Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Raising the bar in snow and ice

SIMA provides free industry best practices and standards

By Martin Tirado, CAE
In October 2017, SIMA mailed 30,000 readers of Snow Business magazine in North America our Purchasing Snow & Ice Management: Quality RFP Creation and Best Practices. It’s the newest publication in our reservoir of resources that will become industry standards. And it’s free (download here) for anyone interested in reading and implementing it into their business practices. 

The Purchasing Snow & Ice Management document is rich in detail and specificity on the essential components of what should be included in the final agreement that properties have with snow and ice service providers, such as level of service, how to build and define a scope of work, contractual terms and definitions and more. Similar to other SIMA best practice publications, this document was developed with input from a broad and diverse stakeholder group, not just service providers. Property owners and managers can use and adopt the contents to the same extent that service providers can. That’s a win-win business proposition that enables long-term trust and value.

As this best practice document is used by more professionals every year, it naturally becomes an industry standard. The same can be said of all of SIMA’s best practices, which are free for download at

SIMA creates its best practices for free to serve the needs of the professional snow and ice industry. We will continue to do so and are committed to the following principles of best practices and standards:

Open Access. Guides are available to all industry stakeholders at no cost, regardless of whether they are members of SIMA.

Education. SIMA spearheads educational partnerships and communication programs to help all parties adopt best practices.

Comprehensive. Best practices documents are reviewed by a large group of industry stakeholders representing multiple areas of expertise.

Quality Control & Transparency. The best practices documents are living documents, and suggestions, recommendations or concerns can be submitted online at

The feedback SIMA has received on our best practices and standards has been positive in many ways. We will continue to lead with professionalism as we expand our inventory of industry best practices and standards. Our next step will be further developed at our 2018 Season Opener event, tentatively scheduled for September in Milwaukee, WI. An announcement on the exact date, hotel location and agenda is coming soon. For now, please download, read and share the snow and ice industry best practices and standards, the glossary of terms, and best practices checklists. More are on the way. 

Martin Tirado, CAE, is chief executive officer of SIMA. Email him at

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Symposium shakeup

Education offers more networking, in-depth workshops and roundtables

More networking. More peer-to-peer engagement. More in-depth workshops. More team building. Each of these represents a recurring suggestion of what attendees expect from the Best Show in Snow. SIMA is delivering with a revamped educational lineup for the 21st Annual Snow and Ice Symposium.

This year’s planning committee is shaking things up with new offerings that we believe will make this year’s show the best yet.

Our goal was to expand the education tracks to appeal to a broader audience so that more people will benefit from attending the Symposium. From people with boots on the ground to in the boardroom, our hope is that the changes we’ve implemented will deliver additional value for your investment.

All of the details can be found at, but following are a few of the program’s new highlights:

Best Practices Skills Competition. In lieu of a traditional pre-conference event on Tuesday, June 26, we’re encouraging companies to bring their team to take part in a head-to-head competition with other companies. The team-building event will see how well your teams understand industry best practices in safety, operations, calibration and site management.

Workshop Wednesday. Traditionally, the Symposium features one or two deepdive workshops on a targeted topic. This year, we’re dedicating most of Wednesday to eight 2-hour sessions focused on a wider variety of topics. Attendees will be able to choose from two of the eight sessions. Even better? The workshops will be included in your registration fee. This year’s topics:
  • Snow Operations Audits
  • Equipment and Maintenance Management
  • Managing Risk and Liability
  • Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Talent
  • Job Costing and Estimating
  • Applying Enterprise Risk Management Theory
  • Time Management and Productivity
Role-based Roundtables. Following the Wednesday workshops, we’re taking a page from our Season Opener playbook and creating in-depth roundtables focused on specific roles in a snow and ice management company. Attendees will engage with others in similar roles to discuss a variety of topics and trends important to them:
  • CEO to CEO
  • Operations Management and Techniques
  • Billing, Administration and Service Verification
  • Sales and Negotiations
Pro Talks - Life and Leadership in the Snow Industry. Once you achieve a certain level of success in snow and ice, many of the traditional educational sessions may be less pertinent, leaving some attendees to wonder: "What’s in it for me?" Patterned after the popular TED talks, we’ve asked six speakers to share insights and captivating stories that will resonate with attendees at every stage of their career, but especially those CEOs, business owners and upper-level managers who are looking for self-improvement and fresh perspectives.

Tech Talks & New Products Pavilion. One of the biggest draws of the Symposium is our trade show. This year, attendees will be exposed to 140,000 square feet of the newest products and services, all focused on snow and ice management. To complement the trade show, we’re adding a new products pavilion that will allow attendees to see the newest products on the market. In addition, we’re bringing education back to the floor with 12 Tech Talks, presented by a supplier with subject matter expertise (non-product specific):
  • Sidewalk Management Optimization
  • Route Management Technology
  • Weather Forecasting and Documentation
  • Plow Technology that Optimizes Production and Salt Use
  • Spreader Technology that Optimizes Production and Salt Use
  • Salt Use Optimization: Implementing Brine & Liquids
  • Chloride Alternatives: Solutions to Reduce Reliance on Salt
  • Service Verification
  • Equipment Maintenance and Repairs
  • Small Company Solutions
  • Site Engineering Solutions
  • Safety & PPE
That’s a lot of change for one year, but don’t worry! Our most popular Symposium events remain: Snack & Chats, networking receptions, the closing event and sessions focused on all areas of operations are returning. I encourage you to take a look at the Symposium brochure and start plotting your path to Cleveland. It’s going to be a great show. We can’t wait to see you!

Visit for registration, a schedule of events and more.