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Executive Message – Focusing On What Really Matters

By Jerry Doherty, LEED AP • January 21, 2021

So, we made it past another year. But the global pandemic that arrived at the start of 2020 is still very much with us, and continues to impact every corner of our lives. The pandemic continues to place a seemingly endless series of challenges on our lives. As the impacts of the pandemic evolved over the course of the year, we moved decisively to focus on what really matters: our clients and projects, our people, and our community.

While the pandemic was taking hold and life as we knew it changed drastically, it was clear that schedules and deadlines still needed to be met for our clients and partners. In the early weeks of the pandemic, our safety and human resource teams moved quickly to implement safe work site protocols to keep our teams moving. We met with field teams and emphasized and re-emphasized the importance of distance, hygiene, and contact tracing to our tradespeople. We invested in contact tracing. We managed supplychain issues. We re-sequenced work to accelerate our schedules, and worked out revised installation sequences to avoid too many workers in close proximity. Our teams implemented these methodologies while keeping more than 1,200 tradespeople employed daily on our worksites. EDiS construction teams never lost their focus on our clients’ goals as they maintained schedules and delivered their projects.

Perhaps nowhere else was this fact more evident than at Appoquinimink School District’s Fairview Campus. This $154.4 million educational campus is the single largest public works contract in Delaware’s history, and was slated for opening in August. There was no alternate plan if the school did not open. With almost 300 tradespeople working daily and working every weekend, the buildings welcomed students this Fall in the culmination of an extraordinary project begun over two years ago, and completed during a global pandemic.

None of these successes would have been achieved if it were not for employees who believe in our company and are dedicated to the clients we serve. Our project staff were our front line workers and we take great pride in telling their story while thanking them for their sacrifice. 10 and 12 hour work days every day plus working every weekend throughout this pandemic has taken them away from their families, working under stressful conditions daily, all to ensure we meet our clients’ expectations and deadlines. That is a sacrifice they made for our clients and for our company, and we are humbled and proud to tell their story.

Equally profound were the efforts of all of the EDiS support staff who managed their daily work from home or office or both, with kids at home or elderly parents or at-risk siblings to care for. They covered for co-workers who needed to take time off; they worked evenings and weekends so as not to let their fellow workers and our projects fall behind. These are the employees who make companies like EDiS special. Like family.

Perhaps the most amazing occurrence during this global pandemic is that we as a company, and we as individuals, have not forgotten our friends, our neighbors, or the communities in which we live. Our employees continued to support community activities. When we lost those we loved we even found ways to mourn as a community, planning as a company for a solemn driveby procession at the home of Superintendent Michael Paulson’s family to pay final respects to one of our best. Others gave their government subsidies to local charities, local restaurants, and small business associations, some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. And after 24 consecutive years, we missed ringing the bell for The Salvation Army this year but they still got our financial support.

So, as we take a moment to reflect on this year, one that all of us cannot wait to get through, we are so very mindful of maintaining our focus: for our clients, for our employees, and for our communities. Because that’s what really matters.