New York Officials Fired for Snow Storm Response

Winter Storm Stella

Think you can’t be fired for failing to respond adequately to inclement weather? Think again. The mayor of Binghamton, New York, fired two of the City’s top Public Works officials following heavy criticism from residents about poor snow removal during Winter Storm Stella. The storm buried the city, and its residents, under 32 inches of snow.

According to the mayor, “Winter Storm Stella’s historic snowfall exposed long-term deficiencies in the City’s Public Works operation. Substantial changes and improvements are necessary to ensure City Hall provides the best service possible to residents. Mediocrity is not acceptable.”

Much of the city remained unplowed for two days, preventing schools from reopening. All despite a 48-member crew that worked around the clock using 24 regular plows, along with six from the New York State Department of Transportation.

While officials fired back citing inadequate funds and county equipment to address the storm, the mayor countered that this “was not an isolated incident.”

Along with replacing the officials, the city will review “its fleets of vehicles, equipment, equipment operators, drivers and training programs” along with a reassessment of “its emergency snow protocols and on-street parking rules.”

Don’t let the next major storm catch you off guard. Contact us to learn how Plow Ops™ helps state and local agencies plan ahead for a storm event, monitor plowing operations while increasing efficiency and reduce weather-related delays.

That’s a Wrap for the 2017 APWA Snow Conference!

APWA Plow Ops

From presenting “Utilizing Mobile Apps for Weather Responsive Traffic” as part of the FAST TRACK education sessions to demoing our latest version of Plow Ops, we loved sharing best practices to help agencies improve safety and efficiency during winter operations at the 2017 APWA Snow Conference.

The number of regions across the country that experienced historic snow events during the 2016/17 snow season proved top of mind for attendees. For that reason, industry attitude toward digitizing and improving winter operations has truly grown from “nice to have” to “must have.”

Conference-goers agreed that Plow Ops provides tremendous improvements in operational efficiency and safety at very low cost. We loved hearing the different ways attendees planned to use Plow Ops to drive value for their organization:

  • Materials cost savings;
  • Verification of plow status to avoid false litigation;
  • Route optimization;
  • Getting items out of memory and into tracking;
  • And so much more!

While a majority of return on investment will come from winter operations, fleet managers are excited to use Plow Ops features and functionality year round. At our booth, we received a lot of questions about landscaping applications, from tree trimming to leaf collection, as well as road maintenance applications like manhole covers and sign maintenance. We’re happy to say that Plow Ops can support you outside of the winter season as well.

A big thanks to all the agencies that accepted our exclusive Plow Ops offer for APWA attendees, which provides highly discounted pricing and a 90-day, money-back guarantee. We’re looking forward to helping you become modern snow fighters!

APWA Plow Ops RTIC Winner
RTIC Cooler Winner!

And, oh yeah, congrats to all our RTIC cooler winners! On the NeoTreks team, we’re outdoorsmen at heart. And we can’t get enough of these coolers that are built for finding comfort well outside your comfort zone.

See you next year!

NeoTreks, Inc. Announces the Launch of Plow Ops™

CASTLE ROCK, CO — April 11, 2017 — NeoTreks, Inc., a geospatial development company, announces the launch of Plow Ops, a SaaS-enabled workforce intelligence ecosystem that improves safety and increases efficiency during winter snow plowing operations.

“Many regions of the country experienced historic snow events during this past 2016/17 snow season and we are pleased to launch Plow Ops to help organizations respond to the coming snow events in the 2017/18 snow season,” commented Michael E. Bullock, president and CEO of NeoTreks, Inc.

“Plow Ops provides tremendous improvements in operational efficiency and safety at very low cost – using the smart devices that plow operators already use and no hardware infrastructure costs.”

Plow Ops includes a suite of iOS and Android mobile applications for snow plow operators that dynamically interact with a powerful online cloud service, managed by a business intelligence dashboard for operations supervisors, administrators and public officials. Route assignment and status information is driven from the dashboard to field operators, who can easily and safely report observational data and status back to storm managers.

