This past week in Grand Rapids, SIMA had a blast meeting old friends and finding new ones. Overall, the week was amazing and positive, but I found out some pretty shocking news as well; the snow industry lost a great warrior for our cause this past May with the passing of Rick Winnestaffer, CSP. I knew Rick and worked with him in several capacities at SIMA over the past 15 years.
If you knew Rick at all, you knew he was a force to be reckoned with. He wasn’t a big guy, but his personality was 10 feet tall and if you wanted to go up against him, you put your big boy/girl pants on to do it. He was a savvy businessman who served 2 full terms as a SIMA Board member. During that tenure, he served as Chair for the Board of Governors for the Certified Snow Professional program and as the Chair of the Executive Search Committee on the Board, which ultimately led to the selection of Martin Tirado as SIMA CEO. He was a charter member of SIMA and one of the first CSP’s. Every challenge that came his way he seemed to meet head-on, he did not shy away, ever. He was extremely passionate about the snow and green industries and the perceptions associated with them, with a goal of always presenting them as professional services.
Rick and I worked together in multiple capacities, and we didn’t always agree. He gave me some of the best advice of my career, and it was hard advice to give. He never pulled his punches and he did not appear to hold grudges, and ultimately I am a better executive at SIMA thanks to his ability to both challenge AND support me at the same time. He made many friends at SIMA and his presence at the show will be missed.
On behalf of SIMA and all your colleagues Rick; we will always remember you and wish your family the best.