Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ASM University to train up workforce

'SIMA’s ASM University makes it easy to sign up any number of employees to become Advanced Snow Managers in 30 days or less!'

By Phill Sexton
When I began working with SIMA, my No. 1 mission was to build a quality operations-specific training program for the industry. Having worked in the industry for nearly 30 years I appreciate the reality of trying to develop and deliver in-house training. It’s much easier said than done.

SIMA’s goal was to launch the program online, making it easily available to anyone in the industry 24/7. We achieved our original goal and launched the Advanced Snow Management training program in 2014. We’ve educated hundreds of individuals with the program and are on track to top 200 full Advanced Snow Managers this year. I’m very proud of our industry, particularly those who have taken the leap to advanced their education and career path.

This winter, we are launching ASM University to make it even easier and more cost effective to register as many folks as you want for the ASM program. Through ASM University, SIMA will provide the support individuals are seeking to earn their Advanced Snow Manager designation.

SIMA’s ASM University makes it easy to sign up any number of employees to become Advanced Snow Managers in 30 days or less! For each person you register, you save money, build loyalty and develop a skilled workforce.

Enroll your best, and SIMA will do the rest! Register now at

ASM program features
  • Developed with snow professionals from across the U.S. and Canada, in alignment with professional training best practices.
  • Impactful courses use video, images, diagrams and quizzes.
  • Accessible 24/7, with materials available for you years after course completion.
  • Each Advanced Snow Manager receives an official marketing kit.
  • SIMA is an ANSI-Accredited Certificate Issuer – Accreditation #1170 – for the Advanced Snow Management program.
  • SIMA issues certificates for these Advanced Snow Management courses: Core Principles, Plowing Operations, Sidewalk Operations and Ice Management.
Phill Sexton is Director of Outreach and Chief Knowledge Officer for SIMA. Contact him at 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A new era dawns for Snow Business

'Plan on a steady hand, with an eye on the future.'

By Cheryl Higley
On behalf of the Snow Business magazine team, we hope 2017 is off to a great start for you! The past several months have been very busy at Snow Business as we began our transition to the SIMA staff. 

In case you missed the news, SIMA’s Board of Directors ended its practice of partnering with a third-party publishing company to produce the magazine. The decision to self-publish was seen as an opportunity to make a significant, long-term investment in the development of one of SIMA’s greatest membership benefits as well as to grow and advance the association and the marketplace. 

What does this mean for our readers and advertisers? Plan on a steady hand, with an eye on the future. The entire small - but mighty - Snow Business team joined SIMA, ensuring continuity for the magazine. But the new publishing structure has renewed our excitement for its future. 

Editorially focused 
From an editorial standpoint, our goal remains - to deliver the best solutions, resources and insights that can help our readers build better snow businesses. 

As you’ll see throughout the February issue, Art Director Lisa Lehman completed a brand refresh to modernize the magazine, including a new logo that puts snow front and center. You’ll also see new contributors as well as some of our long-time writers, all of whom either work in or consult to the industry. The Editorial Advisory Committee, comprised of SIMA members, continues to assist me in directing the magazine’s vision. 

The shift to SIMA will allow the magazine and the editorial committee to more closely work with SIMA’s Membership and Education committees to ensure the magazine and its new digital initiatives can help promote or complement their work. 

We will constantly evaluate not only what content is most valuable to our readers but also the best way to deliver it (in print or online), and in what format (video, podcasts, webinar, etc.). You can volunteer to share your insights by joining the Snow Business Readership Panel. I use this panel to gauge feedback, get story ideas and sources, and engage readers who may be interested in sharing their expertise with their peers. Join here:

Advertiser opportunities
Our sales team of Publisher Leslie Boomer, Sales & Account Development Manager Allison Blasko, and Member and Sponsor Development Manager Heather Carew are better able to serve our advertising partners by more closely aligning programs to span the platforms, including the Snow & Ice Symposium, e-newsletters, special sections, custom projects and value-added training and learning materials.

