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June 20–23, 2017

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Education & Workshops

The Symposium offers a variety of educational and training opportunities to fit your needs.

Keynotes: High-quality, well-respected speakers focus on the big picture for 2016 attendees.

Workshops: A deeper, more meaningful educational experience.

Concurrent Sessions: Over 20 educational sessions occurring over 3 days.

Snack & Chats: The most popular networking and educational events in the industry.

Keynote Speakers

The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age  
Thursday, June 23 - 8:15–9:15am

Ben Casnocha (sponsored by WGS Salt)


The employer-employee relationship is broken. Managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: You can’t afford to offer lifetime employment. But you can’t build a lasting, innovative business when everyone acts like a free agent. The solution: Stop thinking of employees as family or free agents and start thinking of them as allies on a tour of duty.

Based on Ben’s recent New York Times bestselling book with Reid Hoffman, founder/chairman of LinkedIn, in this keynote he explains how to recruit, manage, and retain the entrepreneurial employees your business needs to succeed in the networked age.

Ben Casnocha is an award-winning entrepreneur and author from Silicon Valley. He is coauthor with Linkedin founder/chairman Reid Hoffman of the New York Times bestseller The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, which describes a new framework for managing today’s employees.

High Performance, Wellness and Happiness at the Speed of Life
Friday, June 24 - 8:00–9:30am

Dr. James Rouse (sponsored by Caterpillar, Inc.)


Dr. Rouse is committed to inspiring everyone to imagine and achieve the vibrant, high-performance lives we all deserve. Through leading-edge ideas, practical life strategies, and superior products, Rouse’s mission is to help guide all into a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Rouse currently resides in Evergreen, CO with his wife of over 20 years, Debra. However, he is a 5th generation Vermonter and knows the challenges that the snow and ice community is up against as he put himself through medical school by driving trucks and moving snow. With this first-hand knowledge,

he will deliver a keynote specifically geared towards our industry. Learn how proper sleep, nutrition and exercise regimens can be the most beneficial thing to get you through a storm. Dr. Rouse will also provide advice to CEOs and managers to help ignite health and wellness changes within your organization.

Dr. Rouse’s most recent book will be for sale following his session. In Think Eat Move Thrive, Dr. James Rouse and Dr. Debra Rouse offer a simple piece of advice that goes a long way: stop looking at your habits and body as obstacles and start looking within.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Wednesday, June 22nd | 8:30am - 12:30pm

Sustainable Salt Use Workshop


Snow and ice management professionals must meet the challenges of the next decade that relate to salt supply issues, environmental issues, higher expectations, and increased liability. The Sustainable Salt Use Workshop provides education based on science and practical knowledge to help empower contractors to use best practices

in salt reduction and maintain or improve service levels. Presenters will focus on best practices in salt management and data tracking, managing deicing materials efficiently, how to conduct a company-specific assessment for liquids needs, and understanding implementation techniques for reducing salt use.

Upon completion, attendees will receive a certificate of completion for Sustainable Salt Use from SIMA.

Wednesday, June 22nd | 8:30am - 12:30pm

Equipment Safety and Maintenance Best Practices Workshop


Suppliers, manufacturers, SIMA and its partners will host 15- to 20-minute sessions that focus on equipment safety and maintenance best practices. Product specifics may be discussed.

Topics include:

  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) management: How to store it and how it can it hurt your machine.
  • Regeneration: What does an operator need to know and do?
  • Tires: Managing traction on a rubber-tired machine.
  • Daily maintenance: Preventive maintenance checks and services.
  • Equipment operating techniques: Tips, techniques, and procedures by machine type.
  • Fuel & hydraulic management: How is fuel efficiency obtained, what role does hydraulics play in fuel management.
  • Cold weather management: Starting and shutdown procedures for hydraulics and diesel engines.
  • Lifecycle cost analysis: How to determine your most cost-effective option for equipment.
Wednesday, June 22nd | 8:30 - 11:30am

Parking Deck Operations Workshop


You may be excited to book that new, unique business when an existing or new client wants you to service their parking deck. However, there are many considerations to acknowledge and research before signing the contract. During this workshop, attendees will learn how to evaluate a parking deck, determine what equipment is needed, and understand the liabilities involved in this niche market.

There will be a focus on the challenges of using deicing materials and the structural impact of stacked snow on rooftop decks.

This session will be classroom style learning and discussion.

