Jon’s Journey with SIMA: A 26+ Year Snow Industry Veteran
In the Snow & Ice Management industry, the importance of knowledge-sharing, best practices, and professional development cannot be overstated. Recognizing the need for collaboration, Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) was founded to provide a platform for contractors of all sizes to come together and elevate the industry. Jonathan Crandall, founder, and Chief Visionary of JC Grounds Management, has been an integral part of SIMA for the past six years, contributing his expertise and passion for the snow and ice management industry. In this article, we delve into Jon's insights on SIMA, his involvement, and the value this association brings to the industry.
1. What is SIMA?
The Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) is a non-profit trade association representing the professional snow and ice management industry. It was founded in 1996 by John Allen, Charles Glossop, Jeff Tovar, and others, and operated “out of John Allen’s garage”, with the vision of creating a peer-to-peer platform for contractors to connect, learn, and enhance their businesses. Originally a member-led organization, SIMA has since become a well-structured non-profit with a board of directors and dedicated professional staff.
SIMA's primary goal is to promote the importance and professionalism of snow and ice management through education, training, and networking opportunities. By improving the services offered by its members, SIMA aims to raise industry standards and enhance the overall quality of snow and ice management services.
2. What does SIMA offer?
SIMA offers various resources and programs to its members, including educational materials, certifications, industry research, and networking events. They provide educational training on topics like snow and ice removal techniques, business management, safety protocols, and equipment usage. The association also organizes conferences, webinars, and workshops where industry professionals can connect and exchange knowledge.
SIMA hosts several events throughout the year, including the flagship Snow & Ice Symposium, “for every size company to come together.” The Symposium, “a very good peer-to-peer environment”, brings together industry professionals from across the United States and Canada to share knowledge, discuss emerging trends, and showcase innovative tools and techniques. The symposium features a trade show, excellent educational sessions, and expert speakers, making it a valuable platform for all sizes of companies looking to enhance their operation, business knowledge, and expertise.
In addition to the symposium, SIMA organizes events such as the Leadership Forum, which focuses on “more long-term planning” and success for business owners and their leadership teams. They also offer regional pop-up events designed to educate and support new entrants to the industry. SIMA provides an array of online resources, including articles in their Snow Business Magazine, further supporting professional development within the industry.
3. Jonathan Crandall's Journey with SIMA:
Jon's involvement with SIMA began decades ago, attending events annually. Then, about ten years ago, he reached out to the organization expressing interest in becoming a board member. With his passion for the snow and ice management industry, Jon recognized the value of industry peer groups and believed SIMA offered a wonderful opportunity for professional growth. After showing enthusiasm and commitment, he was welcomed into the organization.
Over his six-year tenure on the board, Jon fulfilled various roles, including treasurer and board chair. Among the significant challenges faced during this period was the COVID-19 pandemic. Jon helped oversee in developing and executing catastrophic planning, working with the organization's staff to navigate the uncertainties and disruptions caused by the pandemic. Together, they were able to adapt quickly, pivoting to virtual events and finding innovative ways to deliver valuable insights and information to the industry. This collaborative effort, where the staff and board members came together as a team to overcome challenges and support the industry, showcased the resilience and dedication of the SIMA community. Their ability to successfully navigate through the crisis exemplifies the strength and solidarity within the organization, ensuring that members could continue to learn, connect, and grow even during uncertain times.
4. Changes Witnessed at SIMA:
The board has transitioned from an execution-focused group to a visionary and governance-focused entity. This shift has ensured an alignment between the vision of the organization and the strategic efforts of the professional staff. In recent years, the Leadership Forum and SIMA Foundation have been created, offering long-term planning perspectives for businesses within the industry.
5. The SIMA Experience:
One of Jon’s largest takeaways about his time with SIMA has been the relationships he has built and connections he has made within the industry – “I feel that this industry is very good at sharing.” “SIMA creates an ‘open arm’ type of environment.” SIMA attracts professionals who are eager to learn, share best practices, and collaborate, making it a vibrant community of industry leaders. Jon emphasizes the value of seeking out those who do things differently and actively learning from their experiences to enhance one's own business.
The snow and ice management industry stands out for its openness and willingness to share ideas and best practices. “Unlike other industries where companies might withhold what they perceive as trade secrets”, SIMA cultivates an “atmosphere of collaboration and mutual growth”. The “well-structured events” and “professionalism” showcased by SIMA have received high praise from attendees and speakers alike.
6. Takeaways from Jon’s SIMA Journey:
Turning his attention to the personal benefits gained from his involvement with SIMA, Jon highlights several takeaways:
- SIMA's impact on his “company and personal life” has been significant, “intertwining” both aspects closely.
- The relationships formed through SIMA have led to “long-lasting friendships and valuable connections” within the industry.
- By actively participating in SIMA, Jon has learned from his experiences and “gained insights from industry peers”, fostering personal and professional growth.
- The fulfillment derived from contributing towards the betterment of the industry and “helping others build successful businesses” is immeasurable.
In conclusion, Jon's most valuable message from his SIMA journey is the importance of asking for help, seeking knowledge, “reaching out to become better”, and fostering effective communication. By proactively reaching out, entrepreneurs and business owners within the snow and ice management industry can utilize the abundance of resources and tools offered by SIMA to achieve success and sustainable growth. With a commitment to long-term learning and improvement, any business can aspire to become a multi-million-dollar company and further legitimize the snow and ice management profession.