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December 3, 2013 Mark Adamson of Douglas Dynamics

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Managing Snow Ice

Managing Snow Ice


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Host, John Allin welcomes Mark Adamson of Douglas Dynamics to the broadcast.  Mark is convinced that there is no business like snow business.  After living in the south for half of his career he found a great reason to move back north…snow.  Mark had been involved in the “green” industry for over two decades with John Deere Company before dedicating himself to the “white” industry.

Mark obtained his MBA from Duke University with an emphasis in marketing. For the last 8 years he has been the Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Douglas Dynamics, leaders in snow and ice control and manufacturers of Western, Fisher, Blizzard, and SnowEx brands.


0:04 S

Welcome to Managing Snow and Ice with John Allin, co-hosted by Tammy Johnson where each week we bring you information and update about the Snow Industry. This segment is brought to you by Snowfighters Institute. Snowfighters Institute, where we forever pursue, research, and develop snow industry training.

0:27 John Allin

Welcome everyone to Managing Snow and Ice. I am your host John Allin, I am here with my co-host, Tammy Johnson who is also the executive director for Snowfighters Institute. Well, Tammy it was an interesting day, fighting my computer. It seems to have rectified itself which seems very, very odd.

0:50 Tammy Johnson

You got to be careful with those viruses when they attack.

0:53 John Allin

Yeah, so we are going to have to--have somebody double check this here before I take it on the road again. Well, we got have a good show. So let us proceed, how about you take care of the housekeeping items.

1:08 Tammy Johnson

Sounds like a plan. Well, thank you all for tuning into Managing Snow and Ice with John Allin. This broadcast is recorded live and aired every Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time. Each week, we do let you know who the guest for the upcoming week will be and our listeners can send questions for this guest of the week prior to the broadcast by emailing me at tammy@johnallin.com. Those who wish to listen to the broadcast via their phone instead of online can do so by calling 646-716-5550. All of our broadcasts are also archived so you can listen to them again by simply visiting johnallin.com. You will find all of our archived episodes in the BlogTalkRadio link on the right side of the page. In fact, you can download the episodes that you missed, put them onto your iPhone and listen to them at your convenience. And now it is time for our thoughts and reflection segment of the show. So tell us John, what's on your mind this evening.

2:14 John Allin

Well, Tammy production and operations, getting the work done, fighting the storm. These are on everybody's mind right now as we get closer to having to actually do all the stuff when it snows on a regular basis. Last week in a hurry, our plowers got to some work. In Anchorage, they also got to do some work and I am sure in the Midwest, they are beginning to do some work, it's what we are all waiting for. Snow on the ground instead of just in the forecast. So, to my audience, are you prepared, are the route set, are the cruise assigned, did the area supervisors know what accounts they are to service and who is to do the work on the site and the sidewalk crews been trained on how to be the most productive when they are out in the elements. If you are using a tracking software like GeoTracker. Has everyone been to a max snow event? Had they been trough 5 or 10 or more? It's on the preparation and most good snow contractors will tell you preparation is key to successfully completing operations during a snow event. Often we hear about the complaints after the event has passed but keep in mind are they all really complaints. A client of mine several years back found one of his senior managers being proactive before an event. He told all the field management staff that the senior managers in the office has agreed they did not want any phone calls during or after the event that come in to the office and this person was pleased when they only had a couple of phone calls. Now a day or two later, I was out with the field manager and he was one frightened puppy. He seems he read the memo and then made sure that none of his customers had a reason to call in and they did not and he was upset because all the phone calls from his clients resulted in revisiting sites.

4:14 John Allin

Doing more work and generating offers of $10,000 in more revenues for his assigned account, but as he told me, mob in the office was happy because no phone calls came in. Of course, I then went back to their office and educated the team about phone calls during and after an event. I educated them that I classify such after event contact with customers in one of three ways, complaints, inquiries, and request. Request are just that request for more services to be rendered, often times you use request result in additional revenues along the lines of what that field manager told me about his customers generating more money for the company. Inquiries usually are a result of a customer just wanting to know what's happening, there is nothing wrong with inquiries and we will know if he had been there yet or his sites taking care of yet, is there anything he needs to know, these are not complaints but customers trying to glean to make them more comfortable with the situation and of course they are actual complaints. We missed an area, you did not solve part of the lot, you missed the sidewalk and now those types of calls, we want to avoid but some of the inbound calls are good calls, one we want to get and do not want to keep from occurring. So, if you are ready, be ready for this too and b sure to classify the inbound calls correctly, so you can take advantage of opportunities that presents themselves when such calls come into your office. It could mean a lot more money for you and that is this week thoughts and reflections commentary. After a short break Tammy and I will be right back with our guest Mark Adamson, vice president of sales and marketing for Douglas Dynamics, the parent company of Western Fisher and Blizzard.

