Snow Magazine recognizes industry leaders

Snow Magazine recognizes industry leaders

Four snow fighters receive the 2012 Leadership Award during the ASCA's Executive Summit.

August 16, 2012
Industry News

Snow Magazine, in conjunction with the Accredited Snow Contractor Association's Executive Conference, has honored four snow fighters with its 2012 Leadership Ship award.

Snow Magazine's Leadership Award recognizes individuals who serve as examples to others in the professional snow and ice management industry, says Snow Magazine editor Mike Zawacki.

"This year's Leadership Award recipients reflect excellence -- at the company level, within their communities and throughout the professional snow removal industry," he says. The contractors were recognized as part of Snow Magazine's 2012 Top 100 and Leadership Awards Banquette, which took place during ASCA's Executive Summit Aug. 9-11 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The evening's first honoree was Frank Dedon, president of Cleveland-based Abraxas Snow. Over 40 years in the snow removal business, Dedon grew his company at a steady, controlled pace with an emphasis on customer service and client loyalty. Dedon is very proud of a client portfolio that contains customers who have been with him for a dozen years, 25 years and even 38 years. In addition, Dedon has been a strong advocate that those committed to the business of snow and ice management receive their due. He believes snow contractors perform an emergency service, a view he's held since he first put down a blade to plow snow. Dedon's philosophy on snow and ice management is most evident in the Abraxas corporate slogan, "We manage the business of snow so snow doesn't manager your business."

Snow Magazine honored Matt Boelman, vice president of Perficut, Des Moines, Iowa, who manages the firm's snow and ice management operations. Recently, Boelman, a passionate problem solver, oversaw and lead a radical reorganization and realignment of the company's snow removal operation. This process, meant to focus on snow as a solid profit center instead of just a means of generating winter revenue, included a company-wide shift in culture and philosophy. Boelman and his team countered anti-snow sentiment by opening the company's books and showing employees how profitable snow removal could be if they committed to the endeavor. "We showed them the numbers and how successful we were financially when we were efficient and doing the job right," he says. "It was not always an easy transition, but to get where we wanted to go we had to turn negatives into positives."

Next, Snow Magazine honored Chicagoland snow fighter Randy Strait, president, Arctic Snow and Ice. For Strait, snow is not an afterthought... it's his only thought. Strait was an early adopter of pushers in the Chicago market, but he witnessed firsthand how damaging and financially burdensome property obstacles -- such as manhole covers and curbs -- could be on snow removal equipment. So Strait developed a sectional snow pusher that features independent wings that conform to parking lot imperfections. By successfully implementing his sectional snow plow into his own operations, Strait soon caught the attention of his competitors who complained about his price points. Strait was able to prove with his innovative creation was he could do the job better and faster and then pass those saving on to his customers. Today, Strait's snow removal operation manages more than 300 pieces of equipment and more than 350 employees during the snow season and services both retail and commercial clients.

Lastly, Snow Magazine recognized Mike "Frosty" Clark, vice president of snow operations at Acres Group, Wauconda, Ill. Due to a personal issues, Clark was unable to attend the event and was award the honor in absentia.

Clark, who has been with Acres for 22 years, works on snow operations 12 months of the year, and was named one of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association "Top 10 People with Impact" for 2011. Clark's contributions, accomplishments, and innovations include authoring and presenting "Acres Experts" snow seminars for both employees and clients. He manages an Acres certification program for all Acres and subcontractor operators. Clark has also developed an approved subcontractor program to ensure all subs are legal, insured and experienced. He also oversees a 12-month maintenance program for Acres fleet of over 300 trucks, 225 skid-steer tractors, 500+ snowblowers, plows and salter units. This supports safety, preparedness, and performance during all conditions. Those who work with Clark describe him as a “thought forward”  individual with regard to equipment and deicing chemicals, including the utilization of winged and pusher box plows, Kubota’s, ATV’s, rotary brooms, Dingo’s, liquid pre-treatment applications, pre-wetting salt, and “smart” de-icing application which saves chemical, cost to Acres/client, and is eco-friendly.

Be sure to check out the September issue of Snow Magazine for complete Leadership Award and Executive Summit coverage, as well as in-depth profiles on each of this year's Leadership Award winners.