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RECAP of the April 8, 2020 IECRM Member Forum: Hear from Your Peers

On Wednesday, April 8, 2020 from 7:30-8:30am via Zoom, IECRM held its 3rd Membership Forum for contractors, industry partners, and subject matter experts. The Forum Series will be held every Wednesday morning at the same time through the end of April.
IECRM is honored to help you navigate through these unprecedented times during the COVID-19 crisis. Below you will find a bulleted recap of the discussion, links to SBA loan programs, links to legal resources, and links to reliable companies that can assist you with the application process and questions about labor and employment issues.
If you have any questions about the Forum, or suggestions for future Member Forums, please contact IECRM CEO Marilyn Akers Stansbury at marilyn@iecrm.org or 303-848.2513. Sign up for our Weekly Online Member Forums here
Due to technical difficulties this forum was not recorded. See below for a bulleted list of the recap of the discussion.

MEMBER FORUM RECAP
Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis: Hear from your Peers
For almost every organization dealing with a pandemic such as the coronavirus, it is uncharted territory. Navigating internal and external communication around COVID-19’s impact on the electrical contracting business and its employees in the midst of a virus outbreak is unlike any other experience IECRM members have faced before. Being prepared in advance of a situation like this is virtually impossible. That said, having a framework for internal and external communication in place and agreed upon by management can be worked out in advance regardless of the crisis of the moment.
A general principle when dealing with a matter of public health and safety is to be proactive. You never want a situation where potential harm could have been avoided, if only you had been more proactive and forthcoming with what you knew. Anyone right now will understand and accept that an employee that could potentially be infected with the virus, or might have come into contact with others. What the public will not accept is if you knew this information and did not share it, or if you weren’t fully prepared.
Contractor Insights:
  • Communicating directly to employees through HR; utilizing supervisors as well
  • Biggest challenge is the situation changes daily and requires quick deployment of information updates and rapid responses
  • Keep all lines of communication open and use SMS for speed
  • Everyone is dealing with the situation in their own way; some are ‘business as usual’ others are leaving their jobs because of anxiety
  • HR team is working in shifts to take calls and provide resources
  • 4 employees used PTO for 14 days even though they were not exhibiting symptoms; they resigned rather than come back to work
  • Most of our projects are in the public sector and still proceeding; we don’t see GC’s slowing down
  • We are seeing issues with the workforce and balancing fear with safety
  • We are taking our employees’ temperatures regularly
  • Biggest challenge is interpreting the laws and how they are applied
  • Established a COVID hotline, email, daily COVID-19 briefing and doing SMS
  • Implemented a protocol for dealing with employees with symptoms
  • