Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 CEO of the Year nominations













'By sharing our winners’ stories, we hope that everyone in the industry – big and small operations alike – will learn something that can set them on their own path to achieving greater success.'


By Cheryl Higley
This summer, SIMA and Snow Business magazine will crown its fourth CEO of the Year. Our first three winners – Sam Granados, Paul Vanderzon and Tim Gibbons – all were honored for dedication to professionalism, advancement of the industry, financial success and community involvement. While those characteristics are part of the judging criteria, they also had in common what I believe is one of the most important traits a visionary leader possesses...the ability and desire to raise others up to be the best that they can be.

With this award, we are able to tell the stories of snow & ice management professionals who have plowed a path to success. Our winners have worn the shoes of a new business owner, faced challenges and sought out industry peers to learn from. But once they achieve success, they know there is much work to do. They look back at their experiences to find ways to pay it forward, to build a new generation of industry leaders.

For me, the value of the CEO of the Year award lies in the people it touches: 

The nominator: Peers who think so highly of someone and their contributions to the industry submit candidates for consideration. To have made such an impression on a person that they nominate you? You’re already a winner.

The judges: The judging team includes the Snow Business Editorial Advisory Committee, SIMA staff & board members, a sponsor representative and the previous year’s CEO of the Year. They say it’s not what you know but whom you know, but in this case your name will get you nowhere. All judging is based on the criteria and all identifiers are removed. Judges vote on merit, not on popularity or who has logged the most face time at industry events.

The winner: This industry is hard nosed...you put your head down and do what needs to be done, without glory, laud and honor. That is why it’s a thrill for me to deliver the news to the winners and hear their reactions. In each case, it’s a bit of disbelief mixed with a whole bunch of humble gratitude. Their desire then is to focus less on where they are and instead share insights and stories about who helped get them there – family, industry colleagues, mentors in life and business and the team members who bought into their vision and helped them achieve it.

The people in the industry: By sharing our winners’ stories, we hope that everyone in the industry – big and small operations alike – will learn something that can set them on their own path to achieving greater success. And the winners don’t take their trophy and run...they step up and continue to share their experiences. Gibbons, the 2013 honoree, will speak at the 2014 Snow & Ice Symposium, just as his predecessors did after they were honored. 

The community at large: Each of the winners has looked beyond the bottom line and built a legacy of compassion and giving. Underprivileged youth, men who need a second chance, charities and organizations who help children and others in need have all been touched by the generosity of our winners.

Nominations for the CEO of the Year Award are open now. If you know someone whom you believe is worthy of nomination, please visit www.sima.org/ceo to complete the nomination form by May 16. 

Thank you to CEO of the Year award sponsors Western, Fisher, Blizzard, and SnowEx.

Friday, April 11, 2014

ASM group training interview with BSR Services Inc.







'These courses have allowed me to review our current best practices and improve them in order to become more efficient and effective.'


SIMA recently caught up with Nick Mossotti of BSR Services Inc. in St. Louis, MO to ask about his experiences with the Advanced Snow Management program. BSR currently has 3 people working through the certificate program, with plans for 2 more to complete it when the final certificate, Ice Management, is released over the next few months. All of them intend to complete all 4 certificates to become Advanced Snow Managers. 

How long have you been in snow management?  
I have been in the snow management business for nearly two years as Director of Operations for BSR Services. I previously worked for more than 20 years in various executive management positions.

Why did the Advanced Snow Management program interest you?  
This program is the perfect opportunity for me because I want to learn as much as possible about the industry. I’m diving into the snow and ice management business at a fast and furious rate and, in my position, I need this industry training in order to be successful. The ASM curriculum is an educational experience that I am thoroughly benefitting from.

What have you found valuable about the ASM training courses so far?
I’m discovering a lot of cutting edge tools that will make my job and our company run much more smoothly. The training encompasses various techniques that complement and enhance my job’s responsibilities perfectly.

When you earn the ASM designation, how will you use it to benefit yourself/your business?   
These courses have allowed me to review our current best practices and improve them in order to become more efficient and effective. I know that, in the end, both our company and our clients will benefit.

Other members of your company have also taken ASM courses. What is the benefit for multiple people from the same company earning certificates?  
It makes sense that other BSR Services employees enroll in this course so we can better relate to the information. At BSR Services, we are a team. We want to be the best and, in order to do that, we have to keep learning and staying informed. I can personally say that I have become more current on our industry’s best practices through the courses. It has definitely been worth my time and effort, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

The ASM program is available 24/7 at www.sima.org/resources

Monday, April 7, 2014

Trust in the snow business




















'Being awarded a snow & ice management contract is really your client’s way of saying, “I trust you to take care of my property.” What a great honor that is!'

By Jim Turcan, CSP
Over the years I have listened to snow & ice management professionals refer to selling snow removal services as more than just plowing and salting. It’s been equated to such things as a risk management plan, a safety necessity and an insurance policy. While I agree those are exactly what professional snow removal services can achieve, I would like to offer a different understanding of what is being exchanged in a snow & ice management agreement: trust.

Being awarded a snow & ice management contract is really your client’s way of saying, “I trust you to take care of my property.” What a great honor that is! But “trust is not a soft skill,” to borrow a phrase from David Horsager, business strategist and author of “The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line.”

SIMA membership has provided much for my personal and professional development, including deeper insight into the issue of trust. I had the privilege to hear Horsager speak at the 16th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium in 2013, and have since embraced his theories on the Eight Pillars of Trust (see above). Think about your best, most respected client. Why is your relationship with them so effective and so enjoyable? Now think about your most difficult client. Why is your relationship with them so strained and rigid? Now think about both of them in the context of the Eight Pillars of Trust. What’s working? What’s not?

Being trusted in this industry is critical to success, and we only get one chance to get it right. Clients trust us to make the right decisions on their behalf...always hold it in the highest regard because it’s an achievement that should never be taken for granted. 

Jim Turcan, CLT, CSP, is president of Cornerstone Partners Horticultural Services Co. in Saint Charles, IL. Join SIMA at the 17th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium for this year's keynote speakers: John DiJulius “What’s the Secret? To Providing a World-Class Customer Experience” and Marc Wayshak “Championship Selling the New Economy.”

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SIMA members meet with Massachusetts law makers









'In an over 3 hour meeting, common ground was successfully met on several issues, including the growing concern for insurance costs and availability...'


By Phill Sexton
On Friday, March 21, I had the pleasure of teaming up with fellow snow and ice management and insurance professionals to begin the process of finding solutions to the burdening insurance issues that continue to evolve in the state of Massachusetts and throughout the industry. An effort led by industry leader Joseph Szczechowicz, Founder and President of Szczechowicz Landscape Services, Inc. of Rowley Massachusetts, to meet with State Senate and Legislative Representatives was met with great success. Over a dozen snow service and insurance providers teamed up with SIMA (Phill Sexton) and met with Bruce Tarr, Senate Minority Leader and Leonard Mirra, State Representative for the 2nd Essex district.

In an over 3 hour meeting, common ground was successfully met on several issues, including the growing concern for insurance costs and availability, the reasons why insurance availability is becoming more scarce including increasing slip and fall liability, and how the current legislation passed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court has unintentionally contributed to many of the issues in the state.  

You can reference the case Papadopoulos vs. Target Corp., 457 mass. 368 (2010) here: http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/457/457mass368.html. This case was referenced to overturn an over 80 years old ‘natural accumulation’ law regarding snow fall liability and introduced a law requiring Massachusetts property owners legal responsibility to shovel and treat snow and ice on property – whether it is naturally occurring or not. This set of regulation essentially leaves all snow related incidents indefensible, particularly for snow & ice management providers. 

One insurance professional attending the meeting produced a real life example of photos showing snow from the roof of a car being swept into the parking space where it was parked. This example represents one of hundreds of claims each year that beg the question “who is responsible?” The laws as they are written today in the State of Massachusetts essentially make property owners responsible for scenarios like this on a 24/7 basis. It is also common this responsibility is contractually transferred to snow service providers.  

Senator Tarr and Representative Mirra expressed that until this meeting the senate and legislative branches of the Massachusetts government were unaware of these issues. They recognize and predict the potentially dangerous results that could be caused for the private and public sectors if the insurance availability issues continue. One of several solutions they provided was to continue sharing the issues with as many other representatives as possible throughout the state. They stressed that the issues are of legitimate concern and the laws passed by the state supreme court that are causing the unintended consequences can be reversed with enough support from other state representatives.   

For more information on how you can contribute toward solving the growing insurance and liability issues in the snow & ice management profession, and how you can contact your state representative, including the state of Massachusetts, contact me at phill@sima.org or visit www.sima.org/advocacy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014 Alan Steiman Symposium Scholarship



'Now in its fifth year, the program has been a huge success, allowing people to attend the Symposium who otherwise may not have been able to.'

