Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SIMA bolsters snow & ice education

'A journey that started five years ago culminates in the addition of the Advanced Snow Management program to an industry starved for operations-based training.'

By Ian Ashby
Over five years ago, I decided to volunteer some time to SIMA through the Education Committee. I was surprised that SIMA, the national association for snow professionals, didn’t do as much operations and safety training as many other nonprofit trade associations in service-related industries tend to do. I am passionate about this topic due to the types of accounts my company services in our region — high-profile industrial accounts with a stringent focus on safety and a need for efficiency. Fortunately, others within the association agreed that SIMA needed to put its best foot forward for the industry at large.

Since then, the SIMA educational team of volunteers and staff have worked hard to bring more hands-on operational and safety training topics and concepts to the table. Then, two years ago, SIMA took its biggest step yet by hiring an industry veteran and fellow snow warrior, Phill Sexton. His primary assignment was to create focused operations and safety training for industry professionals that had some meat to it, and that could potentially carry weight with insurance companies and facilities management professionals.

It is with great pride that I share the results of these years of effort by the SIMA volunteer committees, including the Education Committee and the Stakeholders Advisory Group. In June 2014, SIMA announced the completion and launch of the final course in the Advanced Snow Management program — the Ice Management course. Not only did this make accessible what we all feel is the best training available for deicing management, but it also cleared the way for the first professionals to earn the newest designation for the industry: Advanced Snow Manager. 

To reinforce this, I personally called the three largest facility managers in North America (two of whom we work with), and asked them how much weight they place on professional training like this when making snow service decisions. The answers ranged from 30-35%. Each agreed that if all other items in the bid were equal, professional credentials like this would greatly enhance a company’s chance of winning a bid. 

Congratulations to the first Advanced Snow Managers (view the list here). Their leadership and effort is commendable, and on behalf of SIMA and all the stakeholders who helped bring the Advanced Snow Management training program to the market, we salute you. 

Ian Ashby is owner of Arbutus Landscaping in Calgary, Alberta. Learn more about ASM by visiting

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