9:22 Jason Case

This is Jason Case from Case Snow Management in Boston Mass and you are listening to Managing Snow and Ice with John Allin on Blog Talk Radio.

9:32 John Allin

Welcome back everyone to Managing Snow and Ice I'm your host John Allin, I am here with my co-host Tammy Johnson. Tammy, take a minute or two if you would please and tell our audience about our guest this evening.

9:46 Tammy Johnson

Well, tonight, we have with us Mark Adamson of Douglas Dynamics. Mark is convinced that there is no business like snow business, after living in the south for half of his career he found a great reason to move back north. Now, Mark has been involved in the green industry for over two decades with John Deere Company before that getting himself to the white industry. He obtained his MBA from Duke University with an emphasis in marketing. For the last eight years he has been the vice president of sales and marketing for Douglas Dynamics, leaders in snow and ice control and manufactures of Western, Fisher, Blizzard and SnowEx brands.

10:27 John Allin

Mark, welcome to the broadcast.

10:31 Mark Adamson

Thank you very much John and thank you Tammy for having me on your show.

10:35 John Allin

We know it's been a bit of a long haul trying to get you scheduled. You are one really busy guy.

10:42 Mark Adamson

Well I hope for the right reasons that I will try to stay in touch out there with the customer based so...

10:49 John Allin

I am sure it is Mark and its really nice of you take a time out of your evening to come with us and talk about snow a little bit. Tammy did give the audience a little bit of background about yourself but would you please take a second or two here and tell our audience about yourself, what you do and how do you got there?

11:08 Mark Adamson

Thank you. Yes I will. What I do its--actually I am looking at my business card right now and I have the title of listener, observer and that is actually on my physical card. I am not much into titles per say but try to stay in contact with the customer based out there, officially, I guess internally I am the senior vice president of sales and marketing for Douglas Dynamics but how I got here was actually through the green industry and then transitioned over to the white industry. I started with John Deere company in the early 80s and actually had the opportunity to touch the 3M both manufacturing, marketing as well as management and then I found my way back up north after as Tammy said living in the south for quite a while and had to find a reason to love the snow, you know, my blood thinned out a little bit as I was south and I did, I made arrangements here and through some mutual friends I get on board with Douglas Dynamics and now on Wisconsin if it 75�� and sunny, it's a beautiful day and if there is four inches of snow on the ground and its overcast, its even a better day.

12:23 John Allin

Yeah. I like that attitude. So you obviously like what you are doing, most of our audience has heard of Douglas Dynamics but I would bet most of them don't specially know what Douglas Dynamics is all involved in. Take a second if you would and educate our audience about Douglas Dynamics and the various ways that Douglas Dynamics is involved in this snow and ice management business, I mean, you guys are into it in a big way.

12:54 Mark Adamson

Certainly, then we are not big into even promoting our brand Douglas Dynamics. We preferred to promote the brands obviously that mean something that a customer based on. I am sure most of the customers out there are very familiar with our brands, I am actually surprised from time to time how well Douglas Dynamics is recognized in the customer basis as being the leader and just having several arms and options and opportunities through the various brands. Actually, when I was preparing for this I actually decided to--I add up the years of experience and were actually approaching 200 years of experience to the various brands that we have. Fisher was the leader actually established in 1948 and has grown as did the Western brand which was established in 1952, so both of those brands obviously are our flight ship brands and they have well-deserved reputations for quality, dependability as well as outstanding customer service, you don't stick around this long particularly in this industry unless you are doing something right. The Blizzard brand actually first time to the scene about a decade ago and brought with it new product innovation that we have adopted through other brands that really helped the customer based and efficiency improving both productivity and versatility which was standard straight ploughs in the past. The most recent acquisition that we made was TrynEx. TrynEx actually has its roots back to 1977 but I think the TrynEx brand is kind of like the Douglas brand probably not as recognized. I know all of your listeners certainly recognize the SnowEx. As usual brands I think that is the one that people embrace and also is quality, durability.

14:53 Mark Adamson

Certainly not the longevity that we have on the plough side but came on a big way and absolutely the market leader in ice control and they actually have two other brands, the TurfEx, which is the turf application equipment, as well as, SweepEx Industrial attachment products so it kind of brings me full circle back to the green industry to a little to so it is kind of exciting to have all those diverse brands that make up Douglas Dynamics.

15:25 John Allin

You know I know that TrynEx is -- I don't know if it is worldwide but it is certainly fairly well known in Europe. The Snow Dragon dealer and Sweden was a TrynEx dealer and they were selling SnowEx in Sweden and in Scandinavia. How worldwide is the other brands for Douglas Dynamics like Western, Fisher, Blizzard and obviously TrynEx? Did you guys sell around the world?

