Grove City Record

Fans of severe winter weather to gather in Columbus

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Not everyone in the Midwest was utterly appalled by this past winter's repeated arctic blasts of snow and ice.

Trade association members who will attend an annual show and symposium in the Greater Columbus Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Columbus June 18-21 view snowfall as a windfall.

"Honestly, I don't know if they pray for bad weather," said Martin Tirado, executive director of the Milwaukee-based Snow and Ice Management Association.

"(Association members) do hope there is snowfall, and significant snowfall," Tirado said.

"In our industry, people had a great winter, both on the contractor side and in manufacturing.

"Obviously, we're in an industry that's very weather-dependent, so there are highs and lows," he said.

The trade association leader pointed out there were several mild winters prior to the harsh one of 2013-14, which he termed a "little bit of a wake-up call."

"We live in a cold-weather, four-season environment and we need to be prepared for it," Tirado said.

The people who will attend the 17th annual Snow and Ice Management Symposium at the convention center are the private-sector equivalent of the "snow warriors," as Columbus officials like to call them, who operate snowplows to clear streets when precipitation takes on solid form.

"We're the companies that remove snow and ice on parking lots at shopping malls, office complexes," Tirado said. "Anything that's not roads or highways, that's what our people do."

While it might not seem like there could possibly be anything new under the winter sun regarding getting snow and ice off parking lots, the association's executive director said innovations happen all the time and are discussed at the symposium.

"It gets better every year with the use of liquid snow and ice removal," said Tirado, who has headed the association for the past decade. "It continues to evolve every year."

The nonprofit organization was founded in 1996, according to its website, sima.org.

A pre-conference workshop at the city of Columbus complex also is planned. It will include a facility tour and sessions about brine-making and equipment-cleaning, according to a press release.

Tirado said he expects about 1,500 to attend the symposium, mostly from throughout North America, but also including some from Europe and even China.

The annual meeting moves around to various cities, the executive director said, but always in areas that experience winter weather, which made Ohio's capital an easy choice.

"Columbus is a nice city, very centrally located ... very accessible to that larger section of the country," Tirado said.

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