R-V Industries’ COVID-19 Action Plan (download in PDF)
- Tuesday, June 30, 2020
- Friday, June 19, 2020
- Wednesday, June 10, 2020
- Tuesday, June 9, 2020
- Friday, May 22, 2020
- Friday, May 8, 2020
- Friday, April 24, 2020
- Friday, April 17, 2020
- Tuesday, April 14, 2020
- Thursday, April 9, 2020
- Monday, April 6, 2020
- Wednesday, April 1, 2020
- Monday, March 26, 2020
- Monday, March 23, 2020
- Thursday, March 19, 2020
- Sunday, March 15, 2020
- Friday, March 13, 2020
Tuesday, June 30th Company Update
As Chester and Berks Counties moved to the green phase of Pennsylvania’s reopening on Friday, there have been renewed discussions internally about what that means for everyone at R-V and specifically regarding our mask requirement.
The Governor’s office clarified last week that the business requirements related to masks, distancing, and cleaning procedures, remain in place throughout all phases of the reopening.
I do not expect to remove these requirements in the next few months, even if the Governor’s office changes their position. While I understand the frustration of having to wear masks, this does not outweigh our responsibility to keep everyone safe. I have seen many of you rally to help sick coworkers in the past. Now you are being asked to help keep them from becoming sick in the first place. We have a sizable group of employees and family members who are in higher risk CDC categories for COVID-19 such as heart disease, elevated BMI, diabetes, cancer, and COPD.
Wearing masks, social distancing, and other protocols have kept confirmed infections here at a minimal level. This did not occur by accident. Please continue to:
- Wear your masks when in the presence of others, both inside and out.
- Wash/Sanitize your hands regularly.
- Communicate with your supervisor or HR prior to coming to work if you feel ill or had contact with someone who has or is getting tested for COVID-19.
- Maintain the recommended separation of 6’ apart unless absolutely necessary.
- Wear a mask when driving with others on company business or riding with customers/suppliers and require the same of the other passengers.
Thanks for your continued efforts to help keep everyone safe.
Kirk A. Putt
President & CEO
Phone: (484) 532-6030
Friday, June 19th, 2020
As part of our leadership development program we want to provide a platform and input from different voices. This update is courtesy of Eric Stone, Tron Morrison, Pete Koegel, & Dave Larson.
As the world comes to grips with the life-altering pandemic, it is critical to recognize the many positives in our lives as negativity has become too common. It affects how we treat our families, the people we work with, those we are given the responsibility to lead, and the customers who trust us to provide the equipment and service they need.
We must continue striving to deliver superior products as the customers who trust us, and the family members of the person next to you rely on the execution of our mission. Part of striving is embracing the changes we have been forced into. Maya Angelou had a powerful statement about embracing challenging situations: “If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” A determined attitude can overcome some of the challenges we currently face.
Despite these challenges we continue to achieve some notable things. We were really happy to find out we were recognized as 23rd of the top 40 custom fabricators in the U.S. in the Fabricator’s top 40 list. It felt good to be recognized in that way and to know that what we do every day has earned us that recognition.
- June will be our best bookings month since November of last year. We are already over $4mm with capital orders in Power, Beta Star, Genesis, Code, and Custom Fab. Our Code, Genesis, and Power markets will exceed $1mm each this month. This is an amazing accomplishment given the state of the economy and additional opportunities remain before the end of the month. We have a large Code opportunity with a new client in North Carolina who asked for a 2205 vessel jacket sample. Our Honey Brook shop produced a top-quality piece demonstrating our world-class fabrication capabilities.
- We are using some recent downtime to upgrade facilities and enhance production. Morgantown upgraded their lunchroom and developed plans for several process improvements. We are testing new shielding gases for our inner vessels, engineering new fixtures (head fabrication), and looking at fabricating track systems for our turning rolls. This focus on efficiency and process improvement has already helped reduce hours performance on our inner vessel line and additional benefits in hours savings, consistency, and safety are expected.
- Our Genesis market area has received several projects within the consulting/lab group directly related to the COVID-19 vaccine development. Customers in the pharmaceutical market contract Genesis to assist in studies in identifying proper packaging components for “a well-sealed vial.” The packaging of these drugs consists of vials, stoppers, and cap combinations. The varying makeup of each component can have a major impact on achieving optimal container closure integrity. After properly sealing the vials, we perform studies consisting of a series of integrity tests, consisting of both internal and outside vendor tests. Our customers use these studies when submitting for final regulatory drug approval process. In many cases these studies also open the door for future equipment sales with these customers. All of us have been touched and effected one way or another by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that our Genesis team is playing a role in assisting in the development of the packages that will one day carry the vaccine is something we can all be proud of.