Highlights of the platform include:

  • A low cost, cloud-based solution, requiring no customer infrastructure. The Plow Ops backend handles all GIS route data, user management with roles-based access for supervisors, administrators, storm managers and more. This means no new investment in server infrastructure and no increase in workload for critical internal IT staff.
  • A map-centric business intelligence dashboard, which allows a supervisor to set up teams in geographic zones prior to the storm and provides live stats (including an automatic route percentage complete for every route) during active plow operations.
  • A full accounting of all operations throughout the course of a snow event, which allows for a reporting debrief to understand the effectiveness of each response.
  • Mobile applications are openly available on the Google Play and Apple App Store, making Plow Ops a “bring your own device” solution. This makes Plow Ops ideal for public organizations that rely on private contractors, who can utilize the smartphones and tablets they already own.

NeoTreks is releasing a fully functional version of Plow Ops at the APWA Snow Show on April 23, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa. During the conference, NeoTreks is providing a special APWA offer, which provides highly discounted pricing and a 90-day money back guarantee for those who join the Plow Ops subscription plan beginning next Fall.

For more information on NeoTreks, visit

Why Are So Many Organizations Turning To SaaS?

Is your state or local agency still hesitant about the cloud? You’re not alone.

The Public Sector’s initial skepticism of cloud computing was driven by security and migration concerns. However, the success of cloud computing as on-demand delivery of various types of technology solutions such as storage, software development, business applications, data center activities and other IT-related services can no longer be discounted.

Amazon Web Services was among the first major cloud providers to comply with the federal government’s cloud security standards, and it’s the platform behind a number of innovative state and local government deployments. In fact, Amazon is even providing cloud services to the CIA.

AT&T is used by a number of public-sector agencies and touts its ability to secure agency resources and citizen data in the cloud. And Google Apps for Government has states like Wyoming, Colorado and Utah taking advantage of the cost, scalability and innovation associated with cloud capabilities.

Now that the barriers to cloud no longer exist, there has been tremendous demand for software as a service (SaaS) solutions that run in the cloud.

Here are a few benefits of cloud-based SaaS solutions in the public sector that can benefit your business:

  • Reduced costs – With subscription-based SaaS applications, you don’t need to pay license fees, which means lower initial costs. And having a SaaS provider manage your IT infrastructure means you’ll also save money on hardware, software and employee overhead to manage it all.
  • Painless upgrades – Another benefit of a SaaS-managed IT infrastructure is the management of updates and upgrades. Customers don’t have to download or install patches, and there’s no need to add hardware, software or bandwidth as your user base grows.
  • Seamless integration – True SaaS providers, like NeoTreks, can create custom capabilities and scale indefinitely to meet demand. The addition of APIs can also let you integrate with existing enterprise and business productivity systems.

As a cloud-based SaaS solution, Plow Ops can help resource-constrained government agencies take advantage of cloud services to drive safety and efficiency during winter operations. Learn more about the power of Plow Ops.

Winter Operations Trends Report, What You Need to Know

We’re always looking for innovative service offerings to help drive safety and efficiency in exciting new ways. In an effort to stay ahead of the emerging needs of our partners throughout the country, Plow Ops recently concluded research on winter operations trends for 2018. We interviewed various personnel in fleet operations and roadway/utility maintenance at the city, county and state levels. Keep reading for insight into the future of winter operations.

Many communication challenges exist during inclement weather.

Communication during inclement weather can be chaos. Sometimes it can be attributed to poorly mapped communication flow at local, state and federal levels. Sometimes it’s due to equipment damage and malfunction. Regardless of the cause, disaster-resistant communication for both government efficiency and traveler safety is clearly needed.

Disparate systems create serious data management and logistics issues.

Disparate technology solutions are beginning to create serious data management and logistics issues. New technologies are key to staying competitive, but a decades-old system probably won’t support current software securely and efficiently. And demand is high for key staff to understand analytics without depending on IT to streamline operations and stay efficient as a team.

Capturing video from plows ensures HQ makes better decisions.

Video capture in the field avoids ambiguity in real-time condition monitoring, as well as help HQ make better decisions on when to dispatch and where to direct plows. Video capabilities also drive additional efficiencies like helping managers train new hires and helping existing employees improve their efficiency.

