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June 20–23, 2017

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2016 Concurrent Session Speakers

Mary Abbott, PhD, RN, MS-Ag, is the managing partner of Mow Beta! Mowing & Snowplowing, a family-owned business specializing in tough mowing jobs as well as snow and ice management in central Arkansas.  Mary has been in the snow and ice management business for 9 years, having started as a snowplow operator in southern Illinois.  She has also been a Registered Nurse for almost 40 years with the bulk of her nursing experience in critical care and continues to work part-time as an ICU nurse as well as a university nursing instructor.  Her work as a nurse has allowed her to develop a keen appreciation for the importance of safe working habits, particularly in challenging occupations such as forestry or snow and ice management.  Mary has a PhD in Nursing and a Master of Science degree in Urban Forestry.  Additionally, she is a retired military veteran, with service in both the U.S. Air Force and Navy that included a 14-month tour in Afghanistan. 

Ben graduated from High School in 2007. The same year he started Skyline Sweeping Inc., a parking lot sweeping and power washing business. He graduated from Clarke University in 2015 with his BS Degree in Business with an emphasis in Finance. Along with his Sweeping business, he is a managing partner in Skyline Construction which has been heavily involved in the snow and ice management business since 2000. After his first visit to SIMA in 2013, his interest in liquids and treated salt grew to what now is a focal point of Skyline’s risk management services. He promotes the treated salt and pretreat liquids in his sales calls with both existing and future clients for bulk salt. He continues to be involved in the bulk salt sales division of Skyline which is growing rapidly.

Ian Ashby is a 15 year founder, owner and general manager of Arbutus Landscaping Inc. He has been a member of SIMA for 8 years where he has served 6 years on the education committee and 4 years on SAG Advisory group. He is also a 5 year director of LANTA (Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association) and has served 3 years on membersip committee of CNLA (Canadian Nursery Landscape Association).

In 2013, Ian was named SIMA's Volunteer of the year.

Andy Barker is the founder and President of B&B Group, Inc. located in Indianapolis, IN. In the snow business we believe that you either lead, follow, or become obsolete. B&B Group has been leading the central Indiana market for 25 years, by providing snow and ice management to high demand clients in 4 key market segments: Medical, Industrial, Office, and Retail. In order to deliver consistent results to hundreds of properties, we utilize proven processes executed by a dedicated team of highly trained professionals. We believe that no two events are the same, but the results should be.

Darryl Beckman is the Managing Partner of Beckman Ogozalek Paglione Londar. Darryl’s legal practice is focused extensively on insurance defense, yet multi-faceted. In addition to his defense of civil litigation through regional and national insurance carriers, Darryl provides direct representation and serves in an outside general counsel capacity to industry leading retailers and landscaping/snow and ice management companies. Mr. Beckman also lectures throughout the country on liability issues regarding insurance claims and coverage, premises lawsuits and ongoing challenges facing the snow and ice industry, including securing appropriate insurance coverage, contract drafting, defense and indemnification, use of subcontractors, and avoiding liability.

Leslie Boomer is part of the Pro-Motion Consulting Inc. team. Her role is focused on the areas of leadership and strengths-based management - individual career and cohesive team development.

Leslie joined Pro-Motion as a 19-year veteran of the trade publishing industry where she spent more than half of those years serving the landscape and snow removal industries. Most recently in this role she was the Publisher of Snow Business magazine, the official publication of the Snow & Ice Management Association. 
In 2013, Leslie was certified by the Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management as an Executive Coach.  In 2014 Leslie became a Gallup® Certified Strengths Coach, one of the first 200 coaches in the US to complete this certification.


Mark founded TBG Landscape out of his backyard 18 years ago.  Since then, TBG has won many Awards of Excellence for its innovative design-build work and has also grown to be one of the Top 100 landscape contractors in North America. 

Based on TBG’s solid reputation in the landscape industry, Mark was able to start two additional adventures where he is CEO of TBG Environmental and TBG Logistics.  This combination provides a fully integrated premier package for environmental, site development and transportation projects in Ontario, Canada. 