The pre-conference workshops are separate ticketed events and are only available to full registrants. Attendees can only select and attend one workshop.

Additional fee applies—see registration fees. Registration is limited, so please register early!

Educational Sessions

SIMA concurrent sessions are 75 to 90 minute educational sessions held at the Symposium, Wednesday through Friday. 

Scroll down or select a day from the menu.

Wednesday, June 22nd | 2:00-3:30pm

Five Components of a Rock Solid Training Program

Successful training programs aren't just for teaching new employees how to do their job. A successful, ongoing training program is key to your ability to scale and grow. Mike will share the five key components you need to build a training program that will engage your employees, boost morale and teamwork, and increase customer satisfaction. He will share tips and insights on how to start your training program and keep your employees engaged in the process.

How to Gain a Competitive Edge with GPS

  • Matt Deloge - GPS Fleet Consulting
  • Mike Ogilvie - Skinner Overlook Landscape & Design

The use of GPS technology in snow and ice management is critical for a “best-in-class” snow operation. GPS technology can empower your company to be more efficient and better at risk management. Researching, investing, and implementing a GPS program can be overwhelming. This session will break it down into areas of use and help you evaluate this flexible technology effectively.

Producing, Selling and Applying Salt Brine


Join industry peers as they discuss how to produce, apply and sell salt brine. Ben, Bill and Eric are contractors who do this in their business at different levels. They will share their expertise for 25,000- to 500,000-gallon solutions. Learn how salt brine has given them the ability to increase sales, reduce expenses, gain customers and become more efficient.

Leave Your Competition in the Drifts...With Technology in Snow & Ice


TBG Landscape has been a fixture on the Top 100 list for several years thanks in part to its achievements in industry leading productivity.  Mark will share his methods for increasing the velocity of TBG’s jobs and the productivity of its team. Join Mark for a case study of how TBG does 3 million in snow with absolutely NO PAPER!

Winter Worker Injury Prevention: Complexity or Common Sense?


In the midst of a snow or ice event, preventing worker injuries often becomes a lesser priority than providing prompt service to customers, keeping equipment running, or ensuring an adequate supply of deicing product. Unfortunately, worker injuries may have more of a negative impact on productivity than any other variable, making injury prevention a prime topic of concern for management and staff.

Wednesday, June 22nd | 4:00-5:30pm

Winning in the Workplace

The overall quality of your life, personal and professional, is determined by the quality of your relationships. Skilled communication, along with an awareness of your relational intelligence, determines the success of those important relationships. As you master communication and relational skills there is a "spillover effect": A relationally intelligent coworker is also a relationally intelligent leader who is a relationally intelligent mother, father, spouse and friend. The end result: everyone in your life will benefit — especially you. Learn how to get along and get things done by Winning in the Workplace.

Safety is The Bottom Line


  • John Janes - Caterpillar Inc.

Safety pays huge dividends in the health of your employees, their morale  and your bottom line.  We will look at specific techniques to implement safety improvements and review available data from OSHA on how much on the job injuries cost

Advanced Contractual Issues in Snow and Ice


Managing risk and liability is becoming a defining factor for surviving long term in the snow industry. Most professional snow services understand and manage the basics tied to contract language, but with growth, comes challenge. Join our speakers as they discuss from multiple viewpoints some advanced legal issues such as deicing material limits and caps in contracts, hauling and snow relocation, and specialty services like roof raking, roof removal, ice wash and more.

Three Processes that Guarantee More Profits and More Free Time


Creating an easy to understand, easy to implement, streamlined documentation process that everyone in your organization can follow will give companies more profits and more free time. Let the systems run the company and the employees run the systems. This will give employees more free time to make things happen when your clients expected them to happen, which is critical to securing ongoing or repeat business.

Liquids - The Next Level


This education is an extension from last year’s Liquids 101 and 201 sessions. It is designed for small to medium-sized snow contractors who have begun using liquids . Led by liquids experts Shannon Shaw, ASM and Scott Zorno, CSP, this session will continue the discussion with topics including sales and marketing tips, pricing techniques, liquids selection, how much equipment to buy, production rates and more.

Thursday, June 23rd | 9:45-11:15am

Lessons Learned in 30 Years


Being an owner, manager or leader in a business is a phenomenal opportunity and experience! It is a role that is often invigorating, exciting and extremely rewarding; but it can also be intense, challenging, exhausting and overwhelming. Industry entrepreneur and veteran Dan Foley will share lessons learned from his 30 years of experience in the industry. Dan will discuss concepts, strategies and actionable tactics that can be used to achieve success in business and in life.

