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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SIMA and LMN celebrate long term relationship

   

'With the launch of this new relationship with SIMA, LMN has the opportunity to make significant impact in several critical areas in the industry including service, efficiency, and profitability.'

The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) and the Landscape Management Network (LMN) are announcing a collaborative, multi-year agreement that will enhance SIMA membership value and deliver quality training to the snow industry.

SIMA is the non-profit trade association in the snow & ice industry, and LMN has been an innovative educator and software developer in the industry for over 5 years. The two entities have collaborated on educational initiatives over the past few years with great success, and plan to build on that moving forward.

Martin Tirado, SIMA’s Chief Executive Officer, says “SIMA and LMN have built a solid working relationship and, to date, we have trained hundreds of snow professionals together. The next several years will see even more focus on helping snow professionals develop their skills and abilities in estimating and managing snow effectively.”

Last year, the two entities collaborated on 6 separate training events across the US and Canada, training over 150 people. Through 2018, the organizations will work to deliver more hands-on workshops regionally, deliver relevant snow-specific content at the SIMA Library (www.sima.org/Library), and more. 

“Our company is forever linked to education, and we are focused on developing intelligent snow and ice practices that are beneficial to owners and their employees,” says Mark Bradley, CEO of TBG Environmental and LMN. “With the launch of this new relationship with SIMA, LMN has the opportunity to make significant impact in several critical areas in the industry including service, efficiency, and profitability.”

On top of the educational collaboration, SIMA has announced the elevation of LMN to a Key Savings Participant in its SIMA Savings discount program for members of the association. This will provide additional exposure for LMN to the membership, bringing significant value to LMN, SIMA, and especially SIMA members who take advantage of the savings program. LMN will also enhance its visibility and presence at the SIMA annual Symposium as an exhibitor and content creator.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Snow Shoveling for the Big Storm















'Here at the Snow & Ice Management Association we promote safety in all aspects of winter storms.'


The big storm is coming, specifically Winter Storm Jonas. With a broad swath of deep snow and whiteout conditions from the Ohio Valley to some of the east coast’s largest cities, this will be the first big snow storm many of these areas have seen this winter season. In some areas, records may be broken.

With big snow comes health and safety challenges for snow and ice management workers, property owners and the public who all have a role to play to dig out and get moving again. A simple web search provides some useful tips on safe snow shoveling, as well as some very scary stories showing that every winter storm there are often fatalities linked to overexertion and heart attacks.

Here at the Snow & Ice Management Association we promote safety in all aspects of winter storms. Be realistic in the amount of time and energy it takes to shovel out from these big storms like Jonas. Use these tips and forward them on to your family and friends:

TIP #1: Stay on top of the snow. We aren't suggesting that you make snow angels but when there's heavy snow, the best advice is to stay ahead of the storm. SIMA recommends that you clear the snow every few inches instead of waiting for the snow to stop falling. 

TIP #2: Layer it up. Wear loose layers of clothing so you can peal a layer off if you get hot. Avoid wearing wool or manmade material because they don’t allow perspiration to evaporate--better choices are cotton and silk. And when it comes to footwear, waterproof boots with good traction will help ensure that you don't slip and fall. They aren't pretty but they are critical to preventing a fall. 

TIP #3: Push, don't lift. Sounds like something a high school wrestling coach might say, but if you push the snow to the side rather than trying to lift the snow, you exert less energy, thereby placing less stress on your body.

TIP #4: Do an exercise warm-up. Although you aren't running a marathon, shoveling snow is exercise. So warm up before you start with some simple stretches that engage your entire body--especially your arms, legs and back. Drink plenty of water and take breaks when you need them. 

TIP #5: Call and text. We're not suggesting that you make calls and text while shoveling snow, but it is important to have your cell phone on you so you can make a call in event of an emergency.

Good luck and stay safe and warm!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Disruptors in Snow and Ice Services












'However, neither of those disruptors change the need to have professional companies and their workers plowing and clearing snow and ice for safe passage.'

By Martin Tirado
Recently Accuweather posted this article on the on-demand snow (and lawn) services that have suddenly popped up. Many market sectors are changing as a result of ‘disruptors’, mostly based on technology advances that are being developed at a rapid pace. So is this, or other new services to the snow management profession, truly disruptive to business as usual? On demand could certainly work in residential plowing, commercial and larger scale facilities will present a more difficult challenge for on-demand service.

How about how companies buy or rent compact to heavy equipment? There is at least one company doing this, Getable, and certainly others competing with them or on the way. Snow and ice management companies already rent or lease equipment they need during winter seasons, I can certainly see plows and spreaders being offered in an on-demand or seasonal nature as well. Manufacturers and suppliers have business savvy and evaluate short and long term trends, they will continue to find a business structure that serves the needs of the market. 

