Year Over Year

Features - Director’s Note

ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride draws some perspective on the formula for success from Snow Magazine’s annual Top 100 list.

July 29, 2021

Every year, Snow Magazine compiles the professional snow and ice management industry’s annual Top 100 list. In fact, this month we’re celebrating Winter 2020-2021’s top-performing companies at the annual Executive Summit. Those companies in attendance receive a plaque commemorating their accomplishment while each top company will receive materials to add to their marketing endeavors. Due to the timing of this year’s event, we will publish the 2021 Top 100 list in Snow Magazine’s upcoming September issue.

As we go through this annual exercise, I always find it interesting to observe the various reported winter revenues as they roll in from companies. When we began the list back in 2004, we only reported on the Top 50 companies. But due to its popularity, by the next year we had expanded it to 100 companies with the final company on the list reporting less than $1 million in winter revenue.

By comparison, the revenue threshold to earn a spot on this year’s list was well above the $1 million mark. Without a doubt, much of this is due to increased contractor participation. However, over the years I’ve tracked and become friends with many of the top performing snow and ice management contractors on the list, which gives me some unique insights into how they’ve grown and how they have succeeded year over year.

With so much talk this past year focused on the pandemic, business shutdowns, and the various logistical challenges we have all endured, it provided me some perspective as I reviewed a final version of this year’s Top 100 list. By and large the snow industry had a very good Winter 2020-21. Companies that traditionally appear on the list reported increased revenues from the past winter. Likewise, there are a fair number of new names on this year’s list, companies who submitted in celebration of not only a solid winter, but also in recognition of their successful business practices.

As I think about the diversity on this year’s list, the companies all share many things in common: Nearly all perform professionally, and they take their business seriously. They build teams and motivate them. They’re commit to training, and they understand their customers’ needs and expectations.

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, these same companies grew their businesses because they put their collective heads down and got the job done. They didn’t let the pandemic slow them down. Instead, they found ways to close deals and make sales. They communicated, worked with, and were sympathetic to their customers’ needs. They hired, retained, and trained people to perform the work at a high level. And they got the job done regardless of everything else that was going on around them.

This, I’m certain, is what it takes to be successful is business … especially in the world of snow and ice management.

So, for those who are on this year’s Top 100 list, I congratulate you. For those who submitted but didn’t make the cut, I say keep up the good work and keep trying. And for those who didn’t submit, consider participating next year. And if your winter revenue numbers are up to the task, then you’ll find yourself among some very good company.

Kevin Gilbride is the Executive Director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA).