Tree Service really never goes out of season. And with snow, ice, and wind season nearly upon us, it might be wise to know a top-notch professional for when the moment inevitably calls for it. Enter Viking Tree Service, LLC, a veteran-owned, Shepherdstown-based precision tree-removal and trimming service.

Focused first on safety and customer service, Viking prides itself on delivering “peace of mind” with an approach tailored to the customer’s specific needs and consistent results through every stage of the project.

In business since late 2017, Viking specializes in removing hazardous trees that threaten homes, but they also trim back unruly vegetation and foliage while following the latest ANSI Arboriculture Industry standards.

Additional services include storm damage work, pruning, and stump grinding—covering Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Kearneysville, Martinsburg, and Harpers Ferry.

Owner Erik Berndt was raised in Northern California, spent four years as a ski patroller, and then 22 years in the Coast Guard. He credits a lifetime attraction to tree work as his motivation for beginning what has amounted to a second act.

“As I progressed in my career, I had an option to continue to climb the corporate ladder or move out here and do more project management, software development stuff—home every night in a place that reminds me a lot of where I grew up,” he explained. “I got transferred out here in 2016, and began moving towards retirement and entering a new field.”

Viking Tree LLC

©Viking Tree

Berndt has been building Viking Tree ever since. “I retire officially in December; my son has been doing it full time with the rest of the crew—a couple of veteran climbers on staff,” he added. “They stay busy five days a week with plenty of work.”

As for motivation, Berndt is quick to explain: “I wanted to develop some type of multi-generational endeavor that I could hand off to my kids. I’ve always been drawn to tree work. I saw a good opportunity to take my project-management experience, and the professional approach of communication and customer service, and apply it to a business like this.

“I felt like there was a real market for it here. We’ve spent the last couple of years buying equipment, joining the TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association), and educating ourselves. We hold ourselves to an extremely high standard—especially in regards to the environment. We conduct ourselves in an honest, ethical manner, and customer feedback so far as reflected as much.”

Berndt intends on delivering exactly what customers need every time out. “It’s extremely rewarding and gives us an enormous sense of accomplishment,” he said. “I can’t wait to keep moving forward on the momentum we’ve already established.”

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