In addition to founding the TBG Group of Companies, Mark established LMN in 2009, now the industry’s most popular landscape estimating and timekeeping software.

For more than 27 years,  Domenic has served as the Director of Operations and Business Development at Ultimate Services Professional Grounds Management.  The organization grew from annual revenues of $750,000 to a growth of $15,000,000 in less than 10 years.
In 2011, Domenic made the leap from Business Owner to Coach and Business Developer with his organization 7 of 7 BEST Business and Life Strategies.  Domenic created one of the fastest ways to grow your business with The Millionaire Mastery Workshops and Online 3 Month Mentoring Programs.  
These Programs allows small business owners grow their companies with more profits and more free time.

Diana Clonch has over 30 years of experience in public works with a diverse background in operations and management and snow and ice control at the county, city and state levels.  Diana has spent many years working with local and national groups promoting the advancement and application of best practices and innovative technology within operations and snow and ice control. Since retiring from the public works system in 2012, Diana has been providing consulting services focusing on management, operations, snow and ice control training, and innovative technologies.  Diana holds an Associate degree in Civil Engineering, and an undergraduate and Master’s in Business.  Diana is the current past President for the Ohio Chapter American Public Works Association State Board and an active member of SIMA.

Andrew is a Brand Marketing Manager with CASE Construction Equipment (Racine, Wis.), where he’s responsible for the company’s wheel loader product line. Dargatz spent many hours behind the plow as he oversaw operations for Superior Landscape & Supply, a Wisconsin-based landscape installation and supply company that had a fleet of trucks, wheel loaders and skid steers dedicated to snow removal. He joined the CASE family in 2007 as a sales manager for CNH Capital, and has since held roles in Dealer Development and Brand Marketing. Dargatz is a 2003 graduate of Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis.

Ted Diers
Ted Diers is the Administrator of the Watershed Management Bureau (WMB) of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.   The WMB includes 20 programs dedicated to achieving Clean Water Act goals:  integrating science, data, policy and education to improve the condition of the state’s lakes, rivers, wetlands and tidal waters.  He previously served as manager of the NH Coastal Program, the state’s coastal zone management program.  Over the past 19 years, he has focused his work on state and federal ocean policy, salt marsh and river restoration projects, assisting in revisions of state regulations, managing controversial and diverse issues, and facilitating numerous planning efforts.   He received his BA in Economics and Political Science from Ripon College.  He also earned a Masters Degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Matt graduated cum laude from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire in 2004. Immediately after graduating he began what would become an 8 year career with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. During his time at Enterprise, Matt learned many important facets of managing and growing a business unit while focusing on cost control and employee development. He learned that providing top notch customer service and delivering on promised value is what enables business growth with a solid foundation. After 8 successful years, Matt decided to join forces with GPS Fleet Consulting to get in on one of the fastest growing technology markets in the country. GPS Fleet Consulting is a well established firm with almost 10 years of business growth. Matt has spent much of his 3 ½ years focused on expanding his products into the snow and ice/landscaping industry. Using his business experience, he is able to assist clients in taking the valuable metrics and visibility provided by the GPS system and convert that data into measurable performance improvements and increased efficiencies.

With over 30 years in the Landscape/Snow Industry as an owner/operator of Classic Landscape in Edison, NJ, and 27 years as a Police Officer for the Port Authority of NY and NJ, Pat Donovan possesses a unique perspective as both contractor and police officer. As a Police Officer, Pat was assigned to an Emergency Services Unit in Staten Island and received a myriad of training throughout his career. Most notable, certified “Fatal Crash Investigator” from North Western University and NJ Certified Weigh Master. On the Landscape side, his credentials include; Licensed NJ Home Improvement Contractor, Licensed NJ Pesticide Applicator, Licensed NJ Pesticide Business, Licensed NJ Plant Dealer, Licensed NJ Fertilizer Applicator, OSHA 40 hour HAZWOPER Certified, National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Certified, ICPI Certified, NCMA Certified, Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional, Class A CDL Operators License, NJ Transit Rail Safety Certified, member of NJLCA, SIMA, NALP and contributing writer for the Gardener News. 

