Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Work in progress: Training and certification

'SIMA is working on multiple fronts to improve the employment conditions in the industry. Our approach includes solutions that require dedication, skill and a bit of grit.'

By Martin Tirado, CAE
The last few years have seen major changes and challenges in the snow and ice management industry. But one issue remains constant and pervasive, and it has nothing to do with weather. It’s the difficulty in finding dedicated, hard-working people willing to commit to the work required to safely and professionally deliver service. 

SIMA is working on multiple fronts to improve the employment conditions in the industry. Our approach includes solutions that require dedication, skill and a bit of grit.

Sales and Management: Our Certified Snow Professional program has been the standard for excellence in business for the last 10 years. We have 180 CSPs today, but we believe a key reason limiting the industry’s uptake of the CSP is testing delivery. To adhere to above average standards, we have required testing at a qualified testing center approved by SIMA. In response to feedback regarding test delivery, a program review, and our successful rollout of online testing for the Advanced Snow Management program, we have moved forward with online delivery of the CSP exam. We anticipate a heavy increase in the interest and use of the CSP program as we pilot online testing. Learn more at

Changing the testing delivery is only one part of changes you’ll see for the CSP. As our signature certification program, we are revamping the entire CSP program. You will hear more over the next 8 to 12 months as we progress through the review process. 

Our vision is that more owners, salespeople, operations managers, and financial and administrative leaders will become certified. Together we can present a united, professional face to the consumers in the marketplace. 

Operations Management and Leadership: The Advanced Snow Management certificate program is our No. 1 priority for growing the skill and competency of snow operations management professionals. We have awarded over 1,000 certificates for the program’s four courses. We recently passed our annual ANSI audit, which guarantees the courses are relevant, fair, and effectively verify knowledge and skill. 

We piloted ASM University this spring and had a great class of individuals earn their full Advanced Snow Manager credential. The next ASM University will take place this fall. Enroll at In April, we also launched the Advanced Snow Management Handbook, an interactive training tool provided to ASMs to help them become training champions for their organizations.

Administration: This area of the business is essential, and we are developing a new training initiative related to service verification and documentation. Our goal is to deliver quality best practices, tips and real-world policy examples to professionals charged with organizing billing, data collection, production management and office infrastructure - all key elements in quality verification of snow services.

SIMA is employing these strategies to help build a workforce in the industry, but we can’t do it alone. The Board of Directors has directed SIMA to work on collaborative partnerships to make service industries like snow and ice more visible. SIMA will share current approaches to that strategy soon, but we value your input and encourage you to reach out to share your thoughts.

Beefed-up training for your team
In addition to SIMA’s credentialed programs, we have amped up our offerings to help you effectively, efficiently and affordably train your team:
  • Training Commitment: The SIMA Training Commitment offers a $200 discount toward one person earning their CSP or ASM designation. Each year of renewal triggers a new $200 training commitment, enabling members to build their employee’s skills and marketability over time. Learn more at
  • Online Training: SIMA’s vision is to help make the snow industry more visible and a place where people can earn a good wage and do work that matters. That is a long-term strategy, but in the short term we have worked to make it as easy as possible to onboard and train new operations personnel. SIMA members can access training courses, guidelines and best practices to help. Learn more about available courses at
  • New Videos:  SIMA is unveiling our new safety and training video program in mid-summer. Visit to learn more. 
Martin Tirado is SIMA’s chief executive officer. Contact him at