- We have been a preferred supplier for Flowserve for over a decade. This year Flowserve recognized R-V Industries by designating us a “Partner Supplier,” the only fabrication supplier in the U.S. to receive this designation. This entails a multi-year agreement between R-V and Flowserve to make it easier for more domestic Flowserve sites across the U.S. to utilize us as their fabrication and machining source. This is a direct result of the quality, competitiveness, and effort our team puts into making Flowserve a success every year.
- Another recent success was the completion of a project for Enersys Advanced Systems, a new client. We were tasked to reverse engineer and then manufacture four vacuum chambers designed out of one of the most expensive nickel alloys that is currently available on the market. Enersys approached R-V because of our experience and welding quality on nickel alloys. These chambers will be used at their facility in Florida which manufactures specialized batteries for advanced military applications including submarines and satellites.
There are a lot of things in this time that could be dragging us down, but despite all these things we are looking forward, moving forward, achieving, and being recognized.
Thank you all for your efforts,
Eric, Tron, Pete, and Dave
Wednesday, June 10th, COVID-19 Update
Pennsylvania’s General Assembly passed a resolution yesterday to terminate the emergency order Governor Wolf issued in March.
Governor Wolf announced today the legislature does not have the authority to end his disaster declaration and that business restrictions would remain in place either way since they were mandated via a separate order issued by the Secretary of Health.
This dispute will likely end up in the courts and take time to resolve.
What does this mean to R-V employees?
- Nothing at the current time. All our health & safety protocols (masks, hand washing, distancing, etc.) will remain in place until we decide it is safe to make changes. We will issue an announcement at that time.
Thanks for your continued efforts to help keep everyone safe.
Kirk A. Putt
President & CEO
Phone: (484) 532-6030
Tuesday, June 9th, 2020
As we enter Summer, tensions in our country are at historic levels. Frustration with the pandemic along with police brutality/racism are leading to high levels of emotion and demand for change.
R-V can continue to positively contribute to both areas. I believe R-V has been a model for how to manage the pandemic and keep everyone safe. We can also help with ongoing issues related to social justice. This starts with ensuring everyone is given a fair opportunity here to advance and succeed, regardless of your race, religion, gender, or economic status. It requires compassion for and acknowledgement of those whose experience is different from our own based on the color of their skin or background. It also requires the willingness to educate ourselves on the issues and take action to help others when they are treated unfairly.
Part of our mission statement is to “improve the quality of life for each individual we employ.” Whether you are Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, or White we strive to provide equal opportunity which is reinforced by our actions and not merely a slogan posted on the wall. To maximize your chances for success, our focus is to help you advance in the following four segments:
- Health – Physical & mental illness can be costly and puts significant stress on you & your families.
- Personal Finance – A plan goes a long way to achieving financial freedom.
- Work – A sense of pride, performance, and relationships with coworkers are important
- Family/Personal Life – Success does not mean much if there is not anyone to share it with
This is the reason we emphasize the 401k/HSA plans, our Safety/Wellness plans, and focus on company performance metrics to maintain jobs. We are always here to offer guidance if you are struggling with financial, work, health, or family issues.
The following paragraph is from my March 26th posting:
“The stock market has experienced historic volatility. The S&P 500 Index has lost more than 30% YTD, causing most of us to incur significant losses in our 401k accounts. I encourage you to remain invested, not because I am an investment expert, but becaues if you sell now, you will lock in those losses with little chance of recovery”
The stock market has since recovered nearly all those losses. If you were overwhelmed by the losses in your 401k or IRA accounts in March, now is the time to speak with Fidelity or your advisor to evaluate your investments and move to something more conservative.
We will start phasing office employees back onsite this week. Provided there are no setbacks, we will recall the remaining office employees over the next month. It is critical everyone understands and executes the expectations (masks, social distance, hand hygiene, etc.) to maintain the exemplary health record we have achieved since the pandemic started in February.
Sales and profits were low in May due to reduced manufacturing charge hours. This resulted from a limited number of workdays in the month, employee absences, and backlog limitations. Orders for new business (bookings) were also low at $2.4mm but credit goes to the Sales team for securing orders in the final days of the month to help us remain above the $2mm threshold.