15:58 Mark Adamson

Yeah, absolutely. Europe is a big market force, heck we sell down in South America. We've got a Didier in Chile and as well as Didiers in China. As a matter of fact, China is important to us and we have a physical location in Beijing. So we are really addressing, you know, that market worldwide but as extensive as we have been on the Western, Fisher and Blizzard side of the product line. We are actually very intrigued because not only did the TrynEx acquisition bring to us the marriage of the leader in ice control with the leader of snow control but they also had extensive selling points -- points of sale overseas. Particularly in Europe so you are absolutely right that is one of those things that, you know, allow us to say that 1+1 actually equals 3 when we marry up and utilize the synergies that we have available to us.

16:53 John Allin

Now, you told us a little bit at the beginning of the broadcast that you know what your title was and what you're strengths are personally but -- what do you do? What is your job?

17:07 Mark Adamson

Actually, you know, my team makes this real easy -- that I am probably -- I do my job the best when I stay out of their way. I have people that have been in the industry and have forgotten more than I'll ever know about the industry -- you know in the form of well references to John Murphy that has been around 30+ years and has done snow and snow equipment all his life. So I've basically kind of jumped over and take care of the pulse of the industry. Work with a lot of the customers point to point and really take the opportunity to get out of my office. (laughs). As far as I'm concerned, the office provides an opportunity to first think and thinking. The four walls that kind of give you probably a bent perspective on reality so as one of the leaders that try to establish a vision of where we need to go and take the company. I would like to give information straight from the source and in essence again a lot of that and my frustration likewise to try to connect and actually put his radio show off by travel schedules probably 75% during the summer months.

18:27 John Allin


18:28 Mark Adamson

It's amazing. I'm sure Johnny you got this -- your whole career is when you tell people that you are in the snow business. You know the first words out of their mouth is -- what do you do during the summertime. (laughs)

18:37 John Allin

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. [Crosstalk]

18:38 Mark Adamson

That I think is the busiest time for me.

18:40 John Allin


18:41 Mark Adamson

You know, during that time customer don't want to see me. We just kind of sit back and make sure we have good quality delivery.

18:48 John Allin

You know I think that you're sort of the face of Douglas Dynamics because you read all the industry events. You have a presence out front and it's almost like you invite criticism if there is going to be any or compliments where people can come up and talk to you. You're very approachable. You're not an aloof type individual and obviously you care about Douglas Dynamics and you care about the industry because of Douglas Dynamics' participation on various fronts which we talked about in a little bit. What do you personally like the most about the job that you have got?

19:27 Mark Adamson

Oh I appreciate you kind compliments -- you know I guess that portion is wired into me but I must admit I like it because I like the contact. I even like the criticism. I mean it is a case where somebody is caring enough because they want to make sure that you correct things or do things right, that they're willing to share. So I really value those people that will take the time and sometimes it's not something big. It's just simply a little -- a frustration or what we call a dissatispire? It does not impede product performance but it would sure be needed if you guys just did this or here's what I'm having a problem with. In my organization or my company, if you guys could just come up with a solution to this. Those are the things that you know obviously if I had to pull a no pet out I do, if not as soon as we walk away, I guarantee you I'm right in the down somewhere so I can feed it back to our folks back home but it's those contacts with the people. It's relationship. I am not telling you anything you do not know and probably the quality your listeners -- anything that they don't know but this is a relationship business and I have always said that sales is a contact sport but even beyond that -- you know it's a family. I mean I think like I was very intrigued about when I came into the white industry is how close knit it is, and you know sometimes, I'm plusing. I've got four families. I of course got my personal family wife of 33 years, and 2 kids that are now gone and on their own and I'm proud dad but you've got to be Didier family. Distribution that work is second to none in the industry. We've got the employee family -- obviously great people here that build the Douglas culture but I think the one that I really try to stay in touch with the most is the customer family.

21:27 John Allin


21:28 Mark Adamson

There customers have been very loyal to us and again we have that expectation that we do have to live up to and maybe at times -- I don't wanna say it's unfair because our competition would envy that type of commitment and respect to our product line and we still plows that and that's what you talk about families -- family you don't ever leave. I mean okay. I once said I don't leave. Sometimes family members do leave and they go to explore something that they think is better, cheaper, etc. but I guarantee it because we are family. We are always ready to welcome them back when they are ready to comeback and we still have plows that are running out there that are probably older than I am. I use this example in one of the recent presentations that Fisher has a part number 3 -- that is still available through our system, through our Didiers. As a matter of fact, we sold 10 of them last year. (laughs)

22:29 John Allin


22:30 Mark Adamson

So I think that shows you the commitment where others -- you know probably actually products and by now you should have gotten a new plow so you are on you own or charge outrageous prices -- you know we do have that commitment to our family.

