Monday, September 11, 2017

Snow Safety Week is back

'In early 2017, SIMA conducted a survey related to injuries in the industry, and the results reinforced the need for us to continue to provide safety training and information for those fighting winter weather each season.'

Since 2013, the SIMA Education Committee has made safety a primary focus for educating the industry. SIMA’s Snow Safety Week, an annual week-long event with articles, videos, webinars and more, has played a significant role in bringing that safety focus to the forefront. The amount of snow management-specific safety information we have generated in these past five years has been beneficial - but there’s always room for more! This year, we proudly celebrate the fifth anniversary of Snow Safety Week, October 23-27, 2017. 

Why safety training?
In early 2017, SIMA conducted a survey related to injuries in the industry, and the results reinforced the need for us to continue to provide safety training and information for those fighting winter weather each season. Let’s recap a few key stats:
  • 23% of companies had one or more injuries in the past season resulting in lost work time.
  • Over 50% of injuries/lost time occurred due to an employee slipping and falling.
  • 58% of respondents indicated that sleep deprivation was the root cause of most injuries to their workforce, followed by 35% relating it to employee attitudes toward safety.
As we planned this year’s Snow Safety Week, we kept these stats in mind and will begin chipping away at these challenges: making workers less prone to injuries from slip and falls, along with reducing the impact of sleep deprivation and examining its effects on safety in the industry. This year’s lineup includes:
  • Webinars focusing on employee slip and falls and workplace conflict.
  • New articles covering a variety of topics on personal health and safety.
  • 10-minute Facebook Live events to talk safety with Safety Week sponsors. 
In addition, past Snow Safety Week resources are in the SIMA Library at

Learn more about Snow Safety Week at Special thanks to our 2017 Snow Safety Week sponsors: BOSS Snowplow, FCA Commercial and Caterpillar Inc. for their commitment to industry safety. 

Commit to safety
SIMA is constantly looking at safety resources that we can build for the benefit of the snow and ice management industry. We urge you to commit to safety as well. Here are five ways to help you elevate safety within your company:
  1. Access SIMA’s members-only Snow Safety Boot Camp course at for basic training on nutrition, sleep management, stress management and walking safely on snow and ice.
  2. Challenge your snow teams to actively participate in Snow Safety Week by viewing the webinars and by reading and sharing the tips provided in the articles and Facebook Live events.
  3. Review your snow-specific safety training and seek to align it with the entire season vs. simply conducting preseason training.
  4. Commit to safety at the top and consider instituting annual safety awards or a recognition program for your team.
  5. Audit your managers/crew leaders and identify safety champions vs. those who might cut corners. Attitudes toward safety internally can be the difference between a safe winter season and a catastrophic injury.
As always, SIMA wants to hear from you. If there is a major safety-related area of interest to you, please email 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

SIMA launches procurement RFP best practices

'This document is the most comprehensive shared vision of how snow and ice should be procured in commercial and retail settings...'

By Brian Birch
In the fall of 2016, SIMA worked with the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) on a shared event called the Snow Industry Think Tank. We brought facilities/property managers and snow contractors together to discuss shared challenges related to successful procurement and delivery of snow and ice management services.

From that diverse meeting, our next big best practices project was born - Purchasing Snow & Ice Management: Quality RFP Creation and Best Practices.

This project was a mammoth undertaking. It started with the results we gleaned from the Think Tank, where our core audience helped identify the RFP process as a critical component that drives the relationship between buyer and service provider. Both parties also identified what is most important related to service verification/documentation, critical site criteria and more.

From there, we created a rough draft of an RFP guideline. At this stage, we could have published it based off the preliminary Think Tank results; but we took it a step further and completed a thorough review and validation using a diverse set of industry experts and stakeholders.

Over the next several months, 18 stakeholders representing buyers, service providers, subject matter experts and suppliers (insurance, equipment, etc.) reviewed the guideline and submitted over 100 comments and insights. SIMA, led by our snow expert Phill Sexton, CSP, reviewed each comment, and we started the revision process.

In July, SIMA gave the stakeholders a last look and finalized the guideline, which addresses site assessment, service verification, contractual liability, communication and more.

This document is the most comprehensive shared vision of how snow and ice should be procured in commercial and retail settings, and contains appendixes that should serve as standardized best practices for service verification and general site assessment. SIMA will provide this guide to the facility management industry, and we encourage all industry professionals to review it in depth.

Best practices principles
SIMA governs its best practices with the following principles:
  • Open Access: Guides are available to all industry stakeholders at no cost, regardless of whether they are members of SIMA.
  • Education: SIMA spearheads educational partnerships and communication programs to help all parties adopt best practices.
  • Comprehensive: Best practices documents are reviewed by a large group of industry stakeholders representing multiple areas of expertise.
  • Quality Control & Transparency: The best practices documents are living documents, and suggestions, recommendations or concerns can be submitted online at
Download the guidelines at and provide feedback to 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Culture: If you build it, they will come

'Creating the kind of culture that shapes careers starts with a decision to make employees one of the top priorities in your company’s mission.'

