Tuesday, April 26, 2016

SIMA moves to new Milwaukee headquarters

The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) relocated its operations to its new Milwaukee headquarters on April 29, 2016. SIMA has been headquartered in Milwaukee since moving from Erie, Pennsylvania, in 2008.

SIMA Chief Executive Officer Martin Tirado, CAE, said the association’s growth necessitated the move.

“The new office allows SIMA the flexibility to grow over time, and it gives us a permanent home,” he said. “Financially we found an option to purchase that was similar to leasing, except now SIMA receives the benefits of ownership.”

The association had been leasing space in the same Milwaukee office for close to 8 years. The new headquarters is three miles north of the current office.

SIMA closed on the sale of the headquarters office building in August 2015. Since then, remodeling and updating work have been under way. The majority of SIMA’s professional staff will be working in the new office. In addition, SIMA maintains staff in IA, OH, and NY.

“Having SIMA professional staff in multiple locations allows us to interact and meet with members and affiliated companies throughout North America. Yet, with our base office in Milwaukee we can continue to offer centralized services and benefits to help snow and ice companies grow and succeed,” Tirado said. 

The new address is:

Snow & Ice Management Association, Inc.
10140 N Port Washington Rd
Milwaukee, WI 53092


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Alan Steiman Symposium Scholarship
















'His legacy lives on in the scholarship, which gives a first-time Symposium attendee the opportunity to receive the benefits he so strongly believed in: gaining knowledge and fostering friendships.'


By Debora Babin Katz
American journalist Christopher Morley once says, “There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning.” 

Alan Steiman recognized this fact, and in 2010 SIMA established the Alan Steiman Scholarship to honor the longtime SIMA member, board president, mentor and friend. 

As many of us in the industry can attest, Alan always looked out for others, especially those starting out in the snow business. As an organization, we were fortunate to have Alan and his family present at the Snow & Ice Symposium in Rhode Island for the first presentation, which was awarded to Bob Henderson of Reliance Property Maintenance. 

Alan passed away about two weeks later after a long battle with cancer. Yet his legacy lives on in the scholarship, which gives a first-time Symposium attendee the opportunity to receive the benefits he so strongly believed in: gaining knowledge and fostering friendships.   
Beyond the scholarship
To date, eight members have been honored with the Alan Steiman Scholarship. 

“When I learned that I had been chosen for the Alan Steiman Scholarship, I was thrilled that I would have the ability to go to the Symposium. It helped me move my company forward,” says 2013 winner Brent Reeder of Brent’s Outdoor Solutions in Hillsboro, MO. 

Mary Abbott of Mow Beta! Mowing & Snowplowing in Cabot, AR, also won in 2013. She operates in a low-snowfall region where there are no dedicated snow and ice product vendors. 

“By attending the Symposium, I was able to get the mentorship, acquire knowledge and directly evaluate the equipment I wanted to buy from people who know the industry,” she says. That knowledge has allowed Abbott to rethink her business structure. “This year we have decreased our mowing operations and increased our winter operations. Our snow and ice work has proven more profitable and is the section of our company that is meeting our growth objectives,” she adds. 

Reeder’s business has also experienced greater growth since his first symposium. “Most recently we completed a merger with another large landscaping company to further increase our capabilities,” he says. Both recipients continue to attend the Symposium.

“Knowledge is power,” says last year’s recipient Adam Hunter of A&J Lawn and Landscape in St. Louis. “It’s amazing how much you can take in and learn by being around and discussing different factors with other snow professionals.”  

Hunter is “very humbled and grateful” for the Alan Steiman Scholarship. He believes that by attending the Symposium it gave him the confidence to pursue clients he may not have otherwise due to feeling that he didn’t have the knowledge to close the deal. 

Building a network
For Shawn Rine of Rine Landscape Group in Columbus, OH, becoming an Alan Steiman Scholarship recipient in 2012 was a shock. “I knew how large the industry was and thought that there were people who would be better qualified for the scholarship than myself.” 

Rine was overcome by the openness and generosity of everyone he met at the show. “Even as one of the youngest attendees, I remember going out with some of the older members and staff after the day’s activities and feeling like I was part of a group of close-knit friends, even though many of them I had just met days or hours before.”   