22:45 John Allin

Wow. It's a testament to the longevity of the product that it's well-built. I mean just because a part go does not mean it was a bad product. It means you know something more out. That's really quite impressive. I've been through the Fisher plant. I've been through the Western plant. I was up at Blizzard when four of __23:07__ were getting started and there is a common thread that runs through all of the manufacturing facilities that Douglas Dynamics has that I've been through and it's one of caring and quality which is obvious by the way the people are. Now, I'm not saying that any of the other products don't have this but, the idea that Douglas Dynamics is so spread out with so many different manufacturing facilities and this thread of quality that runs through and permeates the attitude of the people their across the country and I would imagine across the Japan? and China too and it's a nice thing to see and it's really obvious that Douglas Dynamics pays attention to its employees and it products so I guess I should not be surprised that there is a part number 3 that you still have available for people who still have that product. That's a good thing.

24:17 Mark Adamson

Well I appreciate your comments John and glad you were able to visit the facilities. I invite you back as well as anybody anytime. I think he would be amazed that not sure exactly of the last time you've been through but it changes. I'm amazed how often it changes when I come back and again it's all because we have a continuous improvement culture that permeates through the entire organization and culture is a very important word for us. I mean we feel that it is one of our greatest assets and of course it is something that you can't really put a number and/or a name on. But we have people that are engaged and know that there is always a better way and they always want to improve whether that's quality, whether that's delivery or whether that is just growth and so because they get to participate, I think they really become in essence owners of the company, and as a matter of fact, we are a public company and we do have stock purchase plans. In fact, John you can own -- have a piece of the rock here. You can be an owner of Douglas Dynamics. It's a plow, the clever ticker on New York stock exchange but I think that culture is really -- you know permeates through that again and it's just people wanting to do better consistently and if you did know where you were whether it was Beijing, Rockland Maine, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and soon we are trying to develop that same type of feel in Madison Heights in Michigan and they have a great head start towards that anyhow. I think would you be hard pressed to know where you are standing because the people have all the same mindset.

26:00 John Allin

Well, it does show in the product itself and the feedback I get from people that I associate with. It's a great product. At one point, I owned a couple of dozen Western plows and Salt spreaders. In fact, at one point all my company owned equipment was all outfitted with Western products across the border. Douglas Dynamics is an avid supporter of SIMA. They weren't there at the beginning. We did not have any vendors involved the first 2 years but the first 1 that stepped up for the plate was Ricolman and Douglas Dynamics and you have been heavily involved in AFCA and now Snow Fighters Institute with our initiative in Alaska. So obviously Douglas Dynamics sees benefits from business standpoint and supporting the trade associations that are dedicated to the snow industry. Do you find it rewarding to you personally? Because you are involved, there's gonna be a good reason for that.

27:08 Mark Adamson

Yeah, I do find it that and I maybe back to that family concept but I feel that even personally myself, I have a responsibility to give back to the industry and I do that -- obviously you know whatever talent that I have and participation and rolling up the shirt sleeves that I can provide -- you know I was on the legislative day of the hill. I just recently been elected to the board of directors for SIMA so I certainly don't shy away from responsibility to become involved in and see that the industry moves forward in a positive way and you know that things that I get out of it besides you -- you know what you expect friendship, great people, a sense of belonging. It's that voice of the customer. It's the bringing back to my company. You know the way we can participate obviously through commerce is providing you all more efficient products and products that meet the needs of our customer based on a broader and broader scope.

28:15 John Allin

We're here with Mark Adamson from Douglas Dynamics. Douglas Dynamics is the parent company of Western, Fisher, Blizzard and now SnowEx. Mark, if you would please, if you could just stick around for a couple of minutes. We got to take a short break and I've got more questions for you.

28:30 Mark Adamson


28:36 S

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30:07 S

Most snow contractors have the field stack. Keep track of what they do when it is snowing. They feel fill out forms, record reliable time to mark down what's been done at the site and sometimes they even write down when they finish a site or around then all that paper gets turned into the office. Hopefully, maybe, eventually. It's a slow process. Sometimes it's even a vision. Sometimes it's a pain in the butt. It's definitely old school. Today, technology has allowed all these paper to be eliminated. Reporting what's been completed almost immediately. This elimination of paperwork also minimizes the chances of human error. Invoicing can happen within minutes not days. Accounting can be considered up to date. The same day the work is completed and not some time this month. How does this happen? With crew tracker software. Crew tracker was developed by a snow contractor for snow contractors.

30:20 John Allin

Now, so how do see those Dynamics fitting into dealing with that particular challenge and what does Douglas Dynamics having works that would help I mean you talked about efficiency certainly the wide out and the big plates have helped. There is anything that you are able to share with the audience of things that are going on in the Douglas Dynamics room to bring to the table that could help with that particular challenge.