June has the potential to be a much better month for Sales, Profit and Bookings. We have already booked over $2mm in the first week of the month and have several more opportunities. I have removed the Sales/Profit KPI’s reported below because we have no expectation of meeting original projections in these areas due to the pandemic. We have continued to remain above our revised forecast which is critical to successfully manage our way through this economic recession.
Key Performance Indicators
- May Bookings: $2.4mm (target $4.0 – 4.5mm per month)
- Backlog: $17.1mm (target > $20mm)
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a away thatr espects and enhances the freedom of others.”Nelson Mandela
Please continue to email or text me your comments and questions. I appreciate your feedback.
Kirk A. Putt
President & CEO
Phone: (484) 532-6030
Friday, May 22, 2020
As we enter the Memorial Day weekend, I want to recognize those who sacrificed their lives fighting for our country and freedom. I also want to recognize our manufacturing team members who have continued to show up daily, allowing us to keep serving our customers, and serving as an example to our state and local leaders that businesses and our economy can reopen safely. I am confident our soldiers did not make those sacrifices so we could be ordered to stay-at-home and close our economy indefinitely.
Our manufacturing leads came up with a way we can recognize and safely thank our manufacturing teams. We will be providing individual Chik-fil-A boxed lunches for all plants and shifts next week. Details will be posted on Tuesday. In addition, our hourly manufacturing team members will also be receiving a bonus of up to $500 with your payroll next week. This will be calculated based on $50 for each week you have worked at least (40) hours (including vacation) during the past (10) weeks (3/9 to 5/15). Credit will be given for the three shifts where we closed Morgantown.
To be clear, these bonuses do not mean the upcoming months will not be very challenging. They will. But I hope they serve as motivation to maintain focus on what you can control, like keeping a positive attitude when times get tough, or when you are asked to assume tasks or roles you may not enjoy.
We appreciate all of you in the office and working remotely as well, but we do not have to make the same sacrifices as our manufacturing team. We will look to get everyone back to the office as soon as it is allowed. Work-from-home and online meetings are a useful option but will not replace the in-person collaboration and urgency I believe necessary in challenging economic conditions. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, anyone with health risks or concerns will have the option to remain out.
Be safe and enjoy the long weekend with your families.
Kirk A. Putt
President & CEO
Phone: (484) 532-6030
Friday, May 8, 2020
As we enter our third month impacted by the pandemic, I want to recognize and thank you for helping us manage the uncertainty and keep our operations functioning.
Pennsylvania now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and the sixth highest COVID-19 infection rate. R-V has not been immune from the pandemic’s impact, but we have been fortunate to experience limited illness and absences during this time.
Our new business opportunities and bookings have declined significantly over the past two months, but our Sales team has managed secure enough new work to maintain minimum levels we established. Beta Star had their highest bookings month of the year in April. Genesis continues to be actively engaged in potential opportunities with several of the leading COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic companies and our Code and Nuclear markets still have some large order potential over the summer.
It is always challenging to maintain hours performance when new order activity declines, but we achieved hours savings in April on closed jobs in our Code and Custom Fabrication markets. Thank you to the Morgantown and Honey Brook shops for this effort. Please continue to maintain focus on quality and hours performance as these are items within our control.
Different departments and markets will experience slow periods over the next few months but as I previously outlined, there will not be any furloughs/layoffs through the middle of June, during the time we will be receiving federal support through the Paycheck Protection Program loan. We have a realistic plan to avoid any downsizing through the remainder of the year provided the economy reopens and new order demand recovers over the 2nd half of the year.
Key Performance Indicators
- YTD Sales vs. Projection: At projection (+6% after March)
- YTD Gross Profit vs. Projection: +2% (+7% after March)
- April Bookings: $2.7mm (target $4.0 – 4.5 million per month)
- Backlog: $17.3 million (target>$20 million)
- Hartman/Genesis Building: We continue to progress on the Hartman building modifications to facilitate the move of our Honey Brook warehouse and Genesis operation to the property. The warehouse move will be completed in May and Genesis is scheduled to move later in the year. The roof has been replaced, shop and storage room have been painted, and the new office design is nearly complete. Next steps will be site work and paving to facilitate more parking and demolition of the existing office space. It is important to reinforce why we are continuing to proceed with this program during the pandemic slowdown. We are doing so because the company will save significant cost every year by eliminating the rent for our two current leases.
