What we've been up to

The ASCA recaps its activities over the last six months

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A lot has been going on in the six months since our last issue, and the Accredited Snow contractors Association (ASCA) has been extremely busy. “The ASCA is in existence because we simply listened to what the industry was saying,” says ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride. “We continue to do this on a daily basis, and our programs and initiatives are a direct result of meeting your needs. It’s your mandate and our mission, which we plan to continue to fulfill. We will continue to do our part, and we invite you to do yours.”

Here’s a rundown to catch you up on all that’s been going on.

The ASCA is proud to announce that, to date, 146 professional snow contractors have earned their ASCA-Certified (ASCA-C) status, and more than 297 are engaged in the program and are on their way toward completing their educational requirements.

One particular milestone of note: On Sunday, Dec. 23, Matthew Caulfield with Neave Landscapes, Wappeinger Falls, N.Y., became the 100th snow fighter to earn ASCA-C status.

The second half of Winter 2012-13 was quite aggressive for a good portion of the snow market. However, that didn’t stop a number of contractors from pursuing their ASCA-C status. “Fighting snow events is the No. 1 priority during the winter,” Gilbride says. “So it never ceases to amaze me to witness the individual efforts and the commitments by snow fighters to earn ASCA-C – even during a busy snow month.”

“Congratulations to all who earned their ASCA-C status,” he added. “Now that the snow season has wound down, I’ve fielded a number of inquiries from snow fighters interested in both completing their education, as well as those looking to begin the process.”

ASCA’s educational programs are accessible to all levels of snow contractor. Consider becoming and/or having key employees become ASCA Certified. It is easily available online at ascaonline.org in the Learning Center for $15 per course.

One of the ASCA’s core missions is to initiate positive legislative change for the professional snow and ice management industry.

This includes initiatives at both the federal and the state level. The first step in initiating legislative change is creating awareness with those elected individuals who are in positions to make the necessary changes. At the state level, the ASCA has made great strides in initiating those relationships.

At the federal level, it is mission critical that snow contractors educate their representatives in Congress. Legislative Days is a vehicle to create this awareness.

Tom Delany, PLANET’s director of government affairs, has been working for some time now on PLANET’s aggressive and ambitious legislative initiatives. In July, a group of ASCA members and Gilbride were in Washington D.C. participating in Legislative Day on the Hill.

The ASCA had the opportunity to tap into Delany’s extensive legislative knowledge and expertise to ensure the event’s success.

This is what Legislative Days is all about, delivering the message on how current laws directly impact your business. “This event has been going of for years, however this year we added a little twist. ASCA partnered with PLANET by bringing our own contingent of people to focus on positive legislative change fortune snow industry,” Gilbride says.

“Specifically the reduction of frivolous lawsuits.” You can read more about the trip to D.C. in a future issue.

Regular updates

If you’re not receiving Snow Magazine’s bi-monthly enewsletter, then you’re missing out on a lot of the news, happenings and goings on with the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA). To begin receiving the Snow Magazine enewsletter in your inbox, email ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride at kgilbride@gie.net and add SUBSCRIBE TO ENEWSLETTER in the subject line.

The ASCA is excited to announce that a number of professional snow and ice managers have begun the process of becoming ISO9001/SN9001 certified. This certification is the third-party verification that a company has the processes and procedures to ensure service quality and has implemented industry standards. ISO9001/SN9001 was introduced for risk-management purposes and to secure better insurance premiums.

“The early feedback is revealing other benefits, as well,” Gilbride says. “Contractors tell me ISO certification is having a positive effect on their processes and procedures as a whole and improving their companies. They also tell me they see a selling advantage once they earn their ISO certification. These two are added benefits from the original intent, but could be tremendously impactful on your business.”

2013 Executive Summit.
The ASCA announced the 2013 Executive Summit also occurred in early August. You can read more about that event in a future issue, but the here’s some background on the event.

The ASCA’s Executive Summit is a unique educational experience that addresses the high-level topics that impact your business. Speakers engage and educate attendees on industry trends and business growth.

The conference brings high-end education to snow professionals and provides networking opportunities to engage with colleagues and leaders.

This year’s educational itinerary included discussions on risk mitigation and liability, fighting slip-and-fall claims, the impact of the Affordable Care Act, leadership building, and other business management topics. This year’s itinerary tapped into many of the top business concerns professional snow and ice managers are facing.

“Without a doubt, snow contractors are operating in a challenging business environment,” Gilbride says. “So we did our due diligence and really gathered a lot of feedback to determine where our focus should be with this year’s educational offering. I’m happy to say the conference schedule reflected what contractors indicated they needed regarding education.” In addition, the ASCA and Snow Magazine announced this year’s leadership award winners.

This year, four professional snow and ice managers will be honored. They include: Dick Churchill, The Groundskeeper, Ashland, Mass.; Steven Jomides, Lawns By Yorkshire, Westwood, N.J.; Stephanie Sauers-Boyd, Sauers Tree & landscape, Dresher, Pa.; and Jack Wieske, Cedar Springs Landscape, Ancaster, Ontario

“This is an outstanding class of recipients,” Gilbride says. “It’s great to see the excitement that has developed around the Leadership Awards.

“So many snow and ice managers are committed not only to their company’s success, but also to the industry at large, as well as the communities that they work and live in,” he adds.

“This is a testament to the rich and deep sense of professionalism that is pervasive throughout the snow industry.”

Industry feedback.
Gilbride did a fair amount of travel over the last six months, including public speaking at industry association meetings, serving on panel discussions, and manning trade show booths educating contractors about the ASCA’s mission and discussing the important business and legislative issues that directly impact contractors.

“I consider getting out and talking directly to ASCA members and industry leaders as one of the perks of my job,” Gilbride says.

“The ASCA is a contractor’s association, so it’s great to hear their feedback and gauge their needs and how we can best assist them.”

Most recently, Gilbride meet with a number of business leaders on the manufacturing side. “Manufacturers enjoyed a decent season, but the late winter impacts their new plow sales tremendously,” he says.

“Sure, the parts business was solid, but new plows are sold in fall and at the beginning of the season.

“The late winter kept some contractors holding on to their equipment for another year.

“This could be good news for next year, but overall, manufacturers are watching their budgets.” L&L

The author is editor of Snow Magazine.

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August 2013
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