Rine has since become a Certified Snow Professional and his snow revenue has doubled due to his increased knowledge of industry best practices.  His advice to first-time Symposium attendees: “Don’t be afraid or self-conscious about being the new guy, or worry about the size of your operation; the SIMA family is there to help anyone who needs it. Ask questions, network, and communicate with people at the show - make connections!”  

For Brock Goodman of Goodman Snow Service in Cardington, OH, the networking has continued well beyond his first Symposium in 2011. “Our company benefited greatly from attending the Symposium. Not only did we learn tons about new equipment technology and business management techniques, but many of the relationships I made during my first symposium are with people from around the country that I still talk to almost daily,” he says. Since winning the scholarship, Goodman’s company has gone from a two-man operation to servicing 80-plus commercial accounts with 25 pieces of equipment in use during every snow event. 

“We now budget specifically for several of our team members to attend the Symposium every year. It has been a great experience not only for me, but also for my employees,” he says.

This year, SIMA returns to Rhode Island for its Symposium and another scholarship will be bestowed to a fortunate candidate thanks to the generosity and support of SIMA members. 

It will be bittersweet to watch the winner receive the award and remember Alan Steiman, a humble man who was generous both with his time and knowledge.  

The Alan Steiman Scholarship is open to those who have never attended a Snow & Ice Symposium. The recipient will receive complimentary registration and a travel stipend. Apply for the scholarship by April 15 at www.sima.org/awards

Debora Babin Katz is VP of TrucBrush Corporation and Chair of the Snow Business Editorial Advisory Committee. Contact her at dkatz@trucbrush.com.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Action Alert: Download the Best Practices in Snow Service Procurement Timeline






'...It was clear that the facilities management and snow management industries needed a visually impactful best practices timeline to help all parties work together to ensure properties are in a reasonable state of readiness prior to each winter season.'


Take action now:
  • Download the Timeline here
  • Give Feedback on the Timeline here
  • Share ideas on future best practices with Phill@sima.org
SIMA held its second Think Tank last fall to continue collaboration between snow professionals and facilities/property managers. Facilitation professionals utilizing the ‘Action Learning’ model helped participants develop tangible, actionable solutions for the association to deliver. As a result of this event, it was clear that the facilities management and snow management industries needed a visually impactful best practices timeline to help all parties work together to ensure properties are in a reasonable state of readiness prior to each winter season.

As a first step in creating such a timeline, SIMA’s COO Brian Birch recruited a core group of stakeholder reviewers to ensure a wide breadth of talent and insight was represented in the project. SIMA also established a crucial requirement that approximately 1/3 of the stakeholders be closely tied to the facilities management industry. In November 2015, the stakeholders received the first version of the visual timeline. Over the next 3 months, staff and stakeholder volunteers reviewed and revised the timeline in multiple phases. As the project evolved, we realized that we were ultimately collecting and developing best practices guidelines for procuring professional snow & ice management services.  

After a few more iterations of the project that led to our final review just a few weeks ago, SIMA is proud to announce the industry’s first version of the Best Practices in Snow Service Procurement: 52-Week Visual Timeline. The timeline includes:
  • A master timeline that illustrates both sides of the procurement process - one for the buyers and the other for the snow service providers. It visually highlights the best practices for timing of RFPs, contract negotiations, contract awards, and contracted service start/end time frames. It establishes a 52-week cycle of snow procurement, broken down seasonally so that recommendations can be adjusted depending on the geographic area of a site. 
  • Separate, more specific timelines for buyers and snow service providers. Each specific timeline comes with best practice recommendations tied to essential elements of the 52-week cycle.
  • A ‘Risk Meter’, which highlights the benefits and associated risks tied to the timing of contract award dates.
In every effort we put forth for carrying out SIMA’s mission of empowering snow & ice management, we are committed to continuous development and improvement of industry best practices for the benefit of everyone who is involved with snow & ice management. Learn more and download the timeline now at www.sima.org/timeline.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Symposium offers more in-person training













'
The 19th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium returns to Providence, RI, in June; and, for the first time in the show’s history, the Symposium will feature three pre-conference workshop options.'


