Shifting Into Gear

ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride reflects on the events of the last year, provides the status of the association, and renews the mission going forward.

©jjayo -
Without a doubt, the pandemic and its collateral damage has gone on longer than many of us ever imagined. As an association, though, the ASCA continues to generate the momentum necessary to best serve its members. COVID-19 has done little to negatively impact the association or its membership’s long-term, big-picture goals, the educational programing and, most importantly, the core initiatives that drive us every day.
The association’s membership continues to grow at a rate I’m comfortable with, although we continue to maintain a high bar when it comes to attracting and retaining our ranks. With regard to membership benefits, the most important advantages are access to the ANSI Industry Standards, System Requirements for Snow and Ice Management (known simply as the Industry Standards), and access to the ASCA’s educational programing and associated certification (ASCA-C).
For a decade, the Industry Standards have provided snow and ice management professionals a detailed blueprint for training, education, documentation, and operational procedures and best practices.  When followed, the Industry Standards provide a strong defense in the event of a slip-and-fall incident, a claim reinforced time and again with insurance companies and in the courts. In addition, these assets are proven marketing tools for snow and ice operations seeking to separate themselves from their competitors.
The association’s educational platform, ASCA-C, provides members and their staffs with critical and practical risk-management knowledge.  Those employees who have earned their ASCA-C have a much deeper understanding of why you, as an owner, top manager or supervisor, require them to follow certain processes and procedures when providing winter services.  Take, for example, proper documentation training and its long-term importance. Most front-line winter workers think in the now – what needs to be done to get through a snow and ice event. What they may not consider is how important detailed event records become two years down the line when a slip-and-fall claim questions your actions between 2:34am and 3:26am on the night in question. What was the weather was like? What was the temperature. How much snow fell on site? Who provided the service at the time and with what equipment? Members who’ve earned their ASCA-C appreciate the necessity for maintaining critical event and site information.
On a negative note, the pandemic did derail our legislative efforts for more than a year. However, I’m happy to report we are seeing forward progress in this arena, as well.
On the legislative front, our efforts ground to a complete halt in 2020 due to the pandemic.  At the time, we were making great progress in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.  I’d like to report that the ASCA is back on track in both states.  Pennsylvania House Bill 1665 was introduced earlier this year and we anticipate movement on this soon. Massachusetts Senate Bill 1249 has already received its first hearing.  The legislation reads the same in both states and would make language in contracts in the snow and ice management industry null and void when the property owner passes their liability onto the snow contractor. Stay tuned for legislative updates.
As an association, we continue to pursue solutions with the insurance industry that are more equitable for snow and ice management companies.  Everything in our mission – the education, Industry Standards, ASCA-C, and a bold legislative strategy -- goes into driving an insurance solution that makes sense for the average snow professional.  
Over the past two years, the snow and ice management industry remained an essential service, a designation I’ve preached for as long as I’ve been associated with this industry. We continue our industry support as we move forward again on all fronts. All we ask in return is your support when the time comes for grassroots action because it is the collective voices of this industry that speak louder than any single association.