Principles of Risk Management for Hiring Subcontractors


A key way to grow in snow without locking up a great deal of capital in equipment and labor is to utilize subcontractors. But managing subs is not risk free, and any snow contractor who hires a sub needs to understand the legal issues that can arise. If you don't, you could put your company at risk. Darryl will walk attendees through the legal ramifications of hiring subs, including managing the work, insurance, and subcontractor agreements.

National Salt Efficiency and Environmental Review Panel


In Flint, MI, chlorides were recently cited as a possible contributor to the degradation of plumbing systems in the city. In Lake George, NY, chloride levels have tripled since 1981, triggering a grassroots local movement to begin countering the increase. Chloride levels in groundwater and surface water across the US are beginning to tell the story of the rise of deicing chemicals as snow-fighting tools. Across the US and Canada, state and local governments are beginning to take action to mitigate these trends. This panel will feature stories and case studies from programs that are helping government and private business understand the issue. This panel is designed to be informative and open, with time for contractors to ask questions about how they can be more efficient in their usage of deicing materials while protecting themselves legally and financially.

Pull Over - You're Under Arrest for Snow Plowing?


We all know safety isn't sexy but neither are hospitals, courtrooms or prisons. The snow and ice management business is inherently dangerous, and the last thing that you want to do is compound these dangers by your actions or inactions. Cutting corners when it comes to safety and regulations can cost you a fortune, including your freedom. As business owners it is your responsibility to do everything possible to protect your assets, employees, the general public and yourself. Reflecting on his many years in police investigation, Patrick will share stories and discuss common, yet illegal activities being practiced. He will also share how to avoid time-consuming, expensive and sometimes, horrifying outcomes.

Sales & Marketing: Are You Doing it Wrong?


Wondering why some of your sales opportunities seem to go nowhere? Frustrated because you are having trouble finding new opportunities? Perhaps you just need ways to differentiate yourself from your competition. Join Michael Nelson as he discusses what your sales and marketing process is missing, what prospecting activities actually work, and more!

Friday, June 24th | 2:00-3:15pm

The CARE Leadership Act


This presentation gives a clear road map to building and sustaining a Culture of CARE within your organization. This program speaks to leaders at all levels. Whether you are a business owner, a team leader or a new hire looking to contribute to the team, it's all about the culture. Principles van Stralen will teach — from Create a Remarkable Experience to Be Humble to Listen Well and Communicate with Respect — move leaders one step closer to creating a team that is competent, fun, fulfilled, engaged, and committed to giving customers the best service possible.

Anatomy of a Slip and Fall


  • Deb Mattson, CSP - B&W Paving & Landscaping, Inc.
  • Mike Dunn - Smith Brothers Insurance, LLC
Managing a slip and fall claim is an essential piece of the challenge in snow and ice these days. Often times, a snow contractor feels helpless when it comes to the overall process of managing slip and fall liability. This session is designed to break down the core areas related to a slip and fall claim, including:

  • Proactive actions tied to insurance and contracts that can help manage slip and fall liability
  • Notification of a claim - steps to immediately take as a contractor once you are served
  • Claim management and communication - identifying the key insurance and legal contacts that you must stay in touch with regarding a claim
  • Settlement - understanding the decision-making process and why most are settled 
  • Getting grilled - preparation tips for depositions and court appearances

Taming the E-mail Beast: Key Strategies for Managing Your Email Overload


  • Randy Dean - The Email Sanity Expert™

We live in a world with far too many inputs, distractions, and e-mails.  And too many professionals are struggling to keep up, feeling helpless as they lose control of their inbox.  In this program, Randy Dean, MBA, will teach you strategies for better managing your e-mail overload, including strategies for better prioritizing incoming e-mails, converting e-mails into calendar, task, and/or contact items, reducing e-mail distraction, and automating certain e-mail actions for better efficiency.  He'll also show a handy strategy for automating some of your outgoing e-mails, and even discuss better management of CC's, forwards, replies, and "FYI's".  Attendees to this session walk out with tangible skills and techniques for gaining efficiency and productivity with e-mail, with specific technology demonstrations provided in the two market-leading software programs:  MS Outlook and Gmail (although users of just about any e-mail software tool will benefit!)

