As we speak with snow professionals across North America, SIMA and Snow Business have always been inspired not only by their business acumen, but also the quality of their character. We believe that the true value of a snow & ice professional includes serving the communities in which he or she operates or volunteering for causes that are close to their heart.
Every year, the magazine features a special section highlighting three snow & ice professionals who take community involvement and volunteering to the next level. SIMA and Snow Business are proud to share the 2015-16 Community Service Initiative participants – watch a video interview with each company below, and click each of the titles to read their full stories in the digital issue.
Special thanks to BOSS Snowplow for their continued sponsorship of the Community Service Initiative!
B&B Group: A mission to serve
Precision Snow Removal: Giving back is a priority
W.L. French: 40 years and counting
Thursday, November 5, 2015
'The Think Tank brought up many great ideas about standards that are needed in the industry. We’d like to build on the energy from the event, and launch one of those ideas sooner rather than later.'
Take action now on best practices development:
- Fill out this form to become a stakeholder reviewer for Best Practices in Snow Procurement.
- Email Brian@sima.org any thoughts on industry standards and best practices.
- Sign up here to be one of the first to receive the final draft of the procurement guide.
On September 1-2, leading stakeholders in the snow and ice industry met in Washington, DC, for SIMA’s Think Tank strategy discussion. Snow and ice management professionals, property and facility managers, insurance representatives, and others worked together to discuss priority issues and proposed solutions for these issues. During this meeting, it became clear that SIMA and the snow and industry need to continue to lead the development of best practices and standards.
SIMA is excited to have already launched the Best Practices Guidelines and the Snow & Ice Management Glossary of Terms, and the Think Tank brought up many great ideas about other standards that are needed in the industry. We’d like to build on the energy from the event, and launch one of those ideas sooner rather than later.
We are in the process of finalizing a rough draft visual timeline of procuring snow and ice services. This document is designed to provide a visual timeline of best practices for contractors and buyers of service, so that the procurement process works with the mobilization needs of the contractor to ensure buyers are getting the best providers submitting RFPs in a timely fashion.
To make this procurement guide as comprehensive as possible, we are looking for a body of stakeholders to review this document and give us any insight or feedback. We hope that as an industry professional, you will consider helping us keep the momentum flowing and agree to spend approximately 1 hour of your time reviewing the document and providing suggestions.
From those reviews, we will create the first official Best Practices in Procuring Snow Services document, which we can build on over time.
Are you in? If so, please take a few minutes to review and fill out this online form and agree to the stakeholder requirements. You will then be contacted by SIMA with more information on the review process.
Monday, November 2, 2015
Last week, SIMA, Plowsite.com, and sponsors BOSS Snowplow and Progressive Insurance produced a third Snow Safety Week. With a webinar on field training in snow and ice, articles, videos and discussion topics, Snow Safety Week was successful in providing quality, helpful information on a variety of safety-related topics.
As we move into the winter season, safety information is timely and very important for all snow professionals to remember. View some of the highlights from Snow Safety Week below:
- OSHA Audits: 5 things you need to know – In some circumstances, instances of accidents can trigger an OSHA safety audit. Review tips on audits as well as how to be prepared in the event of one.
- Helping families of employees make it through the winter – The toll of winter services takes its toll not only on the contractors in the field but also on their families. Read tips on how to make the snow season easier for families.
- Recognizing the signs of a heart attack – Train your snow & ice team to know symptoms and warning signs of a heart attack and what to do if anyone experiences heart attack symptoms.
- CPR basic training for operations staff – Every snow and ice management company’s safety plan should include first aid and CPR training. View resources and ways to train your employees on CPR.
- Identifying onsite health risks – Snow and ice management professionals focus clearly on ensuring safe sites for their clients, but companies mustn’t neglect the safety of their employees working in tough conditions. Read to help keep your team safe onsite.
- Recognizing the signs of depression and anxiety – The stressful nature of work in snow and ice can lead to many health issues. Learn to recognize the signs of depression and anxiety and how to manage them.
- Creating a Safety Team for your snow company – Learn how to build a team of people who can champion safety and help other employees with reminders and incentives to follow your company’s safety training program.