Plow Ops has benefits outside the winter season.  

There has been a lot of demand for Plow Ops features and functionality outside of the winter season. After all, most trucks are multi-use across all seasons. We frequently get asked about landscaping applications from tree trimming to leaf collection, as well as road maintenance applications from manhole covers to sign maintenance. There is even the ability to use Plow Ops to report road kill (which brings back fond memories of Road Kill Grill in Montana whose slogan is “From Your Grill to Ours”).

Looking ahead, the future of Plow Ops is bright.

Join Josh Parker, vice president of product development at NeoTreks, as he presents “Utilizing Mobile Apps for Weather Responsive Traffic” as part of the FAST TRACK education sessions at the 2017 APWA Snow Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The session takes place Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at 1PM in room 316-317.

Idaho Digs Out After Record Snowfall. Are You Prepared?

winter operations

Record snowfall in Idaho has left many state and local officials wondering if plow fleets are ready for the next major storm. When it comes to winter operations, knowledge is power. With tools like road condition reporting, driver and route status, and communication tracking and event logs, you can feel confident your fleet is ready to tackle unpredictable weather conditions.

Having more snow on the ground than ever before also means there are more plows in the field. The addition of outsourced plow vendors adds complexity to daily fleet management. The more plows you have to manage simultaneously, the more important it becomes to have one tool to effectively manage multiple use cases and alert drivers to shifting priorities in the field.

With road condition reporting accuracy and timeliness, plow operators can also help reduce the total number of vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities that occur daily on roadways. According to meteorologists at the local National Weather Service, actively checking road conditions for critical incidents and practicing appropriate winter driving will contribute to improving public safety during harsh weather conditions.

Don’t let the next major storm catch you off guard. Contact us to learn how Plow Ops™ helps state and local agencies improve safety, increase efficiency and reduce weather-related delays.

Getting Ready for Winter with Montgomery County, Maryland

winter operations Montgomery County

At the annual 2016 Snow Summit, Montgomery County officials talked about getting ready for winter, the importance of snow removal, and new initiatives to bring residents more accurate and timely weather-related information.

“Snow takes on a life of its own,” said Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County executive. “And, oftentimes, politicians and governments have been measured by snow and our ability to move it.”

After a large snowstorm, Montgomery County officials asked the public to share what could be learned from that experience, and the importance of removing snow was at the top of that list. In response, County executives are rolling out new initiatives to remove snow from more County sidewalks than ever before.

“We have a plan to remove the snow with some of our contract partners on these 350 miles of sidewalk throughout the County,” said Richard Dorsey, chief, highway services division.

With numerous contract partners, up to 250 highway services employees, and 175 pieces of County equipment designated for snow removal, Montgomery County looked to NeoTreks Plow Ops™ to more efficiently track plow driver status and improve road, weather and critical incident reporting. A digital ecosystem that integrates route assignments and reporting, Plow Ops helps state and local agencies like Montgomery County improve safety, increase efficiency and reduce weather-related delays.

Adapting to digital winter operations streamlines the communication process, including accurate and real-time travel information updates. Highlighting the importance of digitizing operations to bring real-time information to the public, County officials are also updating an interactive snow portal residents can access online. Real-time traveler information is critical for ensuring public safety and reducing costly weather-related delays and incidents.



Plow Ops Data Drives the Town of Mead, Colorado

When Chris Larmon started working at the Town of Mead more than two decades ago, plow operations were simple. But that once quiet Colorado town has since quadrupled in size, and the Public Works Department battles to keep up with high service level expectations.

Chris brought in NeoTreks Plow Ops to collect data that will help him keep up with demands, enhance safety and justify increasing the winter operations budget to the town’s Board of Directors. With NeoTreks Plow Ops, Chris will be able to effectively communicate how much plowing work is being done around town, including:

  • Miles plowed
  • Hours worked
  • Days worked
  • Estimated fuel consumption

Along with tracking data, NeoTreks Plow Ops allows Chris and his team to keep a record of all communications to and from plow drivers in the field. These event logs will help track any incidents on the road so they can be addressed quickly and efficiently.