The August issue of Snow Business is focused on Culture: If you build it, they will come. And, as an association, SIMA is focused on professionalism and success for organizations of all sizes and for individuals who may be looking at our industry as a possibility for their future. A positive and nurturing company culture can provide the right environment to grow roles typically thought of as temporary or seasonal jobs into careers that can last for years or even a lifetime. 

It’s human nature to feel good about being able to contribute as part of a team that’s working toward a common goal. When people feel like they are an important part of a productive team, loyalty builds; and as a result, they want to stay where they feel that they have a future they can count on. Belonging and the stability that comes from teamwork are important elements to help your organization become a workplace of choice, one that attracts, trains, and retains the talent that’s needed for sustainable success and helps you overcome the constant battle to build or rebuild your team.

Creating the kind of culture that shapes careers starts with a decision to make employees one of the top priorities in your company’s mission. Every owner, every company will take a slightly different path to success but there are some essentials that will help to form the foundation you need to continue to build. The resources you need are at your fingertips, starting with SIMA and Snow Business. We have the experts, professionals and networking opportunities to help you connect with others who have found the way and are willing to share what they’ve learned to help you build it, so they will come.

For more on building culture and a stronger workforce, visit to view the online issue of Snow Business. If you’re ready to take the next step, join us for the Season Opener: Build Your Dream Team in Baltimore on September 19-20. Learn more and register at

Monday, August 14, 2017

FCA US LLC Summer Clearance Time

Good Deals Come to Those Who Know Where to Look – It’s Summer Clearance Time!

Whether it’s for work or otherwise, buyers like to get the best deal possible on their sedans, vans, SUVs and pickup trucks.

Armed with that knowledge, FCA US LLC is careful to keep great offers available for customers, the goal of which, in part, is to reward repeat business and bring first-time buyers into the FCA family.

If you’re a small-business owner, for instance, and one loyal to Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram or FIAT® Brand vehicles, you might be familiar already with On The Job incentives. For those not yet in the know, these allowances help offset the cost of vehicle upfits, custom graphics, service plans and so on for qualifying individuals. Allowances in some cases can reach as high as $1,000 and – best of all – they can be used in conjunction with other offers and deals, further increasing your chances to save.

It’s also important to note that not all incentives are ongoing. Many offers, like those tied to Commercial Truck Season or the Summer Clearance Event (going on now!), are limited to specific times of year, in this case, fall and summer, respectively. Savvy shoppers should therefore make it a point to visit the vehicle brand websites to see the list of current incentives. After all, a simple click is worth it when there is money to be saved!

For your convenience, here are direct links to the “Incentives & Offers” webpages for all five FCA US brands and also to the FCA Fleet website, where you’ll find more information on these great incentives. Happy shopping!
Visit here for more information on the SIMA Savings program $500 vehicle allowance good toward the purchase or lease of select Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram and FIAT® Brand Vehicles. Connect with a dealer who understands your business here

Monday, August 7, 2017

Build your snow dream team

SIMA Season Opener: Building Your Snow Dream Team
September 19-20 in Baltimore, MD

By Justin Gamester, CSP
After much discussion and research, SIMA is launching a new Season Opener series that will take place each fall to help the industry kick off the season with passion and purpose. Each event will focus on real-world solutions, high-level peer engagement and expert insight. 

Our first event, focused on talent acquisition and retention, will take place Sept. 19-20 at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, MDRecruiting and retaining quality seasonal and long-term team members has become the number 1 challenge in our industry. We are confident SIMA’s Season Opener: Building Your Snow Dream Team will deliver tangible takeaways for attendees to start overcoming the talent challenge.

An all-star lineup
To create a dream team, you need all-stars - and we’re excited about our lineup:
  • Mark Eaton, former NBA Utah Jazz All-Star turned team-building expert, will kick off the event. Eaton will share stories and lessons learned through his experiences in team dynamics at the highest levels, and he’ll walk attendees through a facilitated discussion on recruiting methods and techniques being used by some of the most successful companies in our industry. 
  • Industry peers will lead an Employee Growth Round table, sharing experiences, examples and tips for building snow careers within your organization. 
  • Leslie Boomer, a Gallup-Certified strengths coach (and publisher of Snow Business magazine) will provide takeaways on how to develop talent within your organization. As an added bonus, registered attendees will receive a free StrengthsFinder assessment, a highly useful tool used by business leaders across the globe to develop balanced teams.
Lasting impact
The benefits of attending will not end when folks go home. Using information learned at the event, SIMA will develop two best practices guides tied to recruiting and developing careers in snow and ice management. In addition, attendees can attend a follow-up webinar on how to apply StrengthsFinder to identify talent in their organizations and how to nurture those talents for greater success.

