Team members sit listening to leaders at Perficut 2023 Snow kick-off meeting


“Welcome to the biggest kick-ass snow removal team in the world!” shouts safety director Doug Fulton. Perficut’s employees cheer in response. Each season before the snow flies, Team Perficut gathers together for their annual Snow Kick-Off.

Throughout the two-hour event, which starts after a hearty lunch, Perficut’s team leaders recognize stellar employees, extra team efforts, and successes in new business. Doug reminds everyone of important safety considerations as the snow season approaches. President and CEO Matt Boelman gives a special shout-out to the team from Quality Care who made the trip to Des Moines. As of this summer, Perficut and Quality Care work as one company in the Cedar Rapids area, and the merger has been a success from the start. Finally, Matt and founder Kory Ballard cap off the afternoon by inducting Cassie O’Brien into Perficut’s Hall of Fame.

What makes Perficut a special place to work is its family atmosphere, and the Snow Kick-Off event is why: Teams work together and celebrate together.

Team Perficut sits in chairs listening to president and CEO Matt Boelman speak at 2023 Snow Kick-off


It’s obvious that snow season is a busy time for Perficut. Its success during the short but intense winter months has helped make Perficut the biggest snow-removal company in the Midwest, but it also brings hazards. “For every dollar we make, our risk doubles,” Doug says. It’s an important reminder that team members can’t just hop off a mower and onto a plow without some important changes in mindset.

Over the years Doug has been our Safety Director (he’s now semi-retired but still is passionate about keeping the team safe), he has learned that some things can’t be repeated often enough. He calls out the risks team members face in a snow event, starting with the drive to the event. “Slow down,” he urges. Then, wear proper footwear, which means boots with good tread. When getting in and out of equipment, use three points of contact—two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand—every time to avoid falls. Remember that these events, once they start, can go all night and all day. Fatigue is sure to happen, so try to rest, hydrate, and eat well BEFORE the event, he stresses. And finally, he recommends putting together a snow kit like he has, which includes gloves, a hat, power bars, change of socks, pain relief, and a phone charger.

“All these preparations are important,” Doug says. And the biggest takeaway he left with the group was how important communication is. “Communicate with the team,” he says. “Let them know about job site changes. Watch for fatigue and cold stress in each other. Let everyone know about equipment needs.”

Lance Weigel, Perficut’s Director of Snow Operations, echoes everything Doug put out there. “Rest, hydrate, and line up childcare prior to the event,” he says. Someone yells out a question: “When will it snow, Lance?” And he replies, “I’ll do a snow dance in a month.”

Matt Boelman and Kory Ballard present Hall of Fame award to Cassie O'Brien


Lots of laughter, joking, and high spirits make the Snow Kick-Off a fun event. As Bob Runyon, Des Moines Branch Manager, points out, “The funnest times we have is when we get together as a team.” He keeps the group laughing with a story about sunflower seeds flying out of the air vents in a truck he climbed into. But he adds a serious note, too: “During a snow event, everyone can get tired, everyone can get frustrated. Help each other out,” he says. “Find a reason to come to work and support the team.”

The blend of humor and seriousness was evident throughout the event. Leaders call out teams and members who have gone above and beyond in various areas this year, including the floral department for taking over a new contract midseason, how well the irrigation team handles its big client list, and what a good job Tommy Lucas does in commercial site management.

Then Matt and Kory step in to wrap up the event by inducting Cassie O’Brien into Perficut’s Hall of Fame. Cassie was Perficut’s Chief Operating Officer, and though she has moved on to other professional challenges, Kory and Matt say they can’t stress enough how much she contributed to Perficut’s growth and success. “We wouldn’t be where we are today if not for Cassie,” Kory says. She came aboard at Perficut in order to apply for SN9001 certification, which is a snow management standard few companies can achieve. “Cassie developed a plan for getting us there, and we did it in three months,” Matt says. “We were the third company in the world to do so.”

Matt and Kory present Cassie with the award and share some emotion as they talk about the partnership they had when Cassie worked at Perficut. “She’s a fixer by nature,” Matt says. “If you’re ever in trouble and need someone to get you out, Cassie is the one to do it.”

With that reminder that Perficut is always a team — even when members move off to other pursuits — the Snow Kick-Off ends. People linger to chat and catch up with colleagues from other parts of the state and to greet the Quality Care team members.

Even though Lance jokes that he can bring on snow with his dance moves, the Perficut team doesn’t know when or where it’ll arrive. But they’ll be ready.

Don’t wait. Become a part of this close-knit and supportive team.
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