On behalf of the entire Snow Business team, we are so excited to fully integrate into the SIMA family and to continue to work on your behalf to deliver peer-driven, relevant and insightful information that delivers outstanding membership value and helps to move the industry forward. 

New e-newsletter program
When Snow Business joined the SIMA team, one of our first tasks was to identify overlaps in digital offerings. The most obvious was in the Snow Business Insights e-newsletter and SIMA’s Training Spotlight and Action Alert. 

We took the best of both and created a new e-newsletter program that launched in January. Each month, subscribers will receive e-newsletters with a targeted focus:

SIMA Solutions features quick tips, videos and stories in key areas like business, risk, operations and ice management. (Replaces SIMA’s Training Spotlight.)

SIMA Action calls readers to action on a topic or industry initiative. Hear from SIMA board members or staffers, gather information on SIMA resources and connect with the SIMA Library. (Replaces SIMA’s Action Alert.) 

SIMA Tools is an exciting new e-newsletter that will showcase products and industry suppliers, how-to information, and SIMA Savings specials that allow members to get the best bang for their buck.

 Subscribe now at

Contact Cheryl at or call her direct line at 262-236-9972.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

SIMA begins publishing Snow Business magazine

After several years of partnering with third-party publishers to produce its Snow Business magazine, the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) and its board of directors made a strategic decision to publish the publication in-house beginning in 2017.

Industry veteran and former Snow Business team member Leslie Boomer was hired in summer 2016 to spearhead the transition. The magazine’s core personnel remain, with the editorial, design and sales staff joining the SIMA team. In addition to Boomer, who is leading audience development and overall publishing initiatives, the SIMA Snow Business staff includes:

  • Editorial Director Cheryl Higley is responsible for the overall creation and direction of the magazine’s content as well as digital initiatives and custom publishing content. She has worked on behalf of Snow Business magazine for 12 years. She also leads the peer-driven Editorial Advisory Committee comprised of snow and ice management professionals from across the United States and Canada. 
  • Art Director Lisa Lehman, who has managed the magazine’s design for 12 years, continues in her role. In addition, she manages brand standards and marketing collateral for SIMA and will manage the magazine’s production and printer relationships.
  • Sales & Account Development Manager Alison Blasko continues in her role as the primary touch point for the magazine’s advertisers, creating digital and print programs designed to maximize their investment in the magazine, SIMA and the professional snow and ice management industry.
The decision to self-publish the magazine was seen as an opportunity to make a significant, long-term investment in the development of one of SIMA’s greatest membership benefits as well as to grow and advance the association and the marketplace. As publisher, the SIMA Snow Business team will be able to develop a quality audience development and editorial strategy that furthers SIMA’s mission to empower snow and ice management professionals for success. 

“Building on over a decade of success with Snow Business as well as our 2016 audience development efforts, we are enthusiastic for what the future has in store. As an association and publisher, we are committed to continued refinement and efforts to maintain the highest audience standards. SIMA is well prepared and will provide its partners and members with a top-quality distribution list to support sustainability and growth for 2017 and beyond,” Boomer says.

To subscribe to Snow Business magazine, click here to make sure you don’t miss an issue for 2017. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Stakeholders help build best practices

'Being a stakeholder means reviewing a draft of proposed best practices and providing insight based on experience and knowledge.'

By Gerry DuBreuil, CSP
Over the past few years, I’ve participated as a stakeholder on several of SIMA’s Best Practices projects. It’s been interesting being behind the scenes and seeing how these new industry guidelines are developed.

Being a stakeholder means reviewing a draft of proposed best practices and providing insight based on experience and knowledge. SIMA compiles all stakeholder comments, reviews them and finalizes a set of best practices. Stakeholders are offered a final review of the best practices before they are published.