By Kaitlyn Herbst
The pre-conference workshops presented at the Snow & Ice Symposium have evolved from generalized facility tours to more focused, snow-specific workshops. The demand and interest in these workshops has grown over the years, and SIMA has adapted to that demand by setting a mantra of “more, different, better” as we plan these events. The 19th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium returns to Providence, RI, in June; and, for the first time in the show’s history, the Symposium will feature three pre-conference workshop options. The pre-conference workshops will be on the fifth floor of the Rhode Island Convention Center on the morning of Wednesday, June 22: 
  • Sustainable Salt Use: SIMA has adopted sustainability as a core value. This workshop will help attendees become more efficient and effective in managing salt output while delivering quality service. 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • Parking Deck Operations: As we grow as an association, we continue to focus on creating industry-specific training, including more offerings that focus on specialty areas. 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
  • Equipment Safety & Maintenance: Safety is a key priority in our educational strategy. This workshop will connect many snow professionals to quality safety best practices. 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Our goal is to create the most impactful in-person training in the industry, with the hopes that more companies will send more team members to the show for focused training. Adding workshops allows SIMA to offer more diverse education offerings and improved access for more attendees. Pre-conference workshops offer three to four hours of in-depth training and discussions. That same level of detail is hard to achieve in a 1.5-hour breakout session. 

The future of our pre-conference program is strong, and this year we aligned the workshops with our strategic educational initiatives. Offering an array of workshop choices will empower SIMA to build a stronger, better snow and ice workforce.

For more details on the pre-conference sessions, general education and show events, visit www.sima.org/show. This year’s Symposium is shorter in length but jam-packed with educational and networking opportunities you won’t want to miss. We hope to see you on June 22-24 for the best show in snow. Register your team today! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

CEO of the Year moves to June





















'We love this award because size doesn’t matter. Successful CEOs come from big and small companies.'

By Cheryl Higley
This year, SIMA and Snow Business will honor its sixth CEO of the Year, an award created in 2011 to celebrate those who exemplify the very best in leadership and dedication to the industry.

In the past, the winner would be featured in our August issue and honored during the Snow Strategies Forum event in September. As we evaluated the program late last year, however, we decided to adjust the timing of the award to ensure our CEO of the Year would be part of the Snow & Ice Industry Awards celebration at the annual Snow & Ice Symposium. Moving up the timing of the award will also allow the magazine to feature the winner on the cover of our June issue. 

CEO of the Year candidates are nominated based on the following criteria:
  • Must be the CEO, president, owner or equivalent position at a snow and ice management company where they are recognized as the top person in a company. The company must be directly engaged in snow and ice management.
  • Must have had a significant impact on the snow and ice industry regarding:
    • Sustained company financial success
    • Professionalism
    • Community involvement
    • Advancement of the industry, including involvement in SIMA
    • Ethical business practices
We love this award because size doesn’t matter. Successful CEOs come from big and small companies. We don’t set revenue minimums for this award because we believe that while the bottom line is important, a true CEO is best measured for the totality of his or her work, including charitable involvement in the communities in which he or she serves.

The editorial advisory committee, 2015 CEO of the Year Bob Greene, SIMA Board President Bob Smart, and sponsor representative Mark Adamson from Douglas 
Dynamics, will judge the finalists anonymously to ensure a level playing field. The winner will receive complimentary registration to the Snow & Ice Symposium.   

CEO of the Year Nominations are open through March 14
Nominating a candidate for CEO of the Year is easy. Review the qualifications and visit www.sima.org/ceo to submit your nomination by March 14. Thank you to CEO of the Year award sponsors Western, SnowEx and Fisher.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Winter Storms: Are They Worth Naming?










'SIMA supports the naming of winter storms as it brings awareness to the severity and seriousness of winter weather.'

By Martin Tirado, CAE
It started with Ajax and recently had Olympia leaving mostly rain in the New England states, the 2015-16 winter storm names have been sort of an unusual bunch. Considering the oddly warm winter, maybe that’s fitting. Back in 2012-13, the Weather Channel decided to start naming winter storms, in a similar way that hurricanes are named, in order to “communicate about a complex storm…as good communications benefits everyone” as stated on their website.

As snow and ice management professionals, do we feel there is value to naming winter storms? Recently SIMA was contacted by a meteorologist in a large city on the great lakes who has some strong feelings that naming winter storms was irresponsible by the Weather Channel because there’s not more than a single storm at a time. He further stated hurricanes are different as its common for more than one to occur at a time.

The New York Times addressed Winter Storm Jonas as part marketing ploy, although it seems they see some credibility in how a storm name can help in spreading awareness via social media.

SIMA supports the naming of winter storms as it brings awareness to the severity and seriousness of winter weather. When bad winter weather hits an area, auto accidents increase, people overexert themselves shoveling, slip and falls on ice, and all sorts of other harm is done. Public safety is at risk, and similar to hurricanes, emergency personnel are working through it to provide safety and resources to those areas hardest hits. In the case of winter storms, those personnel are snow and ice plowers, shovelers, light to heavy equipment operators, and even office staff working at call centers to coordinate crews and provide service.

Most recall the devastation of Hurricane’s Katrina and Sandy, can the same be said for Winter Storm Jonas or Nemo from 2013? Time will tell, certainly it’s easier to recall Nemo as opposed to the ‘February 2013 nor-easter’.

Next up is Petros. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Action Alert: Share feedback on new SIMA Mission, Vision and Core Values



‘Last November, the board took a major step in redefining a Mission, Vision, Core Values and a strategic plan for SIMA. We hope that these new tools will take all of us into the future with confidence and a realistic plan for success.’

Take action now:
  • Share your feedback with Martin@sima.org or in the comment section below on our new Mission, Vision and Core Values.
By Justin Gamester, CSP
I remember getting my start with SIMA over 10 years ago, when I joined the Membership committee. My experiences working as a volunteer helped me get involved in the association and start to see the bigger picture for my industry. Little did I know that I would be sitting here as incoming board chair in 2016. The thought had not crossed my mind by any means.

It’s been fun and rewarding to watch the association and its membership grow and become more professional. I personally have benefited a great deal from the time spent with my friends and colleagues in the industry. I won’t say that it’s always been smooth sailing; there have been some bumps in the road for SIMA. We’ve launched projects that have failed; we’ve analyzed some things to death to be honest. But each time the association has come against a challenge, the volunteers and staff have pushed hard and made the tough choices to help SIMA thrive. And we have made significant progress in our educational offerings and resources to members and industry suppliers. We are now poised to take some serious steps as an organization to help influence major challenges and issues we all face as snow professionals.

Growing pains
As an entity, the association has grown significantly and has seen its share of growing pains. The industry is challenged, with pressure on pricing, higher service demands, more educated buyers and more. The board and staff have struggled with how to prioritize the many issues facing you in snow so that we could focus on the areas where we could have a true and lasting impact. Last November, the board took a major step in redefining a Mission, Vision, Core Values and a strategic plan for SIMA:
  • Mission: Empowering snow & ice management for success.
  • Vision: We fight for the industry to be one of the most valued professions in the world, ensuring that snow & ice management services are never taken for granted.
  • Core Values: Sustainability, Innovation, Service, Quality, Trust, Passion
We hope that these new tools will take all of us into the future with confidence and a realistic plan for success.
It wasn’t easy to get a group of business owners and entrepreneurs together to reflect on success and build a solid foundation for the future. After much discussion, some disagreement and a lot of collaboration, we created the new and needed direction for the association. We hope that this will engage all of you in the industry to work with us to elevate our profession, train our people and grow in snow.

Positive outcomes
Our new plan has helped us make some hard choices, and we are losing a few programs along the way. But with all loss comes opportunity, and we are excited to see the association focus strongly on best practices, consumer outreach, credentials, research and education moving forward. We value your feedback as we try to move the needle in ways that help elevate us all. Please share your thoughts with me any time at jgamester@piscataqualandscaping.com.

Justin Gamester is Vice Chair of the SIMA Board of Directors and Vice President of Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service in Eliot, ME.