31:08 S

Crew tracker marries up with quick books and crew tracker reports what's being completed as it's completed. Crew tracker can even text a __31:23__ truck that the site has been cleared and is ready for sold. All using crew trackers software. Crew tracker welcome to the 21st Century.

31:38 Lori Hammon

This is Lori Hammon from About Times Now in the greater Philadelphia area and you are listening to managing snow and ice with John Allin on Blog Talk Radio.

31:50 John Allin

Welcome back everyone to managing snow and ice. I'm your host John Allin. I'm here with Tammy Johnson my co-host and our special guest this evening is Mark Adamson from Douglas Dynamic. They are the parent company of Blizzard, Western and Fisher which almost everybody knows and most recently SnowEx. Mark, Tammy and I were talking over the commercial break and she reminded me that -- so that I can be fair to all of your people that Ricolman actually came to the second SIMA symposium in 1999 and was very complementary of what we were doing and wanted to get involved, so Douglas Dynamics was the first step up to the plate and become involved with SIMA and that's to Douglas Dynamics credit as far as I am concern. You know I'm curious what do you and maybe you as Douglas Dynamics or you as Mark Adamson see as a biggest challenges facing the snow industry as it continues to evolve, just thought on it.

32:54 Mark Adamson

Actually, I'll word back to the symposium, the recent SIMA symposium that I was actually a panel member on. In fact, I think you are in the audience but the same question came from Martin, the executive officers Simon asked that of us the panel and my response was margin compression. Now, I just said those two words and I was kind of amazing because I've got applause from the audience (laughs) I think it's a first time margin compression ever drew applause, but I think it was a conversation that I had on the hall with several of them that they were -- you know it's really refreshing that a manufacturer gets it that you understand the pain and I think it has been the touch point walking in the __33:39__ because no doubt about it -- you know there is a lot of stress certainly from the top end in a very competitive market place especially for those that are unwilling to embrace change but also from the bottom too from the cost end. I mean you take a look at what's happening -- you know fuel cost and certainly labor challenges that are out there, but -- you know one of -- you are, and several fashion as you know the escalating insurance cost that continue to put stress on those same margins and that's why -- you know throws me to the land that had recent success on the HR 2655 -- you know passing through congress on the lawsuit -- you know a privilege of lawsuit abuse act -- you know it's things like that immigration reforms. Those types of things that as a manufacturer -- you know it be easier for us to ignore and that's the industry's problem but we do get involved in those type of things and try to alleviate -- you know that type of stress on our customer based, but behind that the things that obviously we can immediately provide is more efficient product, I mean no doubt about it the ability to you know do your job more efficiently will help that cost and so the products that we provide always -- you know without a doubt had durability and reliability in mind I mean we don't sacrifice quality for anything and we don't sacrifice well, -- you know even safety is another end of it but shortly on that hills of both of those is efficiency trying to make sure that our customers are more efficient.

35:57 Mark Adamson

Yeah. Obviously, I'm not privy to explore -- you know future products that are down the pipeline but I think just our culture and our activity is one that demonstrates that you know it is continuous improvement this year when most of the industry was looking as one from very low snow fall certainly -- you know the year before and the slow -- snow start last year. We just introduced we at 12 new Blizzard products plows we have 18 new Western plows I think 18 in the same on the Fisher side, so -- you know nearly 50 new entries as well as skid loader plows, pusher plows for wheel loaders and try to load out backhoes and UTV plows etc. So, you know we are looking for the entry of products of a lot of different rooms and types of equipment but I certainly don't want to belittle the efficiency just in a V plow over a straight plane and I guess in the __37:00__ if one hinge is good, two hinges are better. Expandable V plow or expandable plow like you said a wide out XLS as well as the power plow on the Blizzard type. I mean you will get testimonials over and over again from customers, let say -- you know were talking to 30% to 50% more efficient (crosstalk). Yeah. We actually have a calculator that's on all three of the plow websites that you can basically put in whatever your current plow is. I mean we've got competitors up there too, we are no shrinking violets. You put in your plow and then you compare to a V-Plow or you compared it expandable multi hinge plow and you can really see the savings at of fast and the numbers through there and again numbers are one thing I know website testimonials or another but I've come and contact with plenty of customers out there and one customers actually -- you know related very well, he said -- you know with the efficiency that I picked up in this particularly case is wide out.

38:04 Mark Adamson

He said "I actually I'm doing the same jobs with two trucks that it was doing with three" and you have a plows that is more efficient and yes it costs a little bit more, I am not going to say it doesn't, but he said that true savings comes not in the jobs that I do, but the fact that I was actually to be able to eliminate the truck. I was able to eliminate due cost, driver, insurance, the goals along with that I mean there is lot of things beyond just the fact that the plow or the blade is more productive. Where even seen in -- while the president of Simons, Mark Anderson. He actually rewards his subcontractors because he knows that there more efficient with the wide out plow of power plow from Blizzard that he will pay them premium if there are __38:59__ with those types of products so that's not unusual but that it a testimonial because again they would not additional to those money if they didn't know it was order.

