Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reflecting on a great year & looking to the future

'Overall, it’s been a very successful year and one I’ll certainly never forget. We accomplished a lot and made significant progress toward our goals.'

By Mike Anderson, CSP
Wow, what a year! I was asked to write about this past year in my role as SIMA board chair. I would describe it as different, busy, challenging, tough, exhilarating, frustrating, tiring, rewarding and definitely memorable.  

Most of our members work in areas that either set or came close to setting records for snowfall and cold last season. After two mild winters, it was nice to finally have a lot of snow. I love the excitement. I welcome the challenges. I appreciate the satisfaction of working “a perfect storm.” You have to love this business to make a career out of it. It’s not for the weak or timid. You have to be strong and have laser-focused determination and boundless energy to do it well. I can’t even tell you how many all-nighters I pulled this winter. We all lost a lot of sleep working tirelessly toward our goals. 

Education at the forefront 
You could definitely feel that excitement at the 17th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium in Columbus, Ohio, in June. An almost record 1,730 people came from all over the world to share their stories, ask questions, and get help with their problems. I kept hearing that this was the best Symposium ever. I’ve attended every one of them since 1999, and I agree! Vendors were very happy, and many want larger spaces next year. The buzz and energy level in Columbus was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

One problem many of us dealt with earlier this year was the salt shortage. We were presented with unique challenges and forced to make tough decisions. At SIMA, we recognized and responded to the members’ need to better deal with these challenges. Instead of an annual Snow Strategies Forum, SIMA held the first Salt Summit in August. The response was so great that it sold out early and we booked a second Salt Summit for September. SIMA continues to stay proactive and provide exceptional value for the small cost of membership. 

Moving north and west
One of my personal goals this year was to reach out and work toward expanding SIMA’s membership in Canada and west of the Mississippi. In case you missed it, we booked our first Symposium north of the border in beautiful Montreal for June 2017. I’m confident we’ll get lots of new Canadian contractors to become members once they’re introduced to SIMA and see how much it can help them with their snow & ice businesses.

I’m pleased to say two of the three newly elected board members are from the areas where we want to expand. Kent Peddie, CSP, is located in Ottawa and does about 80% snow and 20% landscaping. Carl Bolm, CSP, is a snow-only contractor based in St. Louis and was honored this year as the 2014 Snow Business CEO of the Year. Carl has been to every Symposium since 2002 and has taught at several of them. The third incoming board member, Laura Ingram, CSP, works for a snow-only company in the Chicagoland area. Laura, a former math teacher, heads SIMA’s Outreach Committee. All of the new board members are strong individuals with reputations for honesty and integrity. I could see any of them as the future SIMA chair. 

Giving thanks and passing the gavel
This is a great opportunity to thank the three outgoing board members for their outstanding service to SIMA: Jim Hornung, CSP; Daniel Gilliland, CSP; and Brian Churchill, CSP. Jim and Daniel each served a term as board chair. These three men and the great SIMA staff have made enormous contributions to help bring SIMA to where it is today — stronger than it has ever been financially. 

Overall, it’s been a very successful year and one I’ll certainly never forget. We accomplished a lot and made significant progress toward our goals. In October, I hand off the baton to Jason Case, CSP, who will take over as chair. Jason is hardworking, intelligent and definitely a winner. I have no doubt you’ll be in great hands this next year. It’s been fantastic! Let it snow!  

Mike Anderson, CSP, owns Snow & Ice Pros in Highland, IN. Contact him at mike@snowandicepros.com.

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