As we head into the last quarter of the year, I can truly say this has been a year like no other. Part of my job I enjoyed was the interaction with the people I work with. What did you do this weekend? What strenuous hike did Vincent Autier go on? What is Dave Holt rebuilding? What trip is Kevin Jensen planning, and can he explain it to me in two languages? What piece of furniture is Dave Johnston creating? Did our kickball team really win another game and Greg Allington was the pitcher? And of course, being the sarcastic person I am, I miss giving people a hard time.
Financially, we are fortunate our construction division continues to work, estimate, and build backlog. Our engineering, permitting, and regulatory divisions are successfully working from home, traveling safely when necessary, and continuing to deliver high-quality products. However, what I believe makes our design-build company unique is the people and their daily interactions between all divisions. We have strong relationships where many of our employees work, play, and live in the same community side by side. Everyone is doing what is needed to keep the company fiscally strong while continuing to work remotely. While that will work this year, because our culture was established and is strong, I am concerned about the new staff we have hired. I believe we need that face to face communication in order to maintain our culture. Our new construction and engineering staff need to understand who we are as a company. They need to know not only the processes and how to technically execute the work but what makes us different. How do you retain staff in a remote environment where the day to day interactions and constant in-person communication can be lost? All companies have intelligent people that are executing interesting projects – so how do we differentiate ourselves in this new environment? I don’t want us to lose this culture we have established – That we are a team that likes to laugh. We are passionate and intense. We are resilient and hard working. I am confident we will continue to do what we need to do in 2020, but I must admit I look forward to coming back together in 2021. Working and laughing side by side, strengthening old relationships while building new ones, and while I realize it may never look like the past – it will be a new way of maintaining our culture that I believe makes us unique.
Mara McMillen, President, Water Resources Division
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