Make plans to join us and share your insight by registering today at Bring yourself and key leadership staff! Each additional registration from your company receives a significant discount. If you have questions on the event, contact Brian Birch at 

Justin Gamester, CSP, is president of Piscataqua Landscaping and current SIMA board chair. Contact him at

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

SIMA wants to give you $200

Annual training commitment offsets ASM, CSP program costs
Have you ever pulled out your winter jacket from its back-of-the-closet summer hibernation, put your hands in the pockets for the first time in a year and found money? Well, SIMA members, sign into your account because you just found $200. 
This bonus money isn’t just for anything — it’s the training commitment credit, a new benefit created last year when SIMA revamped its membership structure.
The training commitment is one way SIMA can help offset the cost a company incurs when it commits to training its employees to provide the best service to its clients. 
Once a year, companies can use the $200 credit toward one employee’s purchase of the following:
  • One of four courses in the Advanced Snow Manager (ASM) program 
  • $200 off registration for ASM University
  • $200 discount on the Certified Snow Professional (CSP) study materials for a supervisor or manager who has achieved the prerequisites.
What’s holding you back?
The training commitment offers a great opportunity for business owners and managers to set their company and employees apart from the competition. Yet, only 18% of our members have taken advantage of this benefit. You’ve already paid to be a member, why not reward someone at your company with the chance to start on a path toward increased knowledge and a professional designation?
How does it work?
You do not have to be a new member or renew your membership to request the credit. As long as you’re a current member, that $200 is yours — put it to work. The commitment also renews each year that you renew but does not accrue. Use it or lose it!
To request the $200 training commitment, visit The credit will be applied to the designated contact’s training account upon purchase of an ASM training course or CSP study materials.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Work in progress: Training and certification

'SIMA is working on multiple fronts to improve the employment conditions in the industry. Our approach includes solutions that require dedication, skill and a bit of grit.'

By Martin Tirado, CAE
The last few years have seen major changes and challenges in the snow and ice management industry. But one issue remains constant and pervasive, and it has nothing to do with weather. It’s the difficulty in finding dedicated, hard-working people willing to commit to the work required to safely and professionally deliver service. 

SIMA is working on multiple fronts to improve the employment conditions in the industry. Our approach includes solutions that require dedication, skill and a bit of grit.

Sales and Management: Our Certified Snow Professional program has been the standard for excellence in business for the last 10 years. We have 180 CSPs today, but we believe a key reason limiting the industry’s uptake of the CSP is testing delivery. To adhere to above average standards, we have required testing at a qualified testing center approved by SIMA. In response to feedback regarding test delivery, a program review, and our successful rollout of online testing for the Advanced Snow Management program, we have moved forward with online delivery of the CSP exam. We anticipate a heavy increase in the interest and use of the CSP program as we pilot online testing. Learn more at

Changing the testing delivery is only one part of changes you’ll see for the CSP. As our signature certification program, we are revamping the entire CSP program. You will hear more over the next 8 to 12 months as we progress through the review process. 

Our vision is that more owners, salespeople, operations managers, and financial and administrative leaders will become certified. Together we can present a united, professional face to the consumers in the marketplace. 

Operations Management and Leadership: The Advanced Snow Management certificate program is our No. 1 priority for growing the skill and competency of snow operations management professionals. We have awarded over 1,000 certificates for the program’s four courses. We recently passed our annual ANSI audit, which guarantees the courses are relevant, fair, and effectively verify knowledge and skill. 

We piloted ASM University this spring and had a great class of individuals earn their full Advanced Snow Manager credential. The next ASM University will take place this fall. Enroll at In April, we also launched the Advanced Snow Management Handbook, an interactive training tool provided to ASMs to help them become training champions for their organizations.

Administration: This area of the business is essential, and we are developing a new training initiative related to service verification and documentation. Our goal is to deliver quality best practices, tips and real-world policy examples to professionals charged with organizing billing, data collection, production management and office infrastructure - all key elements in quality verification of snow services.

SIMA is employing these strategies to help build a workforce in the industry, but we can’t do it alone. The Board of Directors has directed SIMA to work on collaborative partnerships to make service industries like snow and ice more visible. SIMA will share current approaches to that strategy soon, but we value your input and encourage you to reach out to share your thoughts.

Beefed-up training for your team
In addition to SIMA’s credentialed programs, we have amped up our offerings to help you effectively, efficiently and affordably train your team:
  • Training Commitment: The SIMA Training Commitment offers a $200 discount toward one person earning their CSP or ASM designation. Each year of renewal triggers a new $200 training commitment, enabling members to build their employee’s skills and marketability over time. Learn more at
  • Online Training: SIMA’s vision is to help make the snow industry more visible and a place where people can earn a good wage and do work that matters. That is a long-term strategy, but in the short term we have worked to make it as easy as possible to onboard and train new operations personnel. SIMA members can access training courses, guidelines and best practices to help. Learn more about available courses at
  • New Videos:  SIMA is unveiling our new safety and training video program in mid-summer. Visit to learn more. 
Martin Tirado is SIMA’s chief executive officer. Contact him at