Friday, May 31, 2013

Why I get butterflies before the Snow & Ice Symposium

Witnessing SIMA staff and volunteers build up to the show, manage through it effectively, and come out stronger on the other side is one of the most satisfying things about working at SIMA.

By Brian K. Birch, CAE, Chief Operating Officer, SIMA
Okay, I admit it. I get the butterflies every year around this time, right when we move from May into June and we all realize that the Snow & Ice Symposium is right around the corner. All of a sudden, I realize that I'll be gone for 10 full days, the equivalent of a marathon for us as a staff in our work at SIMA. Over the next few weeks, our staff will have to prepare our family and friends for the simple fact that we will not be available to them for over a week, unless there is an emergency.

But this nervous energy isn't a negative thing; its just the anticipation of the culmination of a full year's worth of work by our staff and volunteers. This will be my 8th year in a row of butterflies before the show, and I think I'm able to communicate now the simple reasons why we get geared up and excited (and a little nervous) for the show;

Good people
The show is the one time each year when we see all of our customers together. These relationships sustain our energy and passion throughout the following year, long after the show has passed. I know that all of us are continuously thankful that we work with an industry composed of good, down to earth professionals who do good work, know how to have fun, and engage in professional dialogue and peer education. I don't think all industries are as rich as ours is in terms of the quality of the people within it; I firmly believe there is something unique about our industry.

A market in action
Its always been fascinating to me that the SIMA show, as the only national trade show and educational symposium for snow professionals/contractors, is a microcosm of the snow industry and market as a whole. All of the major elements of our market are at the show, including contractors (big, small, and in between), suppliers, educators, business partners, and even some consumers. It's exciting to hear new ideas, challenges, and innovations each year.

Hard work
Ask any of our staff or our volunteers/board members and they will tell you, putting on a show like this each year is challenging. From signage to registration, trade show to educational sessions, committee meetings to receptions, and everything in between, there are literally hundreds of action items to manage and implement pre-show, onsite, and post-show. Witnessing SIMA staff and volunteers build up to the show, manage through it effectively, and come out stronger on the other side is one of the most satisfying things about working at SIMA.

Perhaps the most important reason I get butterflies before the show is for this reason; we are all proud of our industry and our show, and we want everyone who experiences it with us to feel good and be proud too. We hope if you join us at the show, you will.

So don't worry too much about me, I am nervous for all the right reasons. Hope to see you at the show, more info at

1 comment:

  1. Hey Brian you are spot on. 6 years ago when I attended my first symposium I met those good people you are referring to. I attended quality educational sessions, and walked the trade show floor that was packed with vendors offering an arsenal of snow fighting equipment.
    Since then I have never missed a single symposium with the exception of traveling back and forth for a day to attend my daughter's graduation.
    A personal tip to anyone attending, you may want to volunteer a few hours of your time, I have and it will definitely enhance your experience.
    Lastly I want to thank all the SIMA staff, for your hard work and dedication. You have made the symposium a must attend event for me.


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