Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Help define the future of the snow industry

'The future can be full of promise provided we come together as an industry to fight for the greater good and protection of snow professionals.'

By Jason Case, CSP
The last few years have been very exciting and challenging in the snow industry. We have all seen record-breaking snowfall, salt shortages and insurance issues, but have persevered despite a struggling economy. Today is a new day, as our industry has evolved and is now being taken seriously by property owners, legislators and the general public. So, what is the future of snow & ice? How will the laws enforce and govern change? And who will be there to help guide us through the unknown?

Risk Management
When I think of the challenges contractors will face in the immediate future, risk management is the first thing that comes to mind. The insurance industry is frightened by the nature of the snow business, and it seems like contractors take on all the risk, even when they do everything possible to get the job done. How can we defend ourselves in a litigious world? SIMA understands these issues, and with your help we are collectively developing and publishing industry standards, best practices, salt application rates, and education through the Advanced Snow Management (ASM) and Certified Snow Professional (CSP) programs. 

Contract reform also needs to be considered, as well as legislative change that helps defend contractors from frivolous lawsuits. The future can be full of promise provided we come together as an industry to fight for the greater good and protection of snow professionals. 

Environmental concerns
Environmental concern is continuously on the rise. A salt shortage correlates to the amount of product distributed into the environment. Are we over applying? Many contractors feel the more product they apply the faster snow & ice melt. Multiple applications help achieve bare pavement, meeting consumer needs and reducing the risk of slip and falls. Recent studies funded by SIMA will demonstrate that contractors can achieve acceptable results with less product. 

We all have a responsibility to help protect our watershed areas. SIMA is the go-to resource to help contractors understand that spreading fewer chlorides means being environmentally responsible. By utilizing new technologies, coated rock salt, liquids, advanced equipment and training, we can help preserve our environment and still provide safe and accessible vehicle and pedestrian ways.

Look to the future
Leadership is the future of our industry. It's because of pioneers like Alan Steiman, CSP, and Brian Akehurst, CSP, that I can stand proud to be a snow & ice contractor. These mentors helped guide me and encouraged me to get involved, think outside the box, and become a snow & ice professional. Through my past 10 years of involvement with SIMA I have met some remarkable people. Everyone has something to offer this industry and the SIMA organization. When I joined, I never thought I would be writing this article as SIMA's chairman of the Board of Directors. Now I challenge you. It's time to come together as an industry and get involved beyond paying your membership dues. Help make a difference, become a leader, and mentor the younger generations to build a sustainable snow & ice industry.

Thank you to all of the members, volunteers and SIMA staff who contribute to helping make a difference for all snow contractors.

Jason Case, CSP is president of Case Snow Management, Inc., located in North Attleboro, MA, and board chair of SIMA.

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