Dan is President of DHCC Management Corporation. Dan started his own company (D. Foley Landscape), when he was sophomore at Babson College in Massachusetts. He earned a business degree from Babson and studied Horticulture at Massachusetts Bay Community College.  For 22 years, he served as founder and President of both D. Foley Landscape, Inc., a full service landscape/snow management firm and also CampusCare, which specialized in providing exterior services for private educational facilities. 

In 2009, he sold both brands to The Brickman Group, and then served as the Vice President of the New England Region at Brickman. He is a Past President of the Massachusetts Landscape Professionals (MLP) and PLANET (now NALP).  He is also a past recipient of MLP’s prestigious Beacon Award.  Other awards include: the Philip Charm Prize Business Plan Competition at Babson College; Lawn & Landscape National Leadership Award; Inc. 5000 award (in 2008) for fastest growing private companies in America; and the Lifetime Leadership Award from NALP (in 2015).

Connie started Fortin Consulting in 1996. She has a B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College in Biology and Computer Science. She has a Master’s degree from the College of St. Thomas in Software Design and Development. In 1996, Connie left the software world to put her energy into protecting the environment. Connie enjoys finding ways to facilitate change that is practical as well as progressive. She is good at taking technical and scientific information and simplifying it so that it is understandable for those maintenance work.  She has used her expertise to create manuals, training videos and other curricula materials for state-wide and national audiences.

Neal is the Account Executive at Case Snow Management, Inc. where he leads a sale team prospecting and soliciting new business, actively strengthening client relationships, and serving as the primary liaison between clients and field personnel. Neal regularly authors articles on the sales process and account management best practices for industry magazines and has spoken to international audiences to share his expertise.  Neal is actively involved with SIMA where he volunteers on the education committee.

Neal earned bachelor’s degrees in marketing and Spanish from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI. He was named a 2010 All-Star of Snow and Ice and was the recipient of SIMA’s 2011 Employee of the Year Award.

Eric Hitzfield is President/Owner of ES De-icing, Inc. and Hitzfield Landscaping, Inc. located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Eric has 30 years of experience in the snow removal and deicing industry. His landscape company specializes in large property snow removal. Properties he has managed in the past include the largest General Motors Truck Plant in North America. He is currently managing the largest Medical Facility in Fort Wayne, IN. ES De-icing, Inc. provides deicing products that range from basic materials to advance deicing products to cover our customer’s needs. Currently ES De-icing is producing products for contractors and governmental units; as well as distributing our product nationally through Do it Best Hardware stores for residential use.

John is the Caterpillar liaison to SIMA and the snow contractor industry.  He has been with Caterpillar since 2002 and has earned the CSP certification and ASM designation. John holds degrees in engineering and business from NC State University and Duke University and has been awarded three patents by the US Patent & Trademark Office. John is retired from the US Military.

John Parker has been in the snow and ice management industry for over 20 years as a consultant, commercial snow contractor and liquid ice melt manufacturer. John has provided specialized training in the use, production and application of liquids in the United States, Canada, Eastern Europe, South Korea, Ireland and England. As one of the original board of governor members he played an integral part in developing the CSP or Certified Snow Professional program.  John initially started using anti icing liquids in his commercial snow removal business 19 years ago. He has since developed application programs and techniques designed for both the contractor and municipal markets today. 

A graduate of Canisius College and the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership & Strategic Entrepreneurship, Jim Hornung Jr. was named Volunteer of the Year in 2008 by the Snow & Ice Management Association, where he previously served as Board Chair. Jim serves as the President of both of his family's company's; Elbers Landscape Service & Great Lakes Athletic Fields.

Since 1919 Elbers Landscape Service, Inc. has provided landscaping and snow and ice management services to residential and commercial customers throughout Western New York.

Michael R. Nelson is the CEO of Grey Matter Strategies, a growth strategy firm in upstate NY.  “Some say that growing a business is conceptually simple, I believe this to be true.  It really comes down to working on one of three problems:  People, Process and Revenue.”  Currently Michael applies this formula for fixing businesses with a highly talented team of creatives, marketers, and business strategists.  Their sole purpose is to help their clients work through the three problems and grow their business beyond what is has ever been before.

