Massachusetts arborists Association

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Vision - Integrity - Service - Talent - Action

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.

Rip Tompkins, MCA (R) with longtime friend Matt Foti, MCA, who presented the award.

Congratulations to RIP TOMPKINS, MCA
2022 VISTA Award Recipient

On April 26, 2020, Rip Tompkins, MCA was presented with the association’s prestigious VISTA Award. The award was established by the MAA in 2000 to recognize leaders in our industry.  It is given to an individual whose actions serve as a guide and challenge to other members. The award’s title – VISTA – is an acronym for Vision, Integrity, Service, Talent and Action – the leadership qualifies inherent in all award recipients. It is the highest honor the MAA bestows upon a member.

A large crowd of members, old friends and colleagues gathered at the April meeting to celebrate with Rip as he received his VISTA award. Rip’s longtime friend, Matt Foti, MCA made the presentation which was followed by an exuberant standing ovation. The following are excerpts from Matt’s’ remarks that evening:

“As many of you know, I am a world traveler. I’ve met extraordinary people, especially arborists, along the way.  To me, the person we honor tonight, Rip Tompkins, represents the very definition of the word Arborist, but he is not just arborist, he is a devoted teacher and innovator.”

“Rip’s commitment to climbing and caring for trees has educated countless arborists through the years – and has undoubtedly made our industry a safer place to work.”


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
67 West Street, Medfield, MA  02052  (“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
2020 - Andy Felix, MCA
2022 - Rip Tompkins, MCA

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