Social Media 301: Tips and Tools for Attracting Customers and Potential Staff


Social media continues to evolve at a rapid pace and one thing is certain: it is #notgoingaway.
Do you have a strong social media program and policy in place? Your competitors might; and, even more importantly, your customers are likely watching your online presence — or lack thereof.

Salt Purchasing and Inventory Management


The past few snow seasons have tested the limits of salt supplies across North America. This session will focus on real-life tools and tips to help manage salt and deicing material inventory more effectively, with a focus on the following:

  • Financial management and impact on the company
  • Purchase forecasting for contractors
  • Best practice for minimum amount of deicing material 'in-stock'
  • Salt sourcing and research
  • Liquids and bagged material management and supply

Friday, June 24th | 3:45-5:00pm

Employee Recruiting Success Stories


Let's face it, in this day and age, fewer people want to get up at 3 a.m. to shovel or plow snow. The work is hard, it can be tedious, and the hours are less than ideal. Successful employee recruitment must be a core focus for a growing contractor; and leveraging referral programs, word of mouth, and recruiting techniques becomes an essential function that must be constantly managed. Our speakers will share information about real-world referral, bonus, and recruiting methods that have worked for them.

Using Standardized Terms to Improve Snow Estimating


Estimating in snow and ice is challenging enough. When you and your potential customers aren't speaking the same language, it can be close to impossible. Use this session to hone in on the core terms and areas that will help improve the estimating process, including:

  • Build a framework for your market to see where your company fits
  • Understand the level of service required for a client
  • Use a process of resource allocation to build a better snow portfolio
  • Standardize the services you bill for and provide definitions to customers that are clear and concise

Why Documentation is the Key to Success


  • Ian Ashby - Arbutus Landscaping Inc.
  • Wayne Michalak, CSP - The Greener Side
  • Andy Barker - B&B Group, Inc.

Managing the billing and legal aspects of service is always a challenge. However, having proper documentation can keep you out of legal trouble, and can even be viewed as a major differentiator for your company. Hear from experienced snow and ice company owners as they discuss the technology and processes they use in their own companies, and get some insight into how to manage these challenges for long term success.

Prepping and Maintaining Your Equipment for Harsh Winter Work


Construction equipment — from wheel loaders to skid steers — is an invaluable tool for snow removal applications. Maintaining equipment during the winter and making it productive in that environment requires greater attention, and in some cases, added features and accessories. This presentation will discuss some of those considerations, and how popular machines in this application can be outfitted for greater success.

Finding an Extra Hour Every Day: Top Management Tips for Busy Managers and Leaders


  • Randy Dean - The Email Sanity Expert™

In this popular program on “finding an extra hour of productivity” every day, Randy Dean, the “Totally Obsessed” Time Management/E-mail Guy uses humor and high energy as he goes into many of the most common areas of productivity loss (and possible gain!) afflicting many busy professionals today:  managing multiple projects, maintaining “traction” when dealing with tasks and interruptions, clearing the clutter in your mind for better focus and attention, keeping staff on task, tracking “who owes you what” and getting that information on time, and better managing your calendar and contacts for better time and relationship management.  His goal is to help stressed out performers learn several new and immediately useful strategies for finding a few minutes on tasks, activities, and actions you are already doing, leading to at least an extra hour of productivity every day.

Snack & Chats

The most popular items at the show are back! Topics include Contracts, Service Verification, Managing a Snow Portfolio, Insurance Management, Dealing with a Slip & Fall, Snow Safety Policies & Training, Salt Purchasing, Sustainability, and many more.

Thursday, June 23rd | 11:30am-12:45pm

Snack and Chat Lunch (sponsored by Landscape Management Network)


Discuss some of the most current, interesting, and relevant topics for the snow & ice management professional in a casual networking environment. Grab lunch (provided) and join fellow colleagues at the first of two roundtable Snack & Chats to network with people who want to discuss the same issues as you.

Available only to attendees with Full Registration or Thursday Day Pass.

Friday, June 24th | 12:45-1:45pm

Snack and Chat Lunch (sponsored by The Weather Pros)


Discuss some of the most current, interesting, and relevant topics for the snow & ice management professional in a casual networking environment. Grab lunch (provided) and join fellow colleagues at the final roundtable Snack & Chat to network with people who want to discuss the same issues as you.

Available only to attendees with Full Registration or Friday Day Pass.

2017 Symposium Sponsors

Thank you to all our 2016 Symposium sponsors!


Explore exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities for Symposium 2017