39:10 John Allin

Well, it all translate and no additional margin for the contractor and insurance of that with the service providers who have more efficient equipment is certainly appropriate and we can do that I know that they are many, many contractors around the country that pay a differential for having more efficient equipment available to bring to the table and it's good for everybody, so what year -- what year essentially saying here is that the advances in technology whether there were actually brought about by Douglas Dynamics of somebody to Douglas Dynamics purchase in form of Blizzard It translates into high margins for the contractor and make some more competitive and that's a good thing so there is a -- apparently you will have an investment in the success of the contractors 40:00 because -- you know quite honest they are not making any money. It's not gonna buy any new equipment so that's all good stuff. Mark, if you are able to discuss it, if you even know, what's in the works for Douglas Dynamics and you know the future of the various manufacturing and it is under the Douglas Dynamics umbrella. I mean are you guys gonna buy more companies. Are you gonna expand your product line?

40:29 Mark Adamson

Well, we are always looking to improve and again serve the customer base. You can make the inferences from there. We actually have a saying that a perfect yesterday and free. Customers want three things, they want it perfect, they want it yesterday and they want it free. Now I do not think we're gonna be giving them for free. We are a public company but certainly -- you know it's gonna be a value type of a proposition but the things we do from the manufacturing side are exactly that. I mean that the ongoing quest for perfection improving quality is the ongoing quest to be able to be as responsive as possible to the market place we really do that to our lean initiatives. If you haven't again been back to the factory recently like I say -- it changes everyday because of the mindset that we promote and that is there's always a better way and so you know lean is continues improvement and I think you will see the manufacturing to discontinue the focus on the high quality products spreading industry leading service levels and with the acquisition of TrynEx in May in our Madison ice location in Michigan. You know they have already started the lane journey because those are one of the things we can bring to them as a long term quality manufacturer to continue to take a great product and make it even better.

41:59 John Allin

That is good to hear. That's very good to hear. Alright now, I mean to ask you a more personal question, not Mark Adamson, Senior Vice President Marketing at Douglas Dynamics but Mark Adamson as a person who has a vested interest in the snow industry. If you could dream, and if you could see those dreams come to __42:23__ tell our audience what those dreams might consist of.

42:29 Mark Adamson

Well, that is a great question. I think I have a new found respect and I'm such a fan of the industry and those people that fights now amidst. It's almost like being a spectator sport from watching football or basketball. It is something that I could never do. I don't think I'd have to wear it all and certainly not the guts and the stamina to pull off with a pull off but that does not mean I can't be in the stands, root them on and be a fan and I think if I had 1 dream, I think it would be that snow fighters would achieve the same level of respect as a fireman, as a policeman, as people that -- you know risk their lives for the good man. You know, at the very list, they are out there, 2 a.m. in the morning. It does not matter what time. I mean they are out there and they are at the very least keeping businesses open. You know they make sure of commerces humming. They make sure GMP -- you know they contributed to GMP -- I mean they are doing all those types of things keep thing country, you know, open in the hours that they are supposed to open and moving along as they are supposed to move but I think would sometime gets belittled in a situation when you have really a crisis situation. I mean a snow is not different than a hurricane or tornado. I mean it is a natural in some cases disaster if it gets to blizzard level -- that you need somebody to rush in and save you and you know, like I said on the top end. They are saving lives. They are reducing the risk of vehicle deaths. Flip and falls -- even to the point of allowing a doctor and/or a patient -- you know get into a hospital for that life-saving procedure. So I think if I had a dream, I think you know, snow fighters would rank right up there with the firemen and the policemen of the world and get the respect that they really deserve.

44:09 Mark Adamson

I appreciate that I'll give you big Amen for exactly you iteration of the same.

44:25 John Allin

I don't think I have ever heard it put in a more concise and forthright manner than what you have just said. I've heard a lot of contractors say that the people that buy their services often look at them as individuals who can't find real jobs when in fact, they are working in horrendous conditions. Actually, risking their lives at times to provide safe environments for the people who drive and walk on the sides that we maintain and I think that makes them professionals, and you put it very well and I thank you as a former snow contractor and somebody who is heavily involved in the snow industry. Thank you for that that was well put.

45:15 John Allin

We have spent the last 45 minutes with Mark Adamson from Douglas Dynamics. They are the parent company of Blizzard, Western, Fisher and now SnowEx. It has been a wonderful 45 minutes. Thank you for taking time out of your evening. I know you got a really busy schedule. You travel more than I do, which is hard to do and I'm very pleased that you took a time and I hope that you have found it rewarding because I know our audience will have. Thank you so very much.

