The advancements in the snow and ice management industry over the past 20+ years have been nothing short of amazing and remarkable. I have had a hand in, and participated in — along with bearing witness to — some of the most important steps taken by those who want nothing more than to see, what was, a fragmented and unsophisticated group of individuals who did their best to make sites safe for those who use them. I am fortunate to have lived long enough to be a part of the industry’s growth from adolescence, through the teen years and into early maturity. Clients and customers, too, are growing in sophistication when it comes to being specifiers and purchasers of those services offered by those who choose to work in the snow and ice management industry. It has been marvelous to watch, and, at times, participate in these events.
As I have publicly stated on more than one occasion, it is my opinion that the vast majority of the advancements over the last 20 years have come as a result of the various publications dedicated to educating and enlightening those who attack the winter elements in the name of mitigating risk. The advancements in equipment, technology and research stem from contractors becoming educated about their chosen profession.
And so, I am fortunate to witness the birth of an idea that has matriculated into a well thought out, well researched and well executed educational opportunity. Starting small, without overreaching or overextending resources, this publication will endeavor to fill gaps in the continuing education of all facets of the snow management industry. Not just for contractors, but also for those who serve the general public by keeping roads safe and those in-house, on-site institutional operations tasked with keeping the hundreds and thousands of patrons of their institutions.
As I have repeatedly stated, those who fight snow are no longer plow jockeys. We are risk managers tasked with keeping vehicular and pedestrian traffic safe for all. We are not guys who cannot find real jobs. We choose to do this. Those who fight snow invest time and money in becoming professionals at that chosen profession.
Of course, there are a few things we cannot do much about. There still is no solution to fight or mitigate the adverse effects of freezing rain. Contractors still struggle with the insurance conundrum. However, there is positive change in the offing. All parts of the snow industry realize that liability exposure is a thorn that is proving hard to remove, and continues to irritate. Again, there is movement in the right direction to address this, too. Something I realized years ago is that education is the key to successfully combating these issues that will plague us in the near term.
I’m hopeful that I can continue to contribute to the industry in this regard, and I will write more columns on technology, standards, best practices, liability issues, sales philosophies and customer relationships management. I still have a lot to say and do in the industry, and it is great to be a part of what is happening.
As I wrote about in “Snow Management: A Look Through Time” (published by Snowfighters Institute this past June), as technology advancements continue, different issues will come to the forefront. And I am supremely confident that someone, or many someones, will step up, find a solution and execute that solution to benefit all in the industry. This publication is one such positive step in the inevitable maturity in the industry. From my own research, those putting out this publication espouse my own personal philosophy regarding the snow and ice management industry: “To forever pursue, research and develop snow industry training.”