Thursday, January 2, 2014

Looking to 2014 and beyond












'My vision for the future of SIMA is to continue to expand into areas where we currently do not have a strong presence.'

By Mike Anderson, CSP
I remember my very first experience in the snow business. I was a little boy trudging down the street in a Chicago blizzard with a shovel on my shoulder and coming home with almost $100 in my pocket. That’s the day I decided I really like this business! I had no idea back then I’d be writing to you today as SIMA chairman.

Since joining SIMA in 1998, I have never missed a Snow & Ice Symposium. I credit SIMA with giving me the knowledge and the confidence to transition from landscaping to a snow-only company almost a decade ago. I doubt I would have been able to do that without the advice and help from some good friends I’ve made through the association, the education I’ve received, and the relationships I’ve developed.

Working solely in the snow business allows me more time to spend with my five daughters and to go on a mission trip every summer. Past trips included working with children in Nicaragua, rebuilding houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and this year Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. It’s all part of serving and giving back. That’s why I’m here, to serve you and give my time to help make this association the best it can possibly be.

Growth opportunities
My vision for the future of SIMA is to continue to expand into areas where we currently do not have a strong presence. We have a solid membership base in the eastern and central United States. I believe there are tremendous opportunities for growth west of the Mississippi, in Canada and across the oceans.

Canada. Even though the association started on the shores of Lake Erie, none of SIMA’s founding members were Canadian. Currently less that 15% of our members are Canadian. This is amazing to me, considering our friends to the north live in a larger country, it snows in every province and territory, and their average snowfall totals are often higher than those in many U.S. states.

West. One of the most memorable Symposiums I attended was in Denver in 2001. I hope we can go west again for another Symposium. We have some strong members there, but for the amount of snow the region receives, I would like to see SIMA grow its membership in some key areas.

Going global. In a given year we only have a handful of members outside of the United States and Canada – why not more? Long term, SIMA has an opportunity to focus more effort on global snow & ice management membership and trends. Our first four training videos are available in Spanish. Once the Advanced Snow Management program is completely rolled out in English, we will consider translating the curriculum into Spanish and French.

There are thousands of snow & ice companies around the world who don’t know about SIMA and the amazing resources and information that can be obtained through membership. If we could just reach them, they would learn what I’ve known for a long time – that the benefits of joining far exceed the costs of membership.

Promote professionalism
I also envision a “Snow Removal for Dummies” book being published someday. These books already exist for lawn care, small businesses and restaurants. Why not snow? I’d buy it and give it to some of my competitors. The snow & ice management industry has low barriers to entry, but it’s much harder to do it the right way. Make friends at SIMA meetings, earn your Certified Snow Professional (CSP) designation, and use the numerous resources SIMA offers to do it right.

I want to end with my three favorite words besides I love you…LET IT SNOW!

SIMA demographics
  • 1,517 – Total SIMA membership
  • 1,294 – U.S. members
  • 221 – Canadian members
  • 256 – New members in 2013
Mike Anderson, CSP is president of Snow & Ice Pros Inc., a snow & ice management-only company based in Highland, IN. Contact him at mike@snowandicepros.com.

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