- Video: performing a tool box talk/circle check – View a demonstration on how to perform a pre-trip safety inspection on a truck and plow, including checking the plow, lights, tires, signs of damage, and more.
- Safely dumping snow accumulation from the top of a parking deck – Dumping snow from parking structures requires a tight choreography of operations to ensure the safety not only of those dumping, but those on the ground and in other areas of the garages. View suggestions on how to accomplish this safely.
Visit here to see all the articles from last week, and thank you to everyone who participated and helped create another successful Snow Safety Week!
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
'It's a big deal when the industry begins to truly invest in high quality training to build its workforce. We salute the first 100 Advanced Snow Managers, and will look to them for leadership in snow operations for years to come.'
By Brian Birch
It's been a busy few years for us here at the SIMA office. A great deal of that workload has come from perhaps the most intensive and focused project we have ever created at the association; the Advanced Snow Management program.
I am sure many of you in the industry have heard of it, and many are intrigued. But quite often, I think most of us tend to sit back when something new arrives, and see what happens. And I get that. But thankfully there are some folks out there who are hungry for new things, and who jump at the chance to embrace change and move in a new direction.
SIMA just crossed a threshold that I think is significant - we just awarded the Advanced Snow Manager designation to the 100th industry professional since we launched the full program in 2014.
I'm not going to talk about the ASM program in this blog. Instead I would like to simply thank the 100 individuals who took the initiative to dive into a deep training program and work through it, proving they have earned expertise in the operational elements of snow and ice management.
It's a big deal when the industry begins to truly invest in high quality training to build its workforce. We salute the first 100 Advanced Snow Managers, and will look to them for leadership in snow operations for years to come.
Check out the names of these pros - if you know any of these folks, please send them a congratulations!
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
'We wanted a member to be able to reach out to us, customize a training plan, set training goals, and have support from the SIMA team to see it through to the finish line.'
By Brian Birch
Just over a year ago, SIMA began piloting a program called Team Training. The goal was to help companies who are serious about training in snow to save time and money by leveraging all of SIMA’s online training resources and designations. We wanted a member to be able to reach out to us, customize a training plan, set training goals, and have support from the SIMA team to see it through to the finish line.
We quietly started promoting this, mainly through the SIMA website. We wanted to report back to you some helpful information, with the goal of encouraging you as a SIMA member to get engaged, get serious, and start training. The pre-requisites are pretty simple: if you want to train more than one person, Team Training is for you.
Getting started is easy:
- Step 1 – Set up a quick call with SIMA to review the vision for training at your organization: https://calendly.com/brianbirch.
- Step 2 – SIMA provides a training proposal, scaled to your needs.
- Step 3 – SIMA helps you assign a Training Champion within your organization and sets a training deadline goal.
- Number of teams engaged = 11
- Number of people actively training = 47
- Number of ASM certificates issued = 97
- Number of Advanced Snow Managers created = 18
Take action now on Team Training:
Thursday, September 10, 2015
'Most associations that produce such material tend to keep it close to the vest, so only those who pay get to play. We have made a strategic decision to put this glossary out there for all stakeholders to access, including insurance, facilities management, legal, suppliers, and snow contractors.'
By Brian Birch
As part of last week’s SIMA Standards Think Tank, we were proud to launch our first official Snow & Ice Management Standard Glossary of Terms for the industry, available at www.sima.org/glossary. We started this project after advanced discussions with facility management professionals and snow contractors at the SIMA Think Tank in 2014, when it became clear that both parties need more tools for RFPs and contracts.
It’s been a challenging project, and one that has forced us to critically think about all the service, legal, and physical aspects of our industry. Our work has taken us through over 25 individual reviews, 200+ individual recommended edits, and over 100 terms. Our review stakeholders included a paid legal review, two thorough edits from Snow Business Editor Cheryl Higley, as well as insight from various facility management professionals, insurance stakeholders, snow contractors, and subject matter experts in numerous areas of the business. From here, further feedback will refine the terms, as this is a working body of knowledge that SIMA will consistently monitor and update over time.