Please continue to be diligent with the precautionary measures put in place to keep everyone healthy and functioning – wearing masks, distancing, hand washing, etc. None of us enjoy wearing masks but when you don’t do so, you risk a plant closure and the health of your coworkers and their families. These are risks we cannot accept.
Friday, April 24, 2020
Thank you for helping us successfully implement the new mask requirements this week as part of Pennsylvania’s recent order.
We got some extremely good news this week when we received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. This emergency funding from the federal government will help cover our payroll for (8) weeks. Provided we retain our employees, most of this loan will not need to be repaid. Only 5.7% of U.S. businesses received a PPP loan.
This funding is important because it helps us maintain your jobs while new business opportunities and sales decline significantly due to the government shutdown of the economy. Other than our daycare, ordered closed by the Governor, no employees will face layoffs during this time, although some of you will be asked to help in different roles.
We have developed a new business plan to successfully manage the lower business volume for the next few months, with the expectation the economy will be reopened by June. This also assumes we continue to limit loss of capacity due to employee illness/ quarantine.
To help continue reducing the risk of the pandemic impact within R-V, we are implementing a screening process and form. Effective next Tuesday (4/28) we will require supervisor approval prior to anyone returning to our facilities following more than one day out for the following: remote work, vacation, self-quarantine, or business travel. The screening helps us ensure you are aware of any new safety/health requirements, such as wearing masks, and minimize the risk to your fellow workers following travel or possible outside COVID-19 exposure. Anyone returning from an illness will continue to be required to provide a doctor’s release (If you did not see a doctor, you may obtain a return release from SwiftMD, our telemedicine provider). This new Employee Return Form will be posted on the Resource section above.
I understand some of these precautions can be annoying and require extra time. We will look to remove them when government mandates and health risks allow us to do so. I encourage everyone to keep finding small ways to remain positive. I share this excerpt from Walter Wintle:
“If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you like to win, but think you can’t, it’s already a cinch you won’t.”
“Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later, the man who wins, is the fellow who thinks he can.”
Friday, April 17, 2020
Pennsylvania Public Health Safety Measures Order
The Pennsylvania Dept. of Health Secretary issued an order yesterday mandating businesses to implement additional social distancing, mitigation, and cleaning protocols. We have already implemented many of the mandated actions. The new changes will be enforceable starting Sunday night at 8:00 p.m.
The following changes will be effective Monday, April 20th:
- Masks will be required for all employees/visitors while in our facilities or interacting with other employees outside if you are within six feet of them. This does not apply when eating or drinking during breaks. We will make either N95, Half-Masks, or Surgical masks available. Following approval from our Safety Director, you may also supply your own mask. He will ensure it is safe for your specific role.
- Separation markers will be designated on the floors near time clocks to ensure the minimum social distance. In common areas (restrooms, lunchrooms, locker rooms) where there is no marking, please maintain a minimum of 6’ of separation. Gatherings for lunch should be avoided. Please keep the required distance when using shared refrigerators, microwaves, etc.
- In addition to hand soap in the restrooms and kitchen areas, we now have stock of hand sanitizer and disinfectant for all facilities. Please notify your supervisor if your area needs something. Cleaning of these common areas will be performed between shifts in addition to the current daily protocols.
The following change will be evaluated within the next week:
- Staggered start times and break times to minimize congestion at time clocks and common areas. You will no longer be able to start outside of your designated start time without pre-approval.
The following steps will be implemented upon any future occurrences of a positive COVID-19 case:
- As we did in Morgantown, the facility where the employee(s) worked will be shutdown for a minimum of 24 hours and disinfected by a certified COVID-19 provider, including all common areas.
- Temperature screening will be implemented prior to the start of all shifts. Those with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be sent home.
- Employees identified who have been in close contact (within 6 feet for about 10 minutes) with the person with the positive test (from 48 hours before the person got sick) will be directed to follow the CDC 2020 Interim Guidance for Critical Infrastructure Workers who may have had exposure to a person with COVID-19. This guidance varies depending upon whether you have symptoms.
- If you have symptoms
- Do not come to work.
- You will be directed to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. This is an R-V standard which is more conservative than the CDC minimum.
- If you do not have symptoms
- Take your temperature before work and do not come in if you have a temperature of 100.4°F or higher.
- Always wear a face mask.
- Practice social distancing.
- Do not congregate in lunchrooms or crowded areas.
Thank you for your cooperation as we integrate these requirements. We want to remain a leader in health and safety while continuing to keep all our locations operational. We need all of you to make that happen.
