Ian MacCallum and Jane Hunt

Owners and Founders of Trees for Life

Certified Arborist #PN-0158A, Certified Tree Risk Assessor #478

Ian MacCallum and Jane Hunt are the owners of Trees For Life Montana. Ian started in the tree care business as a ground man in 1979 and Jane has been the Business Manager of Trees For Life since 1993.

Ian’s tree care business timeline:
’79 – Began working in the tree care industry in Seattle area.
’80 – Joined the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
’80-’87 – Established two tree care companies in Seattle area.
’88 – Purchased property in Bigfork and started a small tree care company in the Flathead Valley.
’90 – Became a Certified Arborist and started what became Trees For Life in Seattle, WA.
’01 – Awarded the Commercial Arborist of the Year by the Pacific Northwest division of the ISA.
’05 – Moved permanently to Bigfork and established Montana branch of Trees For Life, Inc.
’15 – Sold Seattle branch of Trees For Life to Arborwell, Inc. and established Trees For Life Montana in Bigfork.

Dustin Gage


Certified Arborist #RM-7820A

Dusty joined Trees For Life Montana during the fall of 2013 after spending 12 years as a Forest Tech/Wildland Firefighter with the Forest Service. Dusty’s in-depth knowledge and experience fighting fires adds an important layer of expertise to the services that Trees For Life Montana provides.

Since joining he has become extremely proficient at Stationary Rope Technique (SRT) and combined that with his already extensive preexisting knowledge on trees gained working with the Forest Service. He took and passed the Certified Arborist exam in 2015. He also holds an Associate degree in Applied Science of Forest Technology from State University of New York as well as another Associate degree in Applied Science in Practical Nursing from the University of Montana.

Alec Hunt MacCallum


Certified Arborist #PN-8241A, ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ)

Alec joined Trees for Life Montana officially in December of 2017, but he would tell you he was born dragging brush for his father and has been a part of the company on and off since his earlier teenage years. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a Bachelor’s in Business and Spanish, he decided he wasn’t ready to get a “normal job” and took an opportunity to work with Arborwell after they purchased the Seattle branch in 2015.

At Arborwell he was taught the basics in tree care he missed as an indifferent teenager as well as how to climb. Earning his Certified Arborist in 2016, he has found trees to be incredibly intriguing and complex puzzles that continue to surprise him. He also passed the ISA TRAQ course in 2018. He has enjoyed learning and applying SRT since coming back to Montana to combine with the techniques he learned with Arborwell.

Lael Richmond


Lael joined Trees for Life Montana in 2017 after spending close to a year teaching English in Spain. He graduated in 2014 from the University of Puget Sound with a Bachelor’s in Spanish and worked for a law firm in Seattle for a couple years before he set off across the Atlantic. He has known the Hunt-MacCallum family all his life and has been a huge addition since joining the crew.

Lael has begun to master the arts of tree care, practicing everything from pruning to running rigging ropes for the climbers to equipment management and much more.

Nick Merriman


Certified Arborist #RM-8150A

Nick first started working part time with TFL in the spring of 2018 to help out with the Kalispell contract. Immediately having an impact, he has since decided to join full time in 2019. He began working with trees in the 90s, including stints with Americorps in Colorado and then Montana. His climbing career started for the state in 1999 while working for a tree care company out of Seattle in the off-season, and afterwards went east to Pennsylvania and New Jersey to work with other tree care companies. He returned to Montana for wildfire fighting where he gained a plethora of knowledge about management of forests and of people. After 19 years with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, he couldn’t resist the pull of the ropes and has come full circle back to tree care.

He will provide us with expertise involving fuel reduction and fire prevention as well as a great overall knowledge for trees and the processes they are so intricately involved with. His background in hazard/complex tree felling as well as working as an instructor for the DNRC will surely be a great benefit to TFL. He passed the certification exam to become an arborist at the end of 2018.