I've just returned from the ASCA's 2012 Executive Summit and I'm getting the last of the Ft. Lauderdale sand out of my shoes and I’m bristling with excitement.
What a great couple of days with everyone networking and sharing ideas. We had a great lineup of speakers discussing everything from risk mitigation to the state of the economy. In fact, it was great to have political analyst David Crow provide his expert outlook on the November election minutes after the Romney camp announced Paul Ryan as the vp candidate.
Believe it or not, we're beginning to get started on next year's Executive Summit... so stay tuned for conference details and save-the-date information.
So while I couldn't do justice in this column to everything that happened and was discussed, here are five important hallmarks of the 2012 Executive Summit you should know about.
1. “ASCA Certified” educational programming
The ASCA launched its educational program, which focuses on individual certification and is available on-line at the association’s website (ascaonline.org). Individuals receive ASCA certification by meeting certain requirements, including the completion of 10 hours of online education annually. The ASCA developed the initial 10 courses based on issues laid out by the insurance industry and intended to reduce risk in your operations. Each course costs $15. To ensure comprehension, participants must pass (80% score) a short, ten-question quiz. Once passed, participants receive a printable certificate of completion -- an important piece of documentation for your training files. ASCA continues to develop courses to add to its dynamic online curriculum. Once all ten courses are passed, ASCA issues a certificate designating the individual as "ASCA Certified." CLICK HERE to view a short presentation launching ASCA education.
2. SN9001 is announced
In just over a month, professional snow and ice managers can begin evaluating their operations through a third-party audit. This ISO certification works together with ISO9001 for professional snow and ice companies. ISO 9001 is a third-party, independent audit of processes and procedures to ensure service quality. The SN9001 audit works with the ISO9001 certification and audits processes and procedures in the ASCA’s industry standards. The SN9001 certification helps drive down insurance costs and reduces frivolous slip-and-fall lawsuits. Since most lawsuits are settled out of court or lost due to a lack of comprehensive documentation, ISO9001 and SN9001 focus heavily on proper recordkeeping. Plaintiff’s attorneys will soon find that ISO9001 and SN9001 have their documentation in order and are not easy targets for litigation. The first step to achieve ISO9001 and SN9001 certification is to read both standards. The ISO9001 standard can be purchased from the American Society of Quality at asq.org. It is also recommended to purchase ISO9004, a guide to the process. The SN9001 standard is based on the ASCA’s industry standards and is included in the association's welcome kit.
3. ASCA establishes initiatives
In less than one year, ASCA has authored industry standards, finalized ISO certification, launched ASCA certified education, and made inroads in our legislative initiatives. Now we move forward and expand our educational resources, continue to monitor and adapt the industry standards and SN9001, and move ahead with our legislative goals.
4. Networking, networking, and more networking...
Professionals will tell you that half the value of any conference is networking. Networking, though, only works when the right people are in the room and ample time is allotted for introductions and discussion. Attendees reported back that the conference atmosphere was a catalyst for valuable networking. Around the pool, on the beach, during event meals and breaks, at the cocktail receptions and the awards banquette contractors were engaging with their contemporaries. It was a tremendous event to get to know snow professionals from across the country. Friendships were forged, business relationships were established, and at the event's conclusion everyone left educated, enlightened and inspired.
5. Great learning experience
Attendees were treated to deep, high-end education they could implement immediately into their business practices. In addition, Executive Summit speakers received rave reviews from participants for the take-away ideas and concepts they imparted on attendees. From Laurel Graefe, a Federal Reserve analyst, who kicked off the event discussing the state of the economy and its impact on small business, to Jim Huston who provided deep analysis techniques for reviewing financials, to Matt Fullenbaum who clearly explained existing laws and how to change them in the future, not to mention the educational contributions of political analyst David Crow, ANSI_ASQ's John Knappenberger, Matt Peterson, Josh Ferguson and Heidi Centola who discussed risk management. It was tremendous educational experience for all!