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
We received notice today that one of our Morgantown dayshift employees tested positive for COVID-19. As we received the report this afternoon, dayshift was completing their shift and nightshift was sent home. The facility will remain closed until Thursday to ensure exposure risk has been mitigated.
Bio-One, a certified COVID-19 decontamination and disinfection company, has been contracted to disinfect the facility tonight. They will treat the workspace, lunchrooms, restroom, offices, doors, etc. Ken Brownlow and I will be there to observe the process.
Our current plan is to reopen the facility Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. To ensure everyone continues to get paid for their lost time, we plan to process the time out (nightshift tonight and tomorrow, and dayshift tomorrow) as paid leave under the COVID-19 FFCRA Act which will allow you to be paid and the company reimbursed for this time. If you do not want this applied to your time out, please notify HR.
While we believe the risk of exposure to other Morgantown employees is limited based on the work spacing and PPE (respirator masks) worn by most employees, anyone working in Morgantown during the past week will be eligible to self-quarantine beyond Wednesday and receive paid leave for the balance of your allotted 80-hour COVID-19 sick pay. If you choose that option, please follow standard call-off procedures and complete the paid leave form located here.
This is the unfortunate situation we all hoped would not occur within our company, but as the virus has spread substantially in Berks County, it is the reality for which we have been preparing. We need everyone to remain proactive and diligent to communicate any illnesses as they arise and stay home if you have any symptoms.
I understand these can be stressful times. As always, you can call, text, or email me with any questions or concerns.
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Family Member Recognition – COVID-19 Public Service
We would like to recognize and thank the R-V family members who are providing critical services to help maintain the health and daily functions for our communities.
Monday, April 6, 2020
Company Update from Kirk Putt
What a difference a month makes. At the time of my update last month the U.S. was just beginning to feel the impact of COVID-19. Now all our lives have been altered. There is no minimizing the damage this virus has caused in the world. We continue to be fortunate in that we have no confirmed employee infections and have remained operational. Multiple clients have sent us letters reinforcing the need for us to continue our role in maintaining their critical supply of electricity, medicine, water, packaging, etc. Hopefully spending part of your day focused on these efforts helps balance the overwhelming negativity and panic in the news and your social networks.
I also want to recognize and thank your family members who are actively engaged in the efforts to keep us all functioning – doctors, nurses, medical technicians, retirement home staff, grocery store employees, etc. If you have a family member you would like to recognize, please send me their name, role, and relationship to you, and we will recognize them as a group.
Thanks to everyone’s flexibility and focus, March remained a good sales/profit month, but our bookings declined by 38%. We remain above our overall projection YTD, but it will be a major challenge to do so over the next few months. Please connect with and offer encouragement to our sales team. Their role has gotten dramatically more difficult in this environment but some good opportunities remain.
Key Performance Indicators
- YTD Sales vs. Projection: +6% (+8% after February)
- YTD Gross Profit vs. Projection: +7% (+11% after February)
- Mar. Bookings: $2.5mm (target $4.0 – $4.5 mm per month)
- Backlog: $18.1mm (target > $20mm)
- Employment Status – COVID-19 will have a significant negative impact on R-V over the next few months. To minimize this risk of furloughs/layoffs, we are applying for a federal loan that will help cover payroll for two months, provided we retain our employees, which is our plan.
- Capital Expenditures – With the economy in such an unknown state for the next few months we have stopped all capital expenditures except for those which are a necessity for our operations.
- Wage Increases – Understanding that many of you are deserving of increases based on our performance YTD, we must delay wage increases until we have better visibility of the duration and impact of the pandemic. This does not include any prior commitments. Our top priority is to keep everyone safe and protect jobs amid the uncertainties that will arise.
- Safety Measures
- Between our Pandemic Crisis Plan, COVID-19 Action Plan, remote work arrangements, visitor restrictions, cleaning procedures, etc., we have been very proactive to keep everyone safe while servicing our customers. This does not mean that we have it all figured out or that new risks will not arise that need to be mitigated. I can assure you that we take all input and concerns seriously and have processes in place to develop and implement these changes very quickly. A good example of this was development/implementation of a COVID-19 Service & Installation Protocol to protect our team members who go to customer sites, their families, and those of you in our shops when they return. This was developed and implemented within one day of the concern being raised.
- Please continue to maintain adequate space between each other in your interactions. I know this is challenging in our shops where there is noise and people wearing masks or respirators. This includes lines at time clocks and lunch groups.