“With Plow Ops, we can get items out of memory and into tracking,” said Chris Larmon, Operations Manager at the Town of Mead Public Works Department. “With the right tools, we can do our part to keep the town safe.”

By leveraging the power of NeoTreks Plow Ops, Chris can compile a holistic report at the end of the winter season. By presenting the right information to the town’s Board of Directors, Chris will be able to successfully communicate why he needs increased budget and manpower to keep the town running smoothly.

According to Michael E. Bullock, President & CEO at NeoTreks, the pilot project with the Town of Mead, “demonstrates that NeoTreks Plow Ops is an affordable, scalable solution that can provide value to organizations of all sizes.”

4 Reasons to Digitize Your Winter Operations

You may feel like you’re getting by with traditional communications at your agency during inclement weather. However, the current cloud-dependent and digital platforms offer more efficient ways to track plow driver status and improve road, weather and critical incident reporting. Keep reading to see if you can benefit from digitizing your winter operations.

1. You’re still using CB radios.
If you are still using the traditional CB radio to communicate with plows on the field, you’re bound to have challenges with human error, communications latency (research shows plow drivers can wait up to 15 minutes to report an issue), and reduced accuracy of the information being reported. Adapting to digital winter operations streamlines the communication process including accurate and real-time travel information updates from plow drivers on the field to Operations Centers and even to the public.

2. You’d like to improve communications with plow drivers.
Dynamic road conditions reporting, weather reporting, critical incident reporting, etc. are difficult to track and relay on a real-time basis. Electronic event logs help get information out of memory and into tracking. Not to mention it helps keep track of the occasional rooster tail damage.

3. You need a better understanding of plow driver status.
Accountability in the workplace is something every manager wants to have. While accountability has a clear link to higher work performance, experts indicate that it also results in improved competency and commitment to work, increased employee morale, and work satisfaction. Accountability enhances creativity and innovation making the employee is more invested in the future of the organization. Going digital can keep your plow drivers accountable for hours of service, percentage of route completed, and real-time location.

4. Lack of real-time traveler information.
Updating traveler information in real time is critical for ensuring public safety and reducing costly weather-related delays and incidents. Accurate road condition reporting results in fewer vehicles crashes, injuries and fatalities.

Do your winter operations stack up?
Take the complete survey and see how your answers compare to the competition.

Join NeoTreks at the 2017 APWA Snow Conference

APWA Plow Ops

We’re proud to announce that NeoTreks has been selected to present “Utilizing Mobile Apps for Weather Responsive Traffic” as part of the FAST TRACK education sessions at the 2017 APWA Snow Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The session takes place Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at 1PM in room 316-317.

The 2017 APWA Snow Conference has it all—from expert-led snow and ice education sessions to an exhibit floor full of experts who can’t wait to show you the latest winter maintenance solutions your community’s been looking for.

Join Josh Parker, Vice President of Product Development at NeoTreks, as he examines how the GIS-IT team at Wyoming DOT worked with NeoTreks and CompassCom to design, develop and deploy an Android tablet application for use with the 600+ plows operating within Wyoming.

The Wyoming DOT Road Condition Reporting Application was designed to improve the frequency, accuracy and timeliness of observational weather data from the plow operators themselves.

Learn how the Wyoming Road Condition Reporting Application helped improve:

  • The efficiency of road condition reporting by maintenance staff
  • Response times when reporting road conditions from Transportation Management Center operations
  • The timeliness of updated traveler information
  • The situational awareness of maintenance staff in the field regarding road weather conditions

After attending this session, you’ll be better able to transfer your workflows from verbal to digital, update the public in real time, and reduce the length of road closures to aid commercial trucking and the motoring public. Come hear how the project turned out and see if your agency could benefit from something similar.

We’ll also have a booth where we’ll be demoing our latest version of NeoTreks Plow Ops and sharing best practices to help professionals like you improve safety and efficiency during winter operations.

And, oh yeah, we’ll be giving away a Yeti cooler! On the NeoTreks team, we’re outdoorsmen at heart. And we can’t get enough of these coolers that are built for finding comfort well outside your comfort zone.

Check us out at Booth #307 and win!