Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 CEO of the Year nominations

'By sharing our winners’ stories, we hope that everyone in the industry – big and small operations alike – will learn something that can set them on their own path to achieving greater success.'

By Cheryl Higley
This summer, SIMA and Snow Business magazine will crown its fourth CEO of the Year. Our first three winners – Sam Granados, Paul Vanderzon and Tim Gibbons – all were honored for dedication to professionalism, advancement of the industry, financial success and community involvement. While those characteristics are part of the judging criteria, they also had in common what I believe is one of the most important traits a visionary leader possesses...the ability and desire to raise others up to be the best that they can be.

With this award, we are able to tell the stories of snow & ice management professionals who have plowed a path to success. Our winners have worn the shoes of a new business owner, faced challenges and sought out industry peers to learn from. But once they achieve success, they know there is much work to do. They look back at their experiences to find ways to pay it forward, to build a new generation of industry leaders.

For me, the value of the CEO of the Year award lies in the people it touches: 

The nominator: Peers who think so highly of someone and their contributions to the industry submit candidates for consideration. To have made such an impression on a person that they nominate you? You’re already a winner.

The judges: The judging team includes the Snow Business Editorial Advisory Committee, SIMA staff & board members, a sponsor representative and the previous year’s CEO of the Year. They say it’s not what you know but whom you know, but in this case your name will get you nowhere. All judging is based on the criteria and all identifiers are removed. Judges vote on merit, not on popularity or who has logged the most face time at industry events.

The winner: This industry is hard put your head down and do what needs to be done, without glory, laud and honor. That is why it’s a thrill for me to deliver the news to the winners and hear their reactions. In each case, it’s a bit of disbelief mixed with a whole bunch of humble gratitude. Their desire then is to focus less on where they are and instead share insights and stories about who helped get them there – family, industry colleagues, mentors in life and business and the team members who bought into their vision and helped them achieve it.

The people in the industry: By sharing our winners’ stories, we hope that everyone in the industry – big and small operations alike – will learn something that can set them on their own path to achieving greater success. And the winners don’t take their trophy and run...they step up and continue to share their experiences. Gibbons, the 2013 honoree, will speak at the 2014 Snow & Ice Symposium, just as his predecessors did after they were honored. 

The community at large: Each of the winners has looked beyond the bottom line and built a legacy of compassion and giving. Underprivileged youth, men who need a second chance, charities and organizations who help children and others in need have all been touched by the generosity of our winners.

Nominations for the CEO of the Year Award are open now. If you know someone whom you believe is worthy of nomination, please visit to complete the nomination form by May 16. 

Thank you to CEO of the Year award sponsors Western, Fisher, Blizzard, and SnowEx.

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