You all should be proud of what you have achieved so far this year. I am not willing to watch that disappear over the remainder of the year without trying everything possible to prevent it. This will require continued flexibility and commitment to find a way to succeed when it will be much easier to fail and blame the pandemic. Attitude and effort remain among the limited things within our control.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Recent Legislative Changes and a Company Update
We are approaching three weeks since the implementation of our COVID-19 Action Plan. Our company and country have undergone some pretty dramatic changes during that time and based on President Trump’s and Governor Wolf’s most recent declarations, we will remain in flux at least through April, as restaurants, group events, schools, etc. remain closed.
I am so thankful most of you remain healthy and actively employed, either remotely or on site. Our ability to successfully emerge from this pandemic relies upon continuing to serve our clients in critical industries. And for those of you who have chosen to self-quarantine due to medical issues, non-COVID illness, or childcare issues, I respect your efforts to protect your health or care for children whose schools have closed. The proactive communication and decisions to avoid coming to our facilities when illnesses or possible exposure have occurred, has been outstanding.
The recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act becomes effective today and provides paid leave for all employees – for COVID-19 illness or time off when required to care for children whose school or daycare has been closed due to the pandemic. The details are available on the Department of Labor postings in our plants and also on the resource section at the top of this page. This covers up to (80) hours for COVID-19 sick leave and (12) weeks of FMLA leave to care for your children. The pay rate varies depending upon the reason for your absence. This will be available until the end of the year. This does not affect any other paid leave you have available. If you require time off and meet the specified criteria, please complete the paid leave form (also available on at the top of this page) certifying the designated reason and submit to HR.
Our manufacturing capacity is currently reduced by approximately 10% due to voluntary absence. We have no plans to reduce our workforce and will be pursuing government relief funding over the next few weeks to help offset costs during the expected decline in business volume over the next few months. I ask for your flexibility during this time as we may need to assign select individuals to different roles as demand changes.
All plants have been restocked with disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer has reportedly been shipped and should be in the plants by next week. We also implemented our visitor screening form to ensure no one who is ill or has traveled to high-risk areas, comes into our facilities.
Keep safe and take time to support a local small business or individual(s) in need.
Monday, March 26, 2020
A Message from Kirk Putt, and Free Personal Financial Webcast
We all continue to adjust to daily changes, both personally and at work, due to the COVID-19 virus. I appreciate how our team has continued to keep our operations running. Many others are not so fortunate:
- 3 million people filed for unemployment in the U.S. last week, more than four times the prior weekly record of 700,000 in 1982.
- 70,000 people filed for unemployment in a single day in Pennsylvania last week. The highest prior weekly record was 61,000.
The stock market has experienced historic volatility. The S&P 500 index has lost more than 30% YTD, causing most of us to incur significant losses in our 401k accounts. I encourage you to remain invested, not because I am an investment expert, but because if you sell now, you will lock in those losses with little chance of recovery.
I’m not reporting these bleak statistics to increase unease or fear, quite the opposite. If you accept the worst-case scenario and develop plans how to deal with that, your outlook will improve. Accept the stock market will likely experience a few more significant (10%+) declines before it reaches a bottom, but it will recover, whether that takes six months or six years. And whether you are 27 or 67, you should be planning to generate investment income for a minimum of another 20+ years during which time the market will improve. “Safe” options such as money market funds, certificates of deposit, U.S. treasuries, etc. will likely all generate less than 1% returns for some extended period. Investors who have sold in panic will have to buy stocks again to generate acceptable returns following this crisis, which will drive prices higher along with your account balances.
Dave Ramsey, a popular financial advisor, is offering a free webcast tonight at 8 p.m. EST called “A Message of Hope” to address personal finance questions related to this crisis. I encourage you and your families to check it out https://www.daveramsey.com/
Our Pandemic Committee had a virtual meeting today. Below are a few items of interest:
- Approximately 50% of our office team is now working remotely to ensure social distancing and redundant capabilities should anyone become sick.
- Along with everyone else in the country, sanitizing supplies and personal protective equipment are challenging to find. We should have all our facilities restocked with spray disinfectant in the next few days and hand sanitizer within the next week. Please continue to use soap and water in the interim.
- Outside visitors to our facility have been reduced to a couple of 3rd party inspectors. All others require Executive approval prior to gaining access.
Today should have been Opening Day for Major League Baseball, which along with the 1st day of Spring last week, generally lifts everyone’s spirits after Winter. While that may be delayed by COVID-19, the better weather and better times are still coming, just a little bit later than normal.
