BY: G. DAVID SLOAD , ABC KEYSTONE PRESIDENT-CEO
If you come from my era, you may have been required by your literature teacher to read “Brave New World,” a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley. I didn’t like the novel then, and I’m not sure I’m prepared for what our “Brave New World” will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. If we think we will return to business as usual, then I think we may be fooling ourselves and will be disappointed with the results.
“Need” and “want” are the mother of invention and ingenuity. ABC needs to help our industry through this time and into the future. For the discussion of this pandemic, I put ABC into a four phase plan. The first phase has concluded. In that phase, we received an executive order that closed virtually all non-essential businesses, as defined by the Governor. For the first three weeks, we spent time sifting through information and a waiver system that provided no clarity, no consistency and no transparency. We have provided succinct and timely information for members to navigate through the initial uncertainty.
Phase II – As we saw help starting to arrive via the Federal Government, many more questions arose. Thanks to many of our accounting, banking and legal members that engaged their clients, several members received SBA (Small Business Association) financial support. This raised the question from members as to what to do with employees that they were basically paying to stay home. Thanks to the Keystone Board on April 9, we started to offer no-cost and subsidized virtual training and webinars. We intend to continue these offerings through the end of May. Check out our website for all courses.
Phase III – I believe this is the phase when the restrictions that have been placed on our members begin to slowly be removed. While we don’t have clarity on when this may happen for all locations, other than construction having returned to work May 1, we want to be prepared to assist you. Therefore, we are asking you, the members: what challenges do you anticipate? What services do you need from us for your companies and/or your employees? Are you able to handle all the safety protocols now being required? The sooner we hear from you, the quicker we can assist in finding solutions.
Phase IV – Recovery. When this pandemic has fully subsided, there will be a number of issues that have arisen. Some issues we may not even be able to identify at this time. For our industry, there may be new ways of doing business, both physically and contractually. I believe we will be well prepared to handle our “brave new world” in the future. While it has been a difficult six weeks, I do believe we will emerge stronger and better. Phase III and IV will be a time for our industry to rise above it and become stronger. As an association of dedicated members, we will all benefit in the end.
My wish, here in the beginning of May, is for you, the members, your employees and families to remain safe, healthy and strong. Together, our industry will survive and lead the way to recovery.
Posted May 5, 2020