The process doesn’t end there, however. SIMA provides the guidelines to anyone in the industry, and there is an open-door policy. Anyone at any time can recommend edits or changes to best practices. The goal is to create a transparent process that adjusts to changes and needs over time, while ensuring quality reviews of information.

SIMA is now entering a new phase of best practices creation. This fall, SIMA released the Best Practices Guidelines for Sustainable Salt Use. Next, SIMA is gearing up to conduct a stakeholder review process tied to how facilities and property managers create RFPs for snow services.

SIMA has tried to make the guidelines as accessible as possible and recently created a new Best Practices page where visitors can download the best practices individually or in a convenient all-in-one package. To download your copy, visit

I truly enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a stakeholder and felt it was a great way to gain perspective from multiple sources. I encourage anyone in the industry who wants to get involved and share their expertise to become a SIMA stakeholder content reviewer. Email to volunteer. 

Gerry DuBreuil, CSP, is manager at R&D Paving in Franklin, NH. Contact him at

Friday, December 16, 2016

SIMA Savings lightens the load

As part of its commitment to delivering outstanding membership value, SIMA works with supplier partners to offer cost savings through the SIMA Savings program.

By Heather Carew
SIMA understands that delivering outstanding snow and ice management service comes at a price. Equipment, ice management products, storage, weather tools...all of these and more play a key role in ensuring that companies can provide safe, efficient and effective service to their clients.

As you build and reinvest in your companies with the latest equipment and technologies, why pay full price when you don’t need to? That’s where SIMA can help.

As part of its commitment to delivering outstanding membership value, SIMA works with supplier partners to offer cost savings through the SIMA Savings program.

Currently, SIMA members have access to members-only savings from 25 companies; and we’re working hard to increase the roster of participating companies. Discounts range from a percentage cost savings, flat discounts, free products, free shipping and rebates.

Among those companies offering SIMA Savings deals is TrucBrush Corp. Company Vice President Debora Babin Katz says utilizing SIMA Savings not only benefits the member but also the participating companies.

“Snow contractors are able to achieve their business initiatives and receive a value-add for their membership. For the member supplier, the program provides additional awareness of a product or service and illustrates their commitment to SIMA and the snow industry,” she says. “Our participation has connected our company to so many SIMA members. It provides a platform for product and methodology discussions on the safe and effective clearing of snow from trucks, trailers and buses. And, most importantly, it creates an opportunity for SIMA members to obtain product education and keeps members updated on innovative products and services.” 

To learn more about SIMA Savings, visit or contact me at

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Building better RFPs

SIMA and PRSM members put their heads together at Think Tank to solve challenges related to procurement.

By Brian Birch, CAE
SIMA has made it a priority over the past four years to proactively engage the facilities management industry. The most tangible success we’ve had has been in the form of the SIMA Think Tank, an annual event where the snow and facilities worlds convene to discuss the challenges and opportunities that bind them.

In 2015, the Think Tank served as a springboard to create the Best Practices Procurement Timeline. We’d be na├»ve to expect that all of your contracts this season were finalized earlier than last year due to that work; but if we change them over time, we can make a big difference.

We aren’t satisfied though. As an industry, we want more and that is why we held this year’s Think Tank in Schaumburg, IL, in tandem with the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association’s (PRSM) Mid-Year Conference.

We took a risk and decided not to treat this as a half-networking and half-facilitated discussion about the problems. We have heard for years that SIMA needs to create procurement standards, so we asked attendees to be an organized focus group that would serve as the stepping off point for such a project.

Divide and conquer

We divided more than 70 attendees into nine groups: two groups of facilities managers, three groups of snow contractors and four mixed groups. SIMA staff or volunteers served as facilitators.

We then guided them through a series of solutions-oriented exercises addressing the following areas:

  • Defining Scope of Work and Level of Service
  • Procurement Methodologies for Snow & Ice
  • Service Accountability and Verification
We analyzed responses from the groups. It was fascinating to see the differences between the proposed concepts/solutions depending on who was at the table. We noticed that the more blended the tables became, the more diffuse their proposed solutions were. It is a reflection of how convoluted the entire procurement process is for buyers (FMs) and sellers (contractors).

The results were collated into a comprehensive report. Although there is no set of best practices or standards yet, the Think Tank provided the qualified, diverse feedback we needed to determine our next project - the creation of a quality best practices guide for building RFPs specific to snow services. 

Help us continue

We need your help to make this happen before spring. Here is how you can engage:
  • Bring the Brain Power. Request a copy of the full Think Tank report from Once you read it, share your ideas, experiences or analysis with Phill Sexton at
  • Put Your Hand Up. If you are willing to serve as a stakeholder who reviews content for any related SIMA Best Practices, email me at
  • Build with Best Practices. Visit and download our glossary, procurement timeline, salt use or qualification checklist. If you want a compiled resource of all best practices, download them at
We know that the Think Tank was a bit unorthodox. But we didn’t want to get everyone together to talk about the problems that exist - we wanted to focus on solutions. 

Thank you to the attendees for your patience as we took you through the process. We also want to thank our colleagues at PRSM for working with us to host the Think Tank during their event. When we initially reached out to the FM world, we couldn’t have envisioned a better relationship than the one that has developed with PRSM these past few years.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Snow Business is in the house

Beginning in 2017, SIMA will assume total publishing control of the magazine, which is one of its greatest educational assets.

By Leslie Boomer
Since early summer, SIMA has been promoting that change is coming. We’ve launched a new membership structure, new training and for the first time ever will be taking the Snow & Ice Symposium to Canada as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event.

A lot of change has taken place in the last year and one of the biggest came in April when the Board of Directors made a strategic decision to move Snow Business in house after years of partnering with a third-party publisher. Over the past six years, Grand View Media has been an outstanding partner and we’re grateful for their support of the magazine and SIMA’s mission. 

Fifteen, 10 or even five years ago, this move wouldn’t have been possible. But SIMA has grown to the point where the board feels it is fiscally and operationally able to assume control of the magazine and chart a new path that will deliver additional value to our members. 

Continuity and beyond
Having worked for Snow Business from 2006 to 2013, I returned to the SIMA team in April to help guide this change, which will launch in January 2017. Sales and Account Development Manager Ali Blasko is already on board. Our editorial team - Editorial Director Cheryl Higley and Art Director Lisa Lehman - will transition onto the SIMA team after the December issue. We are thrilled to be able to ensure continuity in operations as we move forward. 

But continuity doesn’t mean we’re standing pat. The magazine is undergoing a redesign that will kick off with the February 2017 issue. We’re adding new contributors, looking at value-added content to include and will continue to feature SIMA members with great stories to tell. We encourage you to become involved by joining our Readership Panel at

Part of the larger vision
While Snow Business has always been owned by SIMA, the decision to self-publish is part of a larger vision for the future of the association as a whole. Our publishing goal remains - to create dynamic and creative products in print and online for those who care deeply about seeing the continued growth of professionalism, safety and education throughout the industry. 

Bringing all operations under SIMA management will enable us to fulfill our mission - to empower snow and ice management for success. 

Who benefits from self-publishing?

The more you know about who you serve the more you’re able to tailor what’s offered to members to grow membership, reach a broader audience, and educate and train tomorrow’s snow and ice management leaders.

SIMA members and the industry
Because of the intelligence that can and will be gained though the development and maintenance of quality audience and engagement data, we can better serve our members with up to date, relevant education and events they want and need to grow their businesses. Thriving companies focused on professionalism will help continue to elevate our industry.

Advertiser and sponsors
SIMA will develop and maintain a quality audience engagement list that extends beyond Snow Business circulation. Because we have a vested interest in keeping this list current for the benefit of the association, our advertisers and sponsors can be assured their marketing message will reach the highest quality audience possible.

Leslie Boomer is publisher of Snow Business magazine. Contact her at