From the Treetop
Wright Service Corp. is led by an executive team with a range of experience and expertise who lead the strategic direction of the company.
Scott Packard joined Wright Service Corp. in July 1998. Three years later, John R. Wright appointed Scott to President and COO. In October 2002, Scott took on the position of Chairman and CEO of Wright Service Corp. Scott retired as CEO on September 30, 2023. He will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors through 2026.
Scott began his career after graduating from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor of science in accounting. Since then, he has held a number of executive positions prior to joining the executive leadership team at Wright Service Corp.
He served on the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Board of Directors from 2003-2009 and as Chair in 2009. In September 2016, Scott became the first recipient of the Management Action Programs (MAP) Disciplined Leader Award. This award was conceived to recognize select leaders who have consistently exhibited the qualities of a disciplined leader. Scott is also a past chairman of Area 4 Iowa Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and presently serves as Vice-Chair. He was recently named to the board of directors of Trees Forever.
President and CEO
Austin Kennedy joined Wright Service Corp. as General Counsel in April 2013. Prior to joining Wright Service Corp., Austin was an attorney in private practice for seven years in Des Moines, Iowa, practicing in many areas involving employment law, immigration law and litigation. In 2019, Austin was promoted to General Counsel, Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Vice President. Austin most recently served as the company’s President and COO for the last two years before assuming the role of President and CEO of Wright Service Corp. on October 1, 2023.
Austin graduated from Macalester College in 2000, where he received the Livingston-Patnode Award for his special contributions to the English Department. He then earned his law degree from Drake Law School in 2005. In 2015, Austin earned his Credential of Readiness from Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe program, which establishes competencies in business analytics, economics and accounting.
SVP and CFO
Jon Hicks joined Wright Service Corp. in 2008 as the controller for Wright Outdoor Solutions. In 2010, he was promoted to Controller of Wright Tree Service and in 2020 he was promoted again to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Wright Service Corp.
Jon graduated from Iowa State as a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Accounting degree in 2002. After graduating, Jon worked in various auditing and financial reporting roles within both public accounting and the private sector. Jon is a member of the Iowa Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. Jon is also a member of RIMS and is on the Wright Service Corp. Board of Directors.
Jon is a large advocate of ESOP structured companies. He enjoys the culture created with it that allows employees the freedom to implement change and to leave their personal mark on the company. Jon enjoys problem-solving and having the opportunity to help guide the company at a strategic level.
Loren Klein began his career with Wright Service Corp. in 2016 as the Director of Information Technology before being promoted to Chief Information Officer in January 2020. During his time with the company, Loren has made impactful changes to the technology roadmap for the Wright Service Corp. family of companies – including the formation of a project management office, a mobile device fulfillment department, as well as many process and infrastructure enhancements. Loren is a key contributor for Wright Service Corp.’s IT strategy and planning processes that support our family of companies.
Loren has an extensive information technology and project management background. With more than 35 years as an IT professional, Loren oversaw several different areas within IT including application delivery for life and annuity and property and casualty products, quality assurance, infrastructure, applications delivery, telecommunications, project management, information security, and release management.
He is passionate about making an impact, building lasting relationships, and delivering value to his customer base – not a big believer in the status quo.
EVP and CSO
Derek Vannice serves as an Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Wright Service Corp. In addition to this role, Derek is also in executive positions for three of Wright Service Corp.’s subsidiary companies. Derek is the President and COO of CNUC and joined the company in 2011 after decades of success at two chief industry organizations, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Utility Arborist Association (UAA). He served as the primary spokesman for the utility arboriculture industry and also provided expert testimony in regulatory hearings. In his current role with CNUC, Derek oversees all CNUC long term contracts and provides on-site consulting and training with clients on an ongoing basis. Derek is responsible for Terra Spectrum Technologies, an e-planning and productivity solutions company that develops and supports software for the utility vegetation management industry. He also supports Wright Outdoor Solutions and Transcon Environmental.
In addition, Derek assists in the development of the corporate training and learning initiatives across the Wright Service Corp. family of companies, including the Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) program and the company’s online learning management system.
Derek is a Certified True Colors facilitator and has served as a facilitator in leadership, communications and strategic planning, working with utility companies, contractors and non-profits.
Derek was the 2008 recipient of the ISA Achievement Award, the Indiana Arborist Association Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2011 recipient of the UAA President’s Award. He is currently serving as Chair of the ROW Stewardship Council, an accreditation program for best management practices in IVM on transmission ROWs. Derek holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a Master of Business Administration and has done independent consulting work with utilities and line clearance companies across North America.
SVP, Human Resources, Training & Development
Janelle has been with Wright Service Corp. since January 2021. She oversees the human resources and training and development teams including core functions of recruitment, benefits and salary administration, employee relations, and employee learning and development among others.
Upon joining Wright, Janelle brought 20 years progressive HR experience across multiple industries including a Fortune 200 global manufacturing company, an Iowa based family-owned industrial construction company, and Iowa’s largest member-owned agricultural cooperative. Her experience has included responsibility for recruitment, salary and bonus plan administration, training and development, talent and performance management, succession planning and organizational development, employee and union relations, HR technology, benefit administration, payroll, safety and health, and quality management.
Janelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business from the University of Northern Iowa and an MBA from Iowa State University. She is also a certified Human Resources professional, holding both SHRM-SCP and SPHR designations.
When not working, Janelle is supporting the many academic and athletic activities of her active daughter Olivia and son Aiden or enjoying a round of golf with her husband Josh.
SVP & General Counsel, Legal Services & Risk Mitigation
Kyle joined Wright Service Corp. in February 2020 as Associate General Counsel. Prior to joining Wright Service Corp., Kyle served in both private practice and in-house counsel roles. In December 2021, he was promoted to Vice President and General Counsel, Legal Services & Risk Mitigation. On October 1, 2023, the company elevated him to Senior Vice President.
Kyle graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Business Administration and earned his law degree from Creighton University. He leads Wright Service Corp.’s Legal/Risk Department, which is responsible for performing the company’s legal, compliance, and claims functions.
Kyle values being part of successful teams and the discipline required to accomplish shared objectives.