What other disruptors exist that can change the way snow and ice services are delivered? Possibly multi-location brokers, verification and validation technology are a couple that exist now. However, neither of those change the need to have professional companies and their workers plowing and clearing snow and ice for safe passage. Our main disruptor may always be the unpredictability and variability of winter weather and the danger is poses to companies that do not have a business plan to adjust.

Have any of these disruptors impacted your winter season?

Friday, January 8, 2016

El Niño Weather Brings Changes





















By Martin Tirado
The strong El Niño pattern across North America has created snow and ice storms in unlikely places and unusually warm weather in normally cold areas. SIMA’s tips on how to deal with winter weather were first published by local media in Albuquerque, NM as a result of Winter Storm Goliath, as opposed to Buffalo, NY whose warm weather set records.   

Heavy rains are hitting drought ravaged California, little to no snow in the Northeast and Atlantic Coast, and arctic cold is on its way. So what’s next?

Most likely snow and ice storms will be coming in many places in the US and Canada. Snow plowers will be working and the public will need to take caution as to how serious conditions can get in these storms. Pass along these tips to your customers, business contacts and even friends and family who need to stay safe in winter storm conditions. The next Goliath type storm will come, be sure you are prepared for it.

TIP #1: Wear proper shoes. While fashion is great, the right shoes to navigate snow and ice place the entire foot on the surface of the ground and have visible, heavy treads and a flat bottom.

TIP #2: Be prepared. Have an ice scraper and brush in your car - not in the trunk, as snow may make it difficult to open the trunk. Have a full tank of gas; check the tire pressure, battery, and oil. Wear the proper clothing - boots, gloves, hats, scarves, etc., and take extra clothes. Charge your cell phone before leaving home and take a car charger. Carry a safe winter car kit containing items such as kitty litter, rock salt, a shovel, a blanket, flares, water, etc. 

TIP #3: No need for speed. Slow down. The time you need to stop, the possibility of sliding increases when it starts to snow or in freezing conditions. 

TIP #4: Check the weather reports. Listen to the news to hear about your local road conditions. Pay attention to what roads are impassable and plan another route if those routes affect you. If the roads are hazardous or closed, stay home.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Action Alert: Use this tame winter to train and improve






'SIMA has built a significant set of training materials, courses, and resources for members to utilize.'


Take action now on training: 
  • Download the Best Practices Checklist for Snow & Ice Management here (free) and work on checking items off the list.
  • Download the SIMA Safety Training Kit here (free to members).
  • Each SIMA member company is eligible one time per year for 5 free vouchers for use in the SIMA training center. Email Ellen@sima.org to request these (verification required).
  • Schedule a Team Training call here to start down the path of Advanced Snow Management.
  • Review requirements and apply to become a Certified Snow Professional here, and add a serious credential to your qualifications.
In many areas, unfortunately low or no snow has been the norm this year. Many contractors have teams sitting and waiting. This might be the time for you to consider training and improving your key staff and systems. 

In this industry, it is challenging to prioritize time for staff to train, especially leading up to a snow season. SIMA has seen a significant increase in requests for training materials and investments in training over the past month, as many snow companies seek to keep their key players engaged and turn a slow winter into a training opportunity. Many have undergone a quick call with SIMA staff to discuss our Team Training program.

Team Training is designed to connect all of the online training resources available at the SIMA Training Center with key staff members. Each team member receives their own training classroom for focused individual learning like the Advanced Snow Management certificate courses, as well as the ability to download any documents, contracts and forms available to members of SIMA. Team Training companies can also have a single master training account where they can access the SIMA training videos and on-demand training webinars they choose.

SIMA has built a significant set of training materials, courses, and resources for members to utilize. We are here for you during this slow winter, and are interested in helping you in any way we can.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Action Alert: Become a content producer with SIMA in 2016





'We are always seeking new ideas, subject matter experts, and different perspectives for webinars, videos, interviews and articles.'


Take action now on content production:
By Brian Birch
Each year, SIMA creates industry webinars, articles and videos. Our goal is to be the most relevant and best quality content creator in snow and ice management.

This coming year will be one of great change for SIMA. The association will continue to build on successes in best practices, and will launch a new content management section at www.sima.org to replace www.GoPlow.com. The new section, called the SIMA Library, will launch later this month and will feature:
  • A comprehensive set of categories and tags that can help you drill into content
  • The ability for SIMA to set some content as members-only
  • Quick access to great content from past issues of Snow Business magazine
  • A widget to search for articles by our most popular authors
  • Mobile-friendly design for easy reading or review on any mobile device
Not only will you see new and better content from SIMA in the next year, but we created a more formal taxonomy for organizing material online, and we are actively working to adopt this taxonomy within SIMA as much as possible. Along with that, we are working hard to align our content with the SIMA Standard Glossary of Terms, so that the content you see and hear from us is better organized and clearly understood.

We are always seeking new ideas, subject matter experts, and different perspectives for webinars, videos, interviews and articles. We encourage you to become a content producer in 2016!