Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Find allies and sounding boards through SIMA peer groups

By Phil Harwood, CSP

It’s been said there is strength in numbers. SIMA helps build that strength by harnessing the power of cooperation and engaged learning through its peer group program.

SIMA Member Peer Groups pair six to eight snow and ice management entrepreneurs to discuss snow industry best practices, labor trends, staffing/recruiting, competition, market dynamics, economic trends, technologies and more. All meetings are professionally facilitated.

Groups meet a minimum of four times per year and work together to help each other achieve business success and to learn from one another. Where one company may struggle, another may thrive. Participants come away with action items to help resolve issues affecting their business and report progress in future meetings.

Participants are ensured that their peers will be in non-competing markets and will have similar objectives, business lines, financial profiles and common interests. 

We are certain that peer groups deliver outstanding value to those who participate, but don’t just take our word for it. Following are testimonials from three current peer group participants:

Mike Kukol
Horizon Landscape Company // Wyckoff, NJ
Peer Group Member since 2015

Why a peer group? I wanted to grow my snow business and have been involved in other peer groups that I found to be a great source of information and support.

What have you learned? It is tough to think of all the little things I have learned along the way. Factory tours have been informational and inspirational. I also have learned that there are many different ways to skin the snow business. Everyone has the same issues to different degrees. Brine — what a great learning experience!

Jim Hornung Jr., CSP
Elbers Landscape // Buffalo, NY
Peer Group Member since 2014

Why a peer group? I have been a part of a number of peer groups outside of the industry over the last 10 years and have always found them to be very beneficial. When the opportunity came up for an industry-specific group, I jumped on it because it allowed me access to peers all over the country who were keyed in on the challenges of running snow businesses. 

What have you learned? The biggest takeaway that I have gotten from our group was about the structure of our operations team. The group guided me into a more productive structure to coincide with the rapid growth of our business. Being able to get feedback from people who had been there before has been very beneficial. It also is a fantastic sounding board for equipment and technology purchases.

Tom Marsan
Beverly Snow & Ice // Markham, IL
Peer Group Member since 2016

Why a peer group? I wanted to create a relationship with other professionals to find solutions to challenges we face and share what we do well to help others overcome their challenges.

What have you learned? Everyone in the group has their own twist on how they operate, whether it is management structure, equipment utilized or materials/products used. We all have the same goals, and we can each learn from each other to implement ideas and processes that can contribute to becoming more successful. Having peers that you can bounce ideas off of and reach out to when facing challenges is very beneficial.

Learn more about the SIMA Member Peer Groups, including how to join, at

Phil Harwood, CSP, is the facilitator for the SIMA peer groups. Email him at

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