Thank you for your part to keep everyone safe and productive.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Update Regarding Governor Wolf’s Stay-At-Home Order
Pennsylvania Governor Wolf issued a “stay-at-home” order effective tonight at 8 p.m. restricting travel for residents in seven counties (Philadelphia, Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe and Montgomery). This order does not restrict your travel to and from work at R-V. We are a “Life-Sustaining Business” and exempt from this order. No special paperwork is currently required for you to travel to work. If it later becomes a requirement, we will supply one. While not traveling to and from work you are expected to comply as outlined by the Governor if you live in one of those counties.
I know the constant stream of local, state, and federal facts and rumors is stressful and challenging to digest. We will continue to do our best to keep you informed of the facts and how they apply to you. Here are some updates:
- Several people have asked about additional “hazard” pay, something they have seen implemented by a few companies in the media. We will not be implementing any premiums as we do not believe our workplace places you at increased risk of virus exposure beyond typical public life, and business volume will not support any pay premiums. Our goal is to keep you all employed in this extremely volatile market by continuing our critical role serving clients who generate our electricity, prescriptions, vaccines, food, water, and medical imaging. If you have concerns with working during the pandemic, you may take a voluntary leave of absence with no negative attendance impact. This time will be unpaid unless you have unused vacation.
- Currently R-V does not have any confirmed employee cases of COVID-19. We have instructed several employees to self-quarantine based on reported symptoms or had friends who may have been exposed to the virus. All testing has been negative. I expect we will have a team member or extended family test positive for the virus at some point. We have procedures drafted for such an occurrence, which includes quarantines, and possibly department or plant closures. Please continue to communicate any concerns or known exposure and continue to stay at home if you are feeling sick or have a fever.
- The Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed by President Trump and goes into effect April 2nd. What this means to you:
- We will be posting the full details later this week when the government releases the posting
- Paid COVID-19 testing.
- Up to (80) hours of paid sick time, either at full-pay (maximum $511 daily) or two-thirds pay (maximum $200 daily) depending on the reason for your sick leave.
- Up to (12) weeks of FMLA leave to care for your child whose school or childcare facility is closed due to COVID-19. The first (10) days will be unpaid and the balance would be paid at two-thirds pay up to a maximum daily amount of $200.
- The U.S. Senate is working on another relief bill called the CARES Act which will likely get passed this week. This will likely provide several additional benefits:
- Direct payments of $1,200 per person ($2,400 per couple, and $500 additional per child) to anyone making below a designated income limit.
- Business loans to help companies continue to pay employees if they are either mandated to shut down or negatively impacted by government closures provided, they do not layoff employees.
- Enhanced unemployment options.
A special thanks to our Pandemic Committee. This group has had to support some significant business changes with limited time to interpret and implement various government directives while maintaining their general day-to-day responsibilities.
May all of you and your families stay healthy as we manage these unprecedented challenges together.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
A Message from Kirk Putt, R-V Industries President to our Employees
Thank you all for your cooperation as we implemented a lot of changes during the past week to keep everyone safe while continuing to service our clients. Things continue to change on a daily, sometime hourly, basis but the commitment of our company has not wavered.
Pennsylvania Governor Wolf issued an order today mandating the closure of all businesses that are not considered “Life Sustaining” by midnight on March 20.
R-V Industries is considered “Life Sustaining” under the several categories and will remain open. As part of a “Life Sustaining” company allowed to remain open we must practice social distancing and other mitigation actions as defined by the CDC. The steps we implemented last week as part of our COVID-19 Action Plan 3-13-20 comply with the CDC suggestions. For your reference, the CDC recommendations are attached (see page 6).
All of us are learning to live within this new reality of health risks, non-stop media reports, chaotic financial markets, restricted social activities, children attending virtual classes, and no sports. Despite these challenges, you have continued to adapt and make a difference every day serving our clients in critical industries. This is what makes our company and our country great – the will to overcome difficult challenges. To use a boxing analogy, we continue to get off the mat when it would be much easier to lay down and listen to the referee count to ten.
We are blessed to remain open when a lot of small businesses have been forced to close and layoff their employees. The designation of “Life Sustaining” is very fitting because not only are we serving clients actively developing solutions to prevent/treat the COVID-19 virus, we are also the primary income source for hundreds of team members and your families.
Things will continue to get more challenging in our country and our company, but we will do everything in our power to keep you safe and actively employed.
