Thursday, March 7, 2013

Membership visits = membership value

Chris Marino
After visiting a friend’s facility in Canada, 
we decided to implement a new residential snow management strategy to supplement our traditional commercial work.  

Many SIMA members, through their affiliation with the association, meet and build long-term friendships. These relationships are a key way professionals can grow through sharing best practices and ideas with their peers. Over time, many friendships result in members visiting each other’s sites to see how they manage a snow operation. We caught up with Chris Marino, CSP, of Xtreme Snow Pros of Mahwah, NJ. Chris recently visited a member in Quebec after getting to know him through SIMA. What he learned led him to launch a new segment of his snow management business in 2012.

How many SIMA members have 
you visited so far? 
Since joining in 2011, I have visited four snow contractors that I have met through SIMA.

How did SIMA help you in building those relationships?
SIMA has helped by putting me in contact with other people who have similar businesses as mine. We are able to share ideas with each other since we have so much in common. It has been very beneficial for me to meet snow contractors in Canada because they have a completely different way of operating, and the culture is different. Using this insight as a way to contrast our business, I have been able to incorporate some of their techniques into my company. This has been a huge plus, since I am offering services that have never been offered in my location.

What is the most exciting thing about visiting a contractor’s facility?
I love to visit other facilities because we all have similar businesses, but we run them differently. It’s nice to compare how their businesses are both different from yet similar to mine. I usually take some new ideas back to my office to better my company and hopefully share some ideas with the folks I’m visiting at the same time. It opens your mind to other ways things can be done, and it truly is a huge learning experience on both sides.

What is the most important thing you learned from a site visit?
After visiting a friend’s facility in Canada, we decided to implement a residential snow management strategy to supplement our traditional commercial work. We have opened a new company and have outfitted it with a tractor and snowblower, and we were able to take several of the ideas I learned through the site visit to jump-start our new venture. 

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