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This issue examines the overall state of our industry, so I looked back at previous State of the Industry reports wondering what trends I’d discover. Not surprising, the top issues facing the industry today are also the major issues this industry has been talking about for years. So, what is the difference today versus perhaps ten years ago when the general feeling throughout the industry was doom and gloom?

We can all agree the industry has changed over the last decade, and improved significantly over the last 20 years. In some areas that change was drastic, while in other areas is has been subtle. But even gradual changes over time add up to big changes for the whole.

From a product standpoint, equipment is more advanced and, in many instances, easier to operate and maintain. Likewise, the equipment options are vaster than they were a decade ago. Deicing products have evolved and the application of these products has increased. Companies have become more knowledgeable about how to use these new technologies correctly and in tandem for a more complete approach to snow and ice management. I have witnessed companies embrace these changes.

More importantly, it has been the people who have changed over the past 20 years. What used to be an industry with a “cowboy” mentality, treating plowing like a rodeo, is now an industry that represents itself as professionals. You are business people who provide an invaluable service to your customers. You do it in a way that others can only hope to. This industry has embraced “growing up” and representing yourself as professionals to the outside world.

In embracing the ASCA’s ANSI Industry Standards, you’ve embraced professionalism. You have embraced training, documentation, education, and professionalism. The more than 1,000 individuals who have earned their ASCA-C have embraced education and certification. They have embraced being educated on the Industry Standards and risk management to better themselves, their companies, and represent themselves to the outside world as a professional.

In embracing ISO9001/SN9001 certification, you have shown you have the process and procedures to ensure service quality, and you have implemented the standards into your business. You have improved your company and allowed your companies to be viewed differently by the outside world.

Those who have been involved in the legislative process have embraced the fact that there is strength in numbers, and we as an industry have a voice and we are going to use.

As I looked back, the issues you face are the same today, it is you that has changed and in a very positive way.