Our next phase of the project can be broken into two major areas; delivery of the glossary and training to help all parties implement this robust set of terms.
Most associations that produce such material tend to keep it close to the vest, so only those who pay get to play. We have made a strategic decision to put this glossary out there for all stakeholders to access, including insurance, facilities management, legal, suppliers, and snow contractors. Long term, we hope to build a more integrated and useful web resource that enables people to find the terms they need, link to other related terms, and get access to more critical information on key items.
What we can’t do in this situation is put out a set of terms and expect things to just magically get better. The only way to help these terms propagate through the commercial/retail snow and ice management industry is for SIMA to spearhead various training and communication programs to help all parties adopt and use the critical terms that can help define service variables, shape the legal and insurance-related challenges, and ultimately provide more tools to help manage the business of snow.
We have already fleshed out some time at the Snow & Ice Symposium in June 2016 for glossary adoption training. We will also be investing time and effort in creating some simple resources and examples for the facilities management world to use to implement more specific and accurate terminology that truly helps them describe the outcomes they desire for their properties.
The end goal is simple; create industry-wide consistency in key terms tied to snow contracts, snow service, and RFPs in snow and ice management. Your feedback is always needed, and we will consistently be updating the glossary of terms based on information we receive from the industry at large. Here are some ways to start using the Glossary of Terms:
Thursday, August 6, 2015
'I believe in the power of individuals working together, and this industry is poised to take the next steps in becoming more sophisticated and accountable in how we manage the chemicals we put on the ground each storm.'
By Phill Sexton
On June 10th, 2015, I emailed some of the SIMA staff with a last-minute project before the 18th annual Snow & Ice Symposium. We needed to fortify some marketing information and material for a new initiative I’d been spearheading related to salt application research. This email began a conversation internally that resulted in a solidification of the Sustainable Salt Initiative.
For the past 2 years, I’ve been helping to coordinate an extension of a comprehensive research project for salt application rates in parking lots and facilities. But first, a quick review. Over the past 5 years SIMA invested in and supported the Snow and Ice Control for Parking Lots, Platforms, and Sidewalks (SICOPS). SICOPS was a multi-year research project currently being undertaken by the iTSS Lab at the University of Waterloo, with support from many interested parties. The primary goal of this project is to address the common question that faces every winter maintenance contractor: What are the right snow and ice control methods, materials, and amounts of material that should be applied under specific winter weather conditions? In conjunction with this project, a new software and material tracking system dubbed Viaesys has been developed and is now available for the industry to utilize.
The SICOPS data has been compiled from multiple years of research, and we have a solid baseline on true application rates in controlled settings. SIMA and Viaesys are now working together to research application rates for snow professionals in real-world settings. This information will be coupled with research conducted by SICOPS to determine a helpful set of recommendations for salt applications that make business sense and proactively address environmental concerns associated with over-application. In line with this, the focus will be on developing local standards that fit the needs and expectations of a specific region and are backed by years of real-world data collected from that region.
Now we are entering a new and exciting phase of SIMA’s investment in research, where SIMA and Viaesys will focus on collection of core data from true field applications by snow contractors across North America. We are seeking leaders in the industry who are willing to invest in the process of collecting real-world data on salt application rates. After an initial investment in equipment, these contractors will be outfitted with web-based, GPS-enabled salt tracking systems that automatically tracks material as sites are serviced. Some supplemental marketing materials will be provided for research participants so they can share with clients and prospects. The long term vision for this initiative is to combine and utilize the data for developing practical, easy to implement winter maintenance guidelines that are potentially used for defending slip and fall claims in the courts.
It’s exciting to watch this evolve organically into an organized process to tackle one of our industry’s bigger issues. As the past few winters have shown, an over-reliance on salt alone can become an ‘Achilles heel’ for a snow business when supplies become limited or costs skyrocket. As an industry, we must hit this issue head-on before government intervention and public pressure pushes us into a reactive position. I believe in the power of individuals working together, and this industry is poised to take the next steps in becoming more sophisticated and accountable in how we manage the chemicals we put on the ground each storm. Learn more about the Sustainable Salt Initiative by: