Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SIMA announces first Advanced Snow Managers

By Brian Birch, CAE
An industry first has been achieved! Several individuals have attained Advanced Snow Manager status in June and July of 2014 since the completion of the final ASM course, Ice Management, in June.

These individuals have earned the newest designation for operations management personnel in snow and ice:
  • Mike Czeschin, ASM, BSR Services Inc. - St. Louis, MO 
  • Nicholas Mossotti, ASM, BSR Services Inc. - Maryland Heights, MO 
  • Travis Graham-Wilkes, ASM, Graham Landscape Limited - Innisfil, ON 
  • Judy Maciorowska, ASM, Snow Systems, Inc. - Wheeling, IL
  • Edith Snyder, CSP, ASM, A Growing Commitment, Inc. - Freehold, NJ 
  • Mike Dalessio, ASM, Mikey D's Lawn Care LLC - Sommers, CT
  • Adam Elleman, ASM, Snow Systems, Inc. - Wheeling, IL 
  • Aaron Williams, CSP, ASM, ULS Maintenance & Landscaping - Rocky View, AB 
  • Judy Hooper, ASM, Turf Plus, Inc. - Guelph, ON
  • Jackie Kemp, ASM, BSR Services Inc. - St. Louis, MO
  • George Melchior, ASM, NAVFAC, PWD Maine - Portsmouth, NH
  • Scott Derector, AEL - Edison, NJ 
The ASM program provides comprehensive training for any organization that manages or removes snow. Courses are self-paced and end with a quiz to verify knowledge learned. Once the quiz is successfully completed an official certificate is awarded and sent by SIMA. Any individual who earns all four certificates is awarded the ASM designation. All courses are available online through SIMA’s Resource 24/7 training center at www.sima.org/resources.

In Memory, Brian Akehurst, CSP

By Martin Tirado, CAE
It’s with sadness that I inform you of the recent passing away of Brian Akehurst, CSP, President of Akehurst Landscape Service, Inc. of Joppa, MD. Brian passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, July 6. 

Brian was a longtime SIMA member, Certified Snow Professional (CSP), and, most importantly, a respected mentor and friend to many SIMA members. His notable accomplishments include:
  • Serving as a Director on the SIMA board of directors for 6 years from 2007-2013. He culminated his time on the board by serving as President from 2009-10. 
  • He earned his CSP in 2005.
  • Attended the Snow & Ice Symposium annually for many years, starting with the 3rd annual held in Portland, ME in 2000.
  • Mentor to many SIMA members as he was a regular facilitator at Symposium snack and chats, regional training, the Snow Strategies Forum and other SIMA events.
This message can only serve as a brief summary of Brian’s accomplishments. What he meant to SIMA as a leader, advisor and friend will be the memory which we will always carry. As a 5th generation owner of a family business founded in 1876, his strength was his commitment to family and his faith. He led by example, through thoughtful and reflective decisions that expressed his humility. 

At 47 years old, he passed away far too soon and will be greatly missed. Leaving us at such an age, I believe Brian would tell us that at least for one day, embrace your spouse and children a little longer, tell them you love them a few more times, as you will never know when it could be your last time to do so. On behalf of SIMA, may God bless Brian on his journey to heaven.

Visit www.akehurst.com to share memories of Brian with his family and team, or to view information about donating to a scholarship fund for Brian’s children.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Another great Symposium in the books

'The 17th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium in Columbus, OH was the 2nd highest attended show ever, with over 1,700 registered attendees & exhibitors.'

By Elly Kobach
Thank you to all the exhibitors, attendees and volunteers for another great SIMA Symposium! The 17th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium in Columbus, OH was the 2nd highest attended show ever, with over 1,700 registered attendees & exhibitors. This show just narrowly missed the attendance record set at the 14th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium in Schaumburg, IL in 2011, making it a huge success. 

After a long and tough winter, it was great to see so many snow & ice professionals from all over North America get together to talk snow and learn from one another. A few show highlights included:
  • Sold out pre-conference brine workshop with the City of Columbus
  • Packed rooms for the 2 keynote speakers and snack & chats
  • A wide variety of sessions on a number of topics – view the Attendee Resource Center here for PDFs of the speaker presentations
  • 2 days on the trade show floor with over 130 exhibitors of snow & ice products and services
View the photo album from the show here, including pictures from the pre-conference workshop, welcome reception, trade show floor, awards night, closing event, and more.

Now that the show is over, we are on to planning for next year! SIMA is accepting proposals for educational programs in 2015, including sessions at the Symposium. If you are interested in speaking, visit here to submit a proposal by August 31, 2014. 

We look forward to planning many more great Symposiums – check out the dates and locations for the next 3:
  • 18th Annual: June 24-27, 2015 in Schaumburg, IL
  • 19th Annual: June 22-25, 2016 in Providence, RI
  • 20th Annual: June 18-21, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec
Thank you again to everyone for a successful, informative, and fun Symposium! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Look Out Montreal, Here Comes SIMA

'Montreal will be the perfect city for SIMA to celebrate its past, present and future for our 20th anniversary.'

By Martin Tirado, CAE
After several months of research, site visits, and negotiations with meetings and tourism officials in Montreal, I’m excited to announce that Montreal, QC has been selected as the location for the 20th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium in 2017!

The SIMA Board of Directors has long discussed reaching out beyond our U.S. based sites for the Symposium. With Symposium locations consistently booked out 3 years in advance, the stars started to align to hold 2017 in Canada. Montreal rose to the top amongst several other cities and convention centers that were evaluated. With our host hotel at the Hyatt Regency Montreal and the trade show and education at the Palais de Congres de Montreal, the Symposium will take place in the bustling, exciting and entertainment-filled heart of this amazing city. The official dates will be June 18-21, 2017, and here’s why you should be there:
  • Montreal is the largest city in the Province of Quebec, the 2nd largest in Canada, and the 8th largest in North America. Its history is lush, with a native population presence traced back over 4,000 years ago, Montreal was incorporated as a city in 1832 and served as the capitol of Canada from 1844-1849. Its current state is vibrant and thriving, with a wide assortment of restaurants, entertainment and cultural attractions all located within close proximity of our host hotel and the convention center.
  • Montreal is a bilingual city. With French serving as the official and most commonly spoken language, the majority of its residents are fluent in English. Upon a recent visit to the city, all hospitality and other people I met clearly spoke both languages. It was common to hear both French and English spoken amongst other hotel and restaurant guests, as well as in public streets.
  • As an international destination, the city has world-class attractions for both tourists and business travelers. Symposium attendees will love the summer weather, outdoor concerts and open-air dining and entertainment that make Montreal unique. You will want to bring your spouse and family to this city.
Before I’m asked, the answer is “yes” you will need a passport to enter Canada if you are not a Canadian citizen. Tourism Montreal personnel will be attending the 2016 Symposium to help with the process of obtaining or renewing your passport if needed. For exhibitors, we have secured a relationship with a customs broker who will make the shipment of booth and marketing materials to and from Montreal easy for you. Montreal’s tourism staff has hosted hundreds of business conventions attended by international attendees, so SIMA’s experience in Montreal will not be uncommon to them. On the contrary, the city of Montreal will offer a unique experience to SIMA.

Montreal will be the perfect city for SIMA to celebrate its past, present and future for our 20th anniversary. 2017 cannot come quick enough! I look forward to seeing you there.

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.”