45:48 Mark Adamson

Thank you.

45:50 John Allin

Okay, Tammy. We're gonna take a short break and then we're gonna come back with the fourth quarter of managing snow and ice.

46:02 S

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47:20 S

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48:32 Tom Boland

This is Tom Boland from Columbia Landcare in Columbia, Missiouri and you are listening to managing snow and ice with John Allin on Blog Talk Radio.

48:42 John Allin

Welcome back everyone to the fourth quarter of managing snow and ice. I'm your host John Allin. I'm here with my co-host, Tammy Johnson. Tammy, Mark is -- he's a smart guy. I always loved talking to him.

48:59 Tammy Johnson

It was actually a wonderful interview with him. I learned some things I did not know.

49:05 John Allin

and that's what we are trying to do. It's just educate the audience about different people and companies in the snow industry whether they're manufacturers or snow contractors. We are gonna have a snow contractor here on in just a couple of minutes. Tell us what's going at the Snow Fighters Institute.

49:26 Tammy Johnson

Well last week, I told you about Joe Bayonne participating in the 2014 inner circle and tonight I get to tell you that we have added another event to the calendar. It's called sales strategies and it is for anyone looking to really practice the art of selling. We are fortunate to have George Gaumer, former Vice President and General Manager of Davey Commercial Landscape services facilitating that event with you. In addition, changes are being made to all of our offerings in one way or another and to sales form events in 2014 will also see a new facilitator. Ed Laflamme will be facilitating the sale form events this year with you. He sold his company after growing it to over 7 millions dollars in sales. So he is sure to bring his own dynamic into this very popular session. Of course all of our events will be published online once schedule is set and that should be here on next week. So I encourage all of your listeners to visit our website often, snowfightersinstitute.com to check out all that we have to offer.

50:37 John Allin

And you know the sales strategies form that we are going to do with George Gaumer should be considered in advanced form for sales type event and that if you've been to the forum for sales, coming to the advanced one. We'll really take what you have already learned and I've been trying to take it to the next level and it's gonna be intense. It's gonna be -- we are gonna be putting everybody to the test so that they can go back and be really successful.

51:04 Tammy Johnson

And it is only going to be offered once in 2014 so they want to make sure they're -- look at that schedule and get it into their calendar.

51:15 John Allin

Okay, what do you say, let's go to sounding off.

51:19 John Allin

We have got with us, Tim Gibbons, who is the CEO of TSI in Chicago. He is also a CEO of the year for the Snow and Ice Management Association. Tim Welcome back to the broadcast.

51:19 Tammy Johnson

Sounds good! Who do we have tonight?

51:37 Tim Gibbons

It's good to be back John, how are you?

51:39 John Allin

I'm good. You know, we have just come through, you know, the first of the holiday season. The first holiday, we have gotten pass that and I mean -- weary is now upon us even though it may not have hit hard in the Chicago land area and if it does come, we had a guys on the broadcast a few weeks ago, who told us that he thought that there would be a 7 to 9 inch snowfall in the first half. Tammy, did he say first half or second half of December.

52:13 Tammy Johnson

I think it was second half for Chicago. First half for Boston.

52:17 John Allin

Yeah, so you might have a big one coming and if it hits, are you ready?

52:24 Tim Gibbons

Oh yeah, I would like to say we are ready. At this point, there has been a lot of changes, adjustments, shifting on the fly. You know customers change, vendors change, employees change. We've done a lot of training. We've done a lot of prep. We've accessed training modules with our clients and their proper use of the wet portals to monitor our crew tracker progress throughout and event and we are pretty excited, really.

52:56 John Allin

You you've got a pre-extensive training program there for the fellows that work for you out in the field and you have taken out a step further and you actually train customers on how they can better deal with you and your operations. I think that is very progressive and you know I imagine that between you and Joe, your son, you guys have brought a very progressive attitude to the snow market there and with some of the changes that inevitably occur in any company -- you guys are pretty numble on your feet, aren't you?

53:33 Tim Gibbons

Well, I didn't know how we feel. I didn't I feel nimble in the last month or so with preparation. But I'm much more confident that our preparation will pay off. We've gotten some very good feedback from the customers and there ability to access real time data without even a phone call to us and that it takes some of the heat off of our field personnel. Our area supervisors, to focus on the task at hand rather than the field inquiry calls when we're engaged in a battle and they're very upbeat and positive that we are giving them this resource as well as the -- you know our suppliers, they are out there have a new app that they can use just to simplify their calling procedures for documenting services.

