How many other professions work on-demand in response to the weather 24/7? Who else has a career where they’re expected to correctly handle all types of snow and ice events hours before they happen? Based off of weather predictions with outcomes that directly affect the public safety? What other industry can you find that’s extremely litigious yet largely unregulated where education is scarce?
I’m hooked on an industry where it’s undeniably difficult to be successful. Most of society deems our profession as simple: when it snows, you just go out, plow and when you’re done you go home and go to bed. Some days, I question my sanity, but I can’t shake it. And most people in the industry that I talk to are the same.
When I was growing up, I had no thoughts of becoming a snow and ice professional. My father has built and run a self-performing commercial snow and ice management company in the Chicago market for over 40 years. And although I knew nothing else than for my family’s life to revolve around snow, I went to college and became a high school math teacher. It wasn’t until I was 24, when my father asked me if I wanted to join the company full time with the intention of eventually taking over that I ever contemplated “plowing snow” for a living. I quickly realized that snow was my family’s legacy and continuing it was something I needed to do. Here I am, 13 years later alongside my sister — who also felt the same compulsion to leave her law degree to work on the family legacy.
In my experience, the snow and ice industry can make a person or a company feel fairly isolated. At least I felt that way in the beginning. And that is where SIMA has become very valuable to us. In our 10 years or so of membership and involvement, we have met contractors all over the country who we have learned from and shared ideas with. The industry is no longer an island to us and has given us peace of mind that we aren’t alone. In an industry that can often leave one thinking, “Am I crazy for doing this?” that is very valuable.
To that point, I want to stress that SIMA is for its members. Without our members, we don’t exist. The SIMA staff is working very diligently on cool new projects to help drive our vision and mission. The board of directors, on which I currently have the privilege to serve as chair, is made up of contractors and suppliers who face the same issues as our members and are working toward developing SIMA into the greatest industry asset it can be.
Thus, we always want to know how we can best serve our members. And I mean that. We want to hear from you! We want to make this crazy industry in which we work and dedicate our lives as sustainable and rewarding as it can be.
Laura Ingram, CSP, is director of operations for Ingram Enterprises and chair of the SIMA Board of Directors. Contact her at Laura@ingramenterprisesinc.com.