His nephew, Brad Frank, reached out to me Sunday morning with the news. According to Brad, David’s health took a turn for the worst and he passed away early Saturday morning. CLICK HERE for details about funeral arrangements.
I knew of David for many years prior to the creation of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association. But it was his immediate involvement and active participation in the ASCA that allowed me to really get to know the man. David was one of the driving forces that helped shape the mission of this fledgling association. He always seemed to find the time to take questions, listen to ideas and provide counsel, and the energy he brought to the group helped fuel its forward progress.
What I will remember most fondly about David is his passion for service and his commitment to this industry. He showed up early and prepared to every committee meeting with big ideas and an equal amount of determination to see them through. He instilled in us a “never-say-die” attitude that guided us through some initial rough spots and will undoubtedly continue to encourage and inspire us for years to come.
David was a member of the inaugural class of Leadership Award recipients in 2010. I encourage you to read the profile story Snow Magazine wrote (Seeing The Big Picture) to gain a deeper perspective on what it means to be a leader.
However, what I will best remember about my friend David – and even at this moment makes me smile – is how happy he was to be among his peers at our annual Executive Summit. I would catch a glimpse of him skillfully making his way through a crowded networking reception, seeking out a wide-eyed new face and with kind eyes, a welcoming grin, and a firm handshake exclaim: “Hi, I’m David J. Frank … It’s nice to meet you.”
I encourage you to forward your memories of David to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll share some of the best of them in this Friday’s enewsletter.
Kevin Gilbride is the Executive Director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA). You can reach him at email@example.com.
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There’s been a lot of discussion about the lack of available labor for service industry jobs, and the snow and ice management industry has not been immune. In fact, where it seems to hurt winter ops the most is the lack of bodies to fully staff shovel crews.
While admittedly not the most glamour job in snow and ice management, snow contractors have tried every trick in the book to hire and retain the people needed to handle sidewalks and areas that require more detailed work of a hand shovel rather than a plow blade.
Matt Scott, director of operations at Troy Clogg Landscape Associates in Wixom, Mich., says they have developed a workaround strategy to this problem that does essentially same job but with less people.
“Like any contractor working in the snow game, we’re always trying to find the most efficient pieces of equipment that we can,” he says. “So, we’ve invested in Snowrators and side-by-side (UTVs), tractors and things that take away the need for a lot of labor.
“And we’ve been able to add a significant amount of square footage in sidewalk clearing without having to add additional sidewalk people,” he adds.
This winter, TCLA manages around 250,000 square feet of pavement surface in downtown Detroit. To tackle this job, Scott says they’ve experienced some of the best results from two-person crews working out of a side-by-side UTV.
That 250,000 square feet of pavement is very centrally located, with buildings very close to one another, Scott says. So, TCLA runs two-man crews – driver and assistant -- in a side-by-side UTV like a Kuboto or a John Deere Gator with a v-plow on the front, a v-hopper salt spreader in the back and a snow shovel.
“They pull up to a site and the assistant jumps out and he starts doing the pieces that need to be done with a snow shovel,” he says. “The driver in the side-by-side starts plowing and salting the sidewalk. They finish, the assistant jumps back in and they drive down a half a block to the next building and start all over again.”
Another version of TCLA’s two-person outfit involves a box truck equipped with a ramp and a Snowrator. With a dozen or so Snowrators, Scott says they’ve been able to eliminate three- and four-man crews with snowblowers and shovels in lieu of two-man crews that travel from site to site in a box truck with a Snowrator in the back.
This two-person combination operating out of a side-by-side UTV, or a box truck with a Snowrator, has allowed TCLA to reduce the labor force typically required to do that same job by 75 percent, Scott says. “We’ve added a half-million square feet in total sidewalks (for Winter 2018-19) and we’re running less sidewalk labor than we were last year.”
And Scott suspects this method has helped with attracting and retaining labor, as well. “Now, you’re not just a guy running out there with a shovel for a 12-hour shift,” he says. “I think it’s more appealing to be part of a two-man crew.”
While these machines allow for a higher production rate with less people, Scott says the industry, at least in the near term, still faces a fundamental problem – a shortage of available labor. “None of this matters if you can’t get people,” he says. “If you want to continue to grow in the snow business you’re going to have to find a way to make the sidewalk clearing process – even plowing -- as efficient as possible.”
Mike Zawacki is Snow Magazine editor and the ASCA's curriculum coordinator. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small business owners are competing with one another for quality employees. The Internet leveled the playing field, and now your company and all others, big and small, are able to reach top talent. This is straining a tapped-out talent pool and has left many small business owners searching far and wide for talented and resourceful job candidates.
Owners must find great talent quickly to perform at full capacity. When operating with a small crew, you must find smart, resourceful talent capable of keeping up with the fast-paced dynamics that come along with a small company. Luckily, fitting hiring into your already busy day isn't that complicated. It requires a few adjustments. Here are four steps to make hiring for your business and filling vacant positions more efficient than ever.
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