Michael has owned and operated successful businesses across multiple industries, including one which he built up to a successful level before selling.  He was an award winning sales professional for a worldwide sales training organization, he is an experienced speaker, coach, and consultant.  Michael also spent two very successful years selling commercial snow and ice services for North Country Snow and Ice Management in Glens Falls, NY.

Deb Mattson is a Certified Snow Professional and highly experienced risk manager in snow and ice. She has an educational background in business management, with a certificate in insurance management. Before, moving into the Snow industry, she was Director of Operations for a disaster recovery firm for 5 years working in claims processing and dealing specifically with insurance claims.  She then spent 9 years as an operations Manager for a Mystic Snow removal company,

Deb currently serves on SIMA's Board of Directors and is the Snow Manager for B&W Paving & Landscaping, LLC based in Waterford, CT.

Wayne is a lifelong resident of the Dearborn, MI area.  His business career started at the age of 10 when he began towing his parent’s lawn mower down the street behind his bike to mow a couple of lawns.  Today his company, The Greener Side Inc. services 180 high-end commercial accounts and utilizes over 100 contractors and employees.  He is a husband and father of 3 wonderful kids ranging in age from 7 to 11.  He is currently a Deacon at his church.  Wayne enjoys downhill skiing, boating on the Great Lakes, running marathons and camping trips on his motorcycle.

Mike started with The LawnPro in 1995 after earning his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Louisville. He learned landscape management from the ground up, and in 2000, became Chief Operations Officer. He is licensed by the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture, and is a Certified Snow Professional (CSP). He also served as SIMA's Chair in (year). Mike’s favorite parts of the business are building strong commercial relationships, and working outdoors.

Bill is the Owner of Minor & Company in Louisville, KY. In 1997, Bill started with one truck. Today, Minor & Company has 14, and Bill has earned the Certified Snow Professional designation offered by SIMA.

Minor’s clients range from large national retailers, office parks and condominium complexes. Well-known, blue chip organizations trust Minor & Company to keep their traffic ways safe and clear. His employees are dedicated snow professionals who realize the importance of safety, reduced liability and a job well done.

Chris has been the Lake George Waterkeeper for over ten years; a program initiated by the Fund for Lake George in 2002. The Lake George Waterkeeper program utilizes engineering and science based approach to defend the natural public resources of Lake George and its basin for the common good of the watershed and community. Chris has been recognized as the 2005 Conservationist of the Year by the Adirondack Council and has been featured in publications such as Adirondack Life. Chris is a graduate from the SUNY - College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University in environmental engineering and a licensed Professional Engineer in New York and Pennsylvania. Prior to becoming the Waterkeeper, Chris worked for 16 years in consulting engineering focused on site development and municipal engineering with strengths in wastewater design, stormwater management and erosion control. The Lake George Waterkeeper is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance which has over 175 waterkeepers protecting waterbodies around the world.

Mike is the Director of Operations for Skinner Overlook Landscape and Design, a full service landscape maintenance and snow removal service provider for high end residential communities and commercial properties in the greater Boston area.  In his current role at Skinner Overlook, Mike oversees the daily operations for the landscape maintenance department and all snow removal services for their entire portfolio of customers.  By integrating technology and the use of GPS monitoring throughout the company, Mike has been able to improve the reliability of services and increase company profits.  This technology has proven effective in defending risks and liability, especially in snow removal services.  Mike earned his Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Rhode Island and has 17 years of experience in landscaping and snow removal services. 

Raqib Omer is the CEO of Viaesys Technologies and also serves as a Research Associate at the ITSS Lab at the University of Waterloo. With an Undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Transportation, Raqib has led many projects related to automated data acquisition, evaluation of equipment, comparison of snow and ice control methods and materials and process optimization. He is also the manager of SICOPS (Snow and Ice Control of Parking Lots and Sidewalks), a four year research at the University of Waterloo aimed towards developing standards for winter maintenance of parking lots and sidewalks. He has completed various projects with a number of government and private organizations including MTO, Metrolinx, OGRA, Transfield and others.

