With the 19th annual SIMA Snow & Ice Symposium right around the corner, we thought we would give you a little background on how it all started.
The original premise for the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) Symposium was to bring together 30-40 contractors to just “shoot the breeze” about snow contracting. It was originally thought of as a format for snow contractors to get together and learn from each other in a roundtable format. That first Symposium was held at the Airport Marriott in Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh was selected because it was close to Erie, the original SIMA headquarters. It would be easy to manage at that distance, and Pittsburgh (at the time) was a major airline hub. Tammy Higham (the Executive Director at the time) and Peggy Allin put it all together. Tammy was the only “staff” SIMA had at the time as SIMA didn’t have any money. She and Peggy made it all happen. Landscape industry consultant, Jim Paluch was the Master of Ceremonies. Jim’s consulting business was only a few years young at the time, and Jim did it for nothing as a favor to SIMA. About 20 contractors actually showed up, plus some press from the landscape trades (there were not yet any dedicated snow industry rags).
It went over so well, the attendees were demanding to know “where are we going next year?”. Tammy and Peggy were in a near panic. So, they went to the sales director for the Marriott and booked the event for the following June – walked back into the party and “announced” the 2nd Annual SIMA Symposium would be held at the same place – the Airport Marriott in Pittsburgh. It was the easy choice. The following year saw a significant increase in attendees, with the same premise and format for the gathering. By then, Tammy had done some planning and had already booked the 3rd Symposium in Portland, Maine. There were no exhibitors at the first two Symposium’s and suppliers came as equals to the contractors (meaning, they had to pay to get in). Only the “Press” got in for free.
That 3rd Symposium featured table-top displays by exhibitors…..and it just grew from there.