Snippets from SIMA 2024

Get the scoop on the 27th annual Snow and Ice Symposium, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Keynote speaker Don Yaeger kicks off the 27th annual Snow & Ice Symposium.
Keynote speaker Don Yaeger kicks off the 27th annual Snow & Ice Symposium.

Hundreds of snow professionals descended on The Steel City (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) for the 27th annual Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) Snow & Ice Symposium on June 26-28. 

Keynote speaker Don Yaeger, NY Times bestselling author, host of Corporate Competitor Podcast, Executive Coach, Forbes Senior contributor and Maxwell Leadership Thought Leader, centered his keynote around one of the most talked-about issues within the industry: labor.

Titled "What Makes the Great Teams Great," Yaeger encouraged attendees to ask themselves what makes their snow operations a place where people would want to work. 

"Every great team feels their why. Feeling the why is what matters most to Gen Z and millennial employees," Yaeger said, citing a Forbes study that showed that the No. 1 motivator for millennial employees and No. 2 motivator for Gen Z employees is feeling like they're making a difference. "It's up to us leaders to make it clear to employees that what they do matters." 

To help snow leaders showcase "the why," Yaeger encouraged they consider the following items:

1. Product impact. What happens to those we serve (and the downstream beneficiaries) if we fail? 

2. Community impact. How do we impact the community? Do we serve the community in any other ways?

3. Teammate impact. What can we do that makes a difference to help an employee or show them that we care? 

"It's effort to make employees feel like they matter, but when they do, they bring different levels of energy to your business," Yaeger said. 

Keeping with the same theme, Mikayel Ter-Grigoryan, founder and president of Just For Snow Property Services in Toronto, Canada, gave a presentation entitled "Break the Blue Collar Stigma to Attract the Next Generation of Talent." 

Ter-Grigoryan discussed how many owners within the industry lament the fact that they can't find and keep good people. 

"The culture has to be unique and compelling," Ter-Grigoryan said. "It's larger than the individual and larger than the organization."

Other session topics throughout the educational portion of the symposium included how to account for inflation, what to know about mergers and acquisitions, how to reduce salt without reducing service, how to incorporate standard operating procedures and much more.

Snow professionals took the opportunity to further discuss best practices and share ideas on how to best run their businesses during SIMA"s Snack & Chat luncheon, where each table's discussion centered on one topic, SIMA's opening reception and SIMA"s after-hours event. 

On June 27 and 28, attendees in the Steel City will have the opportunity to speak with snow and ice equipment manufacturers on the trade show floor to learn about the latest products in the space.