Kent Peddie owns and operates Precision Snow Removal in Ottawa, Ontario. Precision specializes in clearing tight and awkward residential, condominium and small commercial properties in Ottawa's downtown core neighbourhoods. To accomplish this difficult task Precision utilizes a fleet of 20 skid-steer loaders as well as tractors and mini plow trucks. In an effort to staff this more unusual market Kent has implemented some creative employee recruitment, training and retention tools and strategies.

Alex is a serial entrepreneur. He was selected as member of Crain’s “20 in their 20s” in 2013 and was awarded the Michigan "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2015 for his role as Chief Executive Officer at MeritHall, a company that provides resource management and operational support to landscape and snow removal contractors throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Alex is a licensed Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Certified Staffing Professional (CSP), and holds numerous certifications and designations in the landscaping and snow removal industries including Certified Snow Professional (CSP), and Advanced Snow Manager (ASM).

Mike Rorie has been involved in commercial grounds management for over thirty years. He began his Cincinnati-based commercial maintenance company in 1979 with one truck, and grew it to a multi-branch, regional platform before selling to a national provider in 2006. He now serves as CEO of Go iLawn, an online measuring program designed to help landscaping and snow removal contractors measure more properties, bid more jobs and win more sales.

Garrett Smith is the ideal hybrid of analyst, business developer and marketer, with rich B2B sales experience and deep expertise in how the Internet allows businesses to find, acquire and maintain customers. Prior to starting Pitch + Pivot, Garrett was a driving force behind the success of VoIP Supply, an industry leading ecommerce company, where he led the marketing, business development and sales efforts that grew the company from $2.5 million in sales in 2004 to $24 million in revenue and over 130,000 worldwide customers in 2013.  Garrett is the author of 8 different guides to the VoIP industry that have been read by over 50,000 customers, has been named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in the VoIP industry and created two of the telecommunications industry’s most frequented blogs, the VoIP Insider and Smith on VoIP.

With over 20 years of business success to his credit, Peter is a certified franchise executive and the 2014 recipient of the Premier’s award for business.  Peter is passionate about sharing the culture of C.A.R.E. by teaching the principles of C.A.R.E. Leadership. He and his company were recently featured on the hit TV show “Be The Boss Canada” and he is the author of the book “CARE Leadership” which shares the extraordinary story of how the ten van Stralen Brothers built The Grounds Guys® from the ground up. In his session Peter shares how eight simple but powerful leadership principles helped The Grounds Guys® grow from a small startup to a multi-million dollar multinational brand. In his spare time Peter can be found fishing with his kids or conquering the local hills on his mountain bike.

While earning a Business Administration Degree with a minor in Entrepreneurship at Eureka College, Jim Turcan, CLT, CSP, started his professional Landscape and Snow/Ice career as a landscape maintenance Crew Member and Snow Laborer.  Turk quickly advanced to Crew Foreman and Crew Superintendent managing 60+ Maintenance, Snow/Ice, Irrigation and Water Foreman.  His dedication to his crews and client satisfaction enabled for a successful transition into Account Management and establishing a new service territory as a Branch Manager.  After 14 years of service, Turk founded Cornerstone Partners Horticultural Services Company in 2006.  "It's the little things done exceptionally well that make the big difference," which has become CPHort’s motto and continues to be the Cornerstone of our foundation. Controlled growth, with over 70% of new business relationships being generated from satisfied client referrals, has enabled CPHort to expand its service area throughout Suburban Chicago including properties located within the City of Chicago, Wisconsin and Indiana.  Today, Turk serves as President of CPHort and continues to be an active member of various SIMA committees.

Scott Zorno founded the company that became Care Enterprises Snow and Ice Management , while in college in 1974. With over 40 years of snow experience, and 14 years of liquid anti-icing and deicing experience in a high snowfall market, Scott brings a depth of experience and a genuine understanding of the smaller contractor to the symposium. Scott joined the SIMA in 2001, and in 2009 earned their highest certification of Certified Snow Professional (CSP).