Two years ago when Nick Sargent took over as President of SIA, he needed to rebuild bridges with key industry stakeholders and become more transparent through efforts like "Nick's Notes". He believes the industry is too fractured, and has created a coalition of industry associations to look for meaningful ways to share a unified voice.
Nick Sargent, President of SIA, shares the biggest challenges after being named president and how SIA is committed to industry growth.
What were your biggest challenges when you took over SIA, first in a transitional role, and then succeeding David Ingemie in January 2016, and what steps have you taken to address them?
The biggest challenges in taking over SIA more than 2 years ago have been regaining the trust of the industry. When I took over, there seemed to be a pure distaste within the ranks for the change that SIA had tried to initiate over the years prior to my role. Along with moving the association to Park City and selling the Snow Show, I’ve had to rebuild bridges with key industry stake holders and regain the trust. Through efforts like “Nick’s Notes”, we been able to share a product transparent look into what SIA has been doing to re-build the trust, but also answer the hard questions on how SIA is doing and how we’re moving the ball forward.
You have previously stated that the industry is too fractured: "For some reason, some feel like it is okay to fracture the industry to go chase down their own interests and say 'I can do it alone.’” The industry is more than just SIA and your members, it includes the resort members of NSAA and the travel side of the equation represented by MTS. How do you see these three organizations working together?
The industry is too fractured! Proof of this is the consolidation which has happened at the resort, retail and supplier level. The associations which support the collective industry are not immune to consolidation. I’ve created a coalition of industry associations to address the obvious and look for more meaningful ways to share in a unified voice. I’m working towards creating more data which will exploit the entire winter industry; resort, retail, supplier, hospitality and work towards developing our industry’s economic footprint.
What piece of advice or mantra do you think is the most pertinent for our industry to hear as it relates to what SIA is trying to accomplish?
Trust, participation and community. We’ve proven to be a trusted association which has delivered back to the industry for over 60 years. We are going to prove this again and again as we move forward with the industry’s best interest in mind. Participation is everyone’s mission. We need to be working harder and be more transparent with our key stakeholders to drive tomorrow’s consumers. This is a key initiative for SIA and we will see this thru. Lastly, Community. We are an extremely passionate group of winter fans. We all got into this business because of the fun and stoke factor. Whether you’re a skier, snowboarder, back country, big mountain etc., the stoke is the same and our community is friggin amazing when we’re firing on all cylinders.
Industry growth has been a huge issue that both SIA and NSAA have dedicated tons of time and resources to. What ideas are out there that you think will stick?
Industry growth is everyone’s mission as I referenced above. SIA is committed to growth. As such, we are hiring a new participation manager to help SIA understand which participation programs are moving the needle and which ones are not. We want to help the movers come up with more useful business practices for the participation programs which appear to have bottomed out. We believe that there are no bad participation programs out there, some just need more help than others.
Do you have any specific ideas for how SIA and MTS can work together to benefit both organizations and their stakeholders?
We’re all in the service business one way or another. We all make our living through winter / outdoor sports. By aligning ourselves, problem solving and being solution oriented, there’s nothing our individual groups can’t accomplish. I look forward to widening the relationship between SIA & MTS to identify the common issues and work for a better tomorrow.
We are excited to have you as a presenter of an MTS Talk in South Lake Tahoe. What are you looking forward to most about MTS and your MTS Talk?
I too am excited to attend and speak at the MTS conference. I really excited to speak of the commonality our industry face along with looking at solutions to get more people outdoors and playing in the snow. I feel we can do this and do it well together. As I’ve said before, not one astronaut made it to the moon alone, but with a team we can land a space ship.