A few parting suggestions: take a deep breath, exercise, enjoy the extra time with your family, and stay in the stock market. “The darkest hour is just before the dawn.” To all employees, you can always call or email me with questions. My phone number is (484)532-6030.
Thank you for your support,
Sunday, March 15, 2020
The Pennsylvania Secretary of Health has issued a letter of guidance with regard to Governor Wolf’s recommendation to temporarily close non-essential businesses in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties. Here are links for your reference:
Because we are not a business that interacts with the general public as those listed in the recommendation, we are taking the position that we will remain open and follow our current COVID-19 Action Plan. Please take time to read the entire Action Plan below.
Friday, March 13, 2020
The global status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is evolving daily, and R-V is taking a thoughtful, deliberate approach to the situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the many families around the world who have been affected by this crisis. We are especially mindful of our own families for
whom this issue may be a prominent worry or concern.
We have created a very thorough Pandemic Crisis Plan. This Action Plan is intended to outline key items/activities from that plan. Our team is continually monitoring news reports as well as governmental and health agencies’ communications such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor COVID-19 and is actively working to ensure that the most up-to-date CDC guidance is quickly and accurately disseminated. Below are some key actions to be taken immediately. Updates will be posted on our website and distributed via Swift 911, our emergency contact system.
- Follow standard call-off procedures. Anyone who has 1) been diagnosed 2) exposed to someone who has been diagnosed or 3) is experiencing symptoms is not to report to work and should notify HR.
- Starting Next week, the Company will request or permit select employees to work remotely to minimize business interruption. This will be determined as technology and work priority dictate. You must follow established approval and out-of-office calendar requirements. All employees working remotely should ensure your office phones are forwarded to your mobile phone or an alternate phone number should be left on your voicemail.
- No attendance points will be incurred if you choose to self-quarantine due to suspected COVID-19 exposure, diagnosis, or care of a family member.
- All outside visitors should be limited until further notice (Suppliers, Customers, Employment Candidates, Family Members). All visitors must be approved in advance by a member of an Executive Management Team.
- Delivery drivers are excluded from this notice requirement but should be restricted to the loading dock areas. Shippers/Receivers will be fitted for respirators to reduce exposure from outside delivery personnel.
- Employment Candidates – Phone and video interviews are preferred.
- Customer visits
- Limit client visits to those deemed a necessity.
- Trade Shows – We will not be exhibiting at trade shows until further notice.
- Clients will be notified we are considering the pandemic a force majeure (“Superior Force”) event, which could impact deliveries depending on the magnitude of disruption to operations. This is a requirement in most contracts when causes out of our control could affect deliveries. Clients should communicate with their R-V contact for specific details.
- Evaluate possible material supply interruptions and make recommendations to VP Finance for inventory buys to minimize work impact.
- Ensure HVAC system filters are optimized to minimize virus impact and replacements are completed per manufacturers suggestion.
- Ensure cleaning staff performs daily sanitization of all high use communal items such as door handles, bathrooms, desks, phones, stairwell handrails, etc.
MEETINGS / LUNCH
- Reduce in-person meetings and schedule virtual meetings or conference calls wherever possible. In-person meetings should be limited to small groups to ensure the recommended distance of six feet can be maintained between participants.
- Avoid typical gatherings in lunch areas and eat in your own workspace.
- Eliminate communal sharing of food/drink items.
PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS IN OUR FACILITIES
A concentrated focus on prevention and precautionary measures will continue to help protect our employees:
- We are purposely educating employees about best hygiene practices to help decrease the spread of any flu or virus. We have issued a tool-box talk and notices about handwashing techniques, covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home if sick.
- We will supply sanitizing supplies as available.
- Respirators are available for shop employees as an additional precaution.
STEPS TO AVOID ILLNESS
In several prior emails, we have shared common, practical protocols to avoid illness. Best practices to help prevent or minimize illness include:
- Getting a flu shot and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and then drying them completely. If you cannot wash your hands, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is recommended.
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If no tissue is available, attempt to cough or sneeze in the crook of your arm.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – germs easily spread!
- Monitoring your symptoms.
We encourage you to educate yourself on the topic to avoid unnecessary anxiety. The resources listed below may be helpful in how to best understand and explain the current crisis.
Thank you for your continued cooperation. Be assured we are focused on preventing this virus at our facilities and thoughtfully preparing for various scenarios that promote a healthy workplace.