54:27 John Allin

Now, last year was -- you know fair and light. You didn't get quite -- I remember talking to you on the broadcast as we were getting into the early part of the year and you guys had a pretty mild fall, didn't you.

54:46 Tim Gibbons

We did, we had a lot of precept but it was mostly liquid. We were on the warm side of most of the events through December and January with a very little snow fall by the end of January and so our winter was back and loaded. Uhm, February and March and this year, my meteorologist is telling me that we can expect slightly above average with a front deck loaded winter, which we prefer tremendously for efficiency and maintaining a workforce and keeping them engaged, and their learning curve you know.

55:27 John Allin

As long as the first one's not 2 feet.

55:30 Tim Gibbons

Oh, absolutely, absolutely that -- you know kind of easing to it with incremental or a larger event and just adjust anything that was not smooth, the first go around.

55:46 John Allin

You think that the fact that you had a rear loaded winter. Where most of your snowfall came in the last portion of the winter, you think that helped her hurt for the upcoming winter.

56:01 Tim Gibbons

Well you know in most of the customer's mind, there was no slow last year, for the most part. The workforce was certainly convinced by middle of February that this was a viable employment opportunity for them. So we convinced them to come back. So they're coming in with a better attitude then the wondering that they had in the early part were in last year this was very worth the investment of their commitment, so that is reassuring and the fact that when the snows did come, our biggest one was about 9 inches in the first couple days of March last year.. We performed very well and the customers remembered that.

56:42 John Allin

Good! Well, so it sounds like it was a good experience. Unfortunately, when it does not snow at all around the holidays, people tend to think that there was no snow for the winter. I get the -- you now it's something that we snow contractors have had to deal with for decades and decades as we never really what's gonna happen. So are you praying for a lot, or you're praying for little.

57:10 Tim Gibbons

Well you know what, I like my snow in 2 to 3 inch increment, where everyone agrees it needed to be done and it's not stressful on the equipment and the personnel and we can go out there and we can shove them how really efficient we are then put the event to bed so to speak in short order and get geared up for the next one.

57:33 John Allin

Well, that is something that I think most snow contractors would agree on and that it would be nice if they all come in 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inch dump. Although if its 3.9, most of them are looking for 4.1. Never quite satisfied.

57:46 Tim Gibbons

Never quite satisfied.

57:49 John Allin

Yeah, I understand how that works. Well, listen. I know you are busy. I know you are still getting for the winter even though it is upon us and I thank you so much for taking some time out of your evening to spend with us and that just tell us how it's going in Chicago. I can tell you that all the people that I talk to, we tell them -- let's pray for snow everywhere including Chicago this year, unlike last year in December when you didn't get any.

58:17 Tim Gibbons

Yeah, well thanks for those good thoughts and I will send them out to my fellow snow fighters. I hope that whatever we get is manageable on our fronts and our clients recognize the professionalism and the preparation we put in each and every season.

58:32 John Allin

Tim Gibbons, TFIN Chicago. Thank you so much for coming back on the broadcast and we will talk to you either during the winter or right afterwards to see how it went.

58:42 Tim Gibbons

Okay you take care John.

58:44 John Allin

Alright, Tammy, tell us about next week's guest.

58:47 Tammy Johnson

Well next week, we have with us Warren Gracious. Gracious is an internationally acclaimed professional speak, best-selling author, broadcaster, podcaster, educational products producer and former minor league baseball team owner. He has been traveling the world for the past 25 years building his brand. He has produced audio and video programs in the areas of sales success, customer service and time management including the award winning super charge selling the power to be the best. His book the best **** sales book ever, 16 Rock Solid Rules for Achieving Sales Success. Has been a business best seller and its available throughout the world. His newest book, the best **** management book ever, 9 Keys to Developing self-motivated high achievers is in bookstores everywhere across the nation. He has served on the board of directors in the National Speakers Association and in 1998 was awarded their highest designation when her was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame.

59:58 John Allin

And my discussions with Mr. Gracious in preparation for the interview have shown me that he is a really dynamic individual and I think its gonna be a dynamite interview.

1:00:13 John Allin

Okay, well as we approach the end of yet another broadcast, I want to remind our audience that it is winter time. Regardless if you happen to be in an area where the temperatures are currently in a 55-degree range or maybe even 60 or if its approaching zero. Winter is upon us, if you haven't prepared, do so now and remember that in our world, if you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. Thank you everyone we will talk to you again next week. Good night.

1:00:13 Tammy Johnson

I would agree wholeheartedly.

1:01:00 Tammy Johnson

Good night.

1:01:01 S

Thank you for listening to managing snow and ice with John Allin, co-hosted by Tammy Johnson. Join us next week for another interesting insight into the business of snow and ice. Remember, you can listen to this show and others by visiting johnallin.com where all of our past shows are available for you to listen to, anytime night or day.