What Just Happened? We Will Emerge Even Stronger!
BY: ROGER S. BRUBAKER, ABC KEYSTONE 2020 CHAIR OF THE BOARD
Wow! The end of this month will mark my halfway point serving as Chair at ABC Keystone. January and February started out the same way many of my predecessors had experienced. There was the first Executive Committee meeting, the All Committee Kickoff event, Inaugural, the first Board of Directors meeting, Economic Breakfast, and mixing with members and prospects at our quarterly Wake-up Call events. I thought, “Gee, I am getting the hang of this Chairman thing! I can do this!”
Then…. it happened: During our Board of Directors meeting on March 19, the word came in from Governor Wolf that construction was to be shut down (along with other businesses) for at least 14 days in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. None of our lives have been the same since.
Since that March Board meeting, my time spent as the ABC Keystone Chair has been anything but “normal.” Our Keystone Chapter team immediately kicked into response mode. What do our members need? How can we help them navigate this crisis? Can the Chapter continue to operate during the shutdown? What does that look like? What about our apprenticeship graduation and upcoming training events? Will there be members who will go out of business because of this shutdown? “Let’s get to work helping our members,” was the resounding response!
As the 14 days turned into a month and then two months, somewhere between the daily discussions with Chapter President-CEO Dave Sload, political briefings from David Greineder, our government affairs director, conference calls with our ABC PA chapters, Zoom meeting preparations, hammering out strategic plans to provide free training, and fulfilling my role at MVE Group, I finally paused to reflect on what has happened.
In my many years of involvement in our Chapter, serving in numerous roles and attending many events, I knew ABC Keystone was a very special chapter. I had no idea how special until my experience the past two months. The comradery, the perseverance, and the determination shown by our staff, our Board, and our members during this most difficult time has been truly extraordinary. COVID-19 was not in our strategic plan, nor was the idea to purchase surgical masks and sell them to our members. But, it was something our members desperately asked for, and we found a way to help. Likewise, we did not pre-plan to provide three months of free training for members, but it was what was needed, so that is what we did.
This period has been like no other time in any of our lives, and we will all be forever changed by the experience. And yes, as Chair, I surely will miss some of the events we were unable to hold during the crisis. But our relationships which have been newly developed or strengthened during this global crisis will certainly endure for a long, long time into the future.
I look forward to our economy rebounding over the second half of the year. There is much to be accomplished in making up for lost time. The Chapter staff and leadership team continue to stand ready and willing to help members “get it done!”
Stay healthy and safe,
2020 Chair of the Board