme challenge of it.” is something Pratt loves. “This is very, very hard for me to do, you know, and it’s something I do everyday; things that I thought I would not be able to.”

City Utilities contracts her company, Shade Tree, to take care of tree limbs near its power lines. This wasn’t a life long goal or even a family tradition for Amanda, nope. It was all about falling in love with a guy and what he does for a living.

“He was telling me about how we climb trees next to the power lines,” Pratt said. “And honestly, I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever heard about in my entire life. And so I absolutely got into this chasing a guy. But that guy is now my fiance. And it turns out, I fell in love with trees and him all at the same time.”

And Amanda has found success becoming the first female trimmer to receive journeyman status from IBEW Local 53.

“I prefer Journey-Woman I feel like it is much cooler than Journeyman,” Pratt joked. “But, it means it means the world to me. Because that that, again, is something else I didn’t think I’d be able to do.”

That’s the second time Amanda said that ‘this is something she didn’t think she’d be able to do.’

You see, while her feet are firm under her now, self-confidence and pure joy hasn’t always been there.

“I’m a recovering addict,” Pratt said. “And I know that there are a lot of people out there struggling that think that they’ll never be anything. That they can’t ever be a productive member of society. They won’t ever be able to get out of that hole that they’ve dug for themselves. And I want to tell them that they absolutely can and even more than what they could ever dream up for themselves.”

And Amanda is not finished dreaming yet. She’s just taken a promotion with IBEW 53 as a Union Organizer.

“I’m just absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to help other tree trimmers and electrical workers everywhere,” Pratt said. “I think it’s fantastic. Definitely something I never even dreamed I’d be doing.”

“I see her enthusiasm,” fellow Union Organizer Jody Kapp said, “and her want to be a part of something and to better people’s lives.”

“When I get off work,” Amanda says, “I’m thinking about what I can do to help people more and what I can do to improve the trades and you know, help them get the benefits that they deserve.”

But with every beginning, comes a ending. Amanda shared her final climb on her Facebook page.

“I cried my entire last day at work I did,” Pratt said. “It’s the been the most bittersweet thing. I’m super happy to be a part of this union and doing what I’m doing now.”

And one final note, when Amanda and her fiance Derrick get married they’re riding off in a bucket truck, not a limo.

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