By Elly Kobach
At last year’s Symposium in Minneapolis, I spent a lot of time at the SIMA booth on the trade show floor, where some dedicated volunteers were running a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Alan Steiman Symposium Scholarship. When they heard what it was for, people were more than willing to buy tickets to contribute to the scholarship, which was created in 2010 in memory of longtime SIMA member, mentor, and friend Alan Steiman. The winner receives a full Symposium registration, access to all ticketed events, and a $1000 travel stipend. 

It was great to see so many people supporting the scholarship, which continues to help individuals in snow learn and grow, and is a fitting tribute to Alan, who was a great industry mentor and educator to many. Now in its fifth year, the program has been a huge success, allowing people to attend the Symposium who otherwise may not have been able to.

SIMA has awarded six scholarships to date, to some great contractors with great stories, who have all agreed that the Symposium benefited them both personally and professionally. Past winners include:
  • 2013 - Brent Reeder of Brent's Outdoor Solutions & Mary Abbott of Mow Beta!
  • 2012 - Shawn Rine, CSP of Rine Landscaping
  • 2011 - Steve Koep of Fargo Snow & Brock Goodman of Goodman Snow Services
  • 2010 - Bob Henderson of Reliance Property Maintenance
SIMA is accepting applications for this year’s Alan Steiman Scholarship through April 11, 2014. Applicants must be current SIMA members and have never attended a Symposium in the past. Visit www.sima.org/awards for more information and to apply.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

2014 Snow & Ice Industry Awards




















'When parking lots, sidewalks and driveways are all clear after a long night working in a winter storm, the satisfaction is simply going home knowing that it was a job well done.'

By Martin Tirdao, CAE
Several years ago, I saw a video clip of Alfred Hitchcock’s acceptance speech after winning what was essentially a lifetime achievement award at the Oscars. It was the only award he received at an Oscars and upon acceptance, he leaned into the microphone and simply said “thank you.” He then appeared to have a moment of realization that it wasn’t enough, so he went back to the microphone and ended with the lengthy and profound statement of “very much indeed,” and walked off the stage.

I consider this one of the greatest award acceptance speeches made, as I think his intention was clear: the quality of his work spoke for itself. 

It’s this type of humility that is common for snow and ice management professionals. When parking lots, sidewalks and driveways are all clear after a long night working in a winter storm, the satisfaction is simply going home knowing that it was a job well done. 

Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Pro-Tech Manufacturing & Distribution, your job well done should be recognized in front of your peers at the Snow and Ice Industry Awards Night at the 2014 SIMA Symposium. Visit www.sima.org/awards to apply for any one of the several awards offered. Over the years we have simplified the application allowing an easy to understand and complete process. 

We look forward to recognizing your achievements on June 19 in Columbus, OH. Acceptance speech not required.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Becoming a CSP in 2014















'In the past year, we have been making improvements to both the marketing and the benefits for becoming a CSP, with a focus on supporting those who earn the designation.'

By Elly Kobach
SIMA’s new certificate program, Advanced Snow Management, has been getting a lot of attention lately as the latest educational offering in snow and ice. The program is almost complete with one course left to roll out, and it provides great training for equipment operators and snow event operations managers.

While the new ASM certificates have been front and center for the past few months, SIMA has not forgotten about the Certified Snow Professional program! As the recognized standard for professionalism and excellence in snow and ice management services, CSP is built for owners and executives, and focuses on the critical elements of running a snow business. As a certification rather than a certificate program, there are pre-requisites for applying and ongoing requirements once the certification is earned.

In the past year, we have been making improvements to both the marketing and the benefits for becoming a CSP, with a focus on supporting those who earn the designation, including:
  • A redesign of the CSP logo.
  • New advertising campaign, both print and digital (see image above).
  • A new brochure with inserts specifically for CSPs to give customers (coming soon).
  • A marketing kit that each new CSP will receive, including press releases, ideas on how to market the certification, and a personalized wallet card and framed certificate.
As we continue to make improvements to the program, SIMA will hold a free Certified Snow Professional informational webinar on March 25, 2014, for anyone who is interested in becoming certified. This is a great first step to take to get more information and ask questions about CSP, as the webinar will cover:
  • Why certification is important for professionals in the industry.
  • Pre-requisites and application process.
  • Studying process, materials, and tips.
  • Registering for your CSP exam and exam process.
  • Maintaining your certification once you earn it.
Register for the webinar here to start on your path to becoming a CSP! For more information on the CSP program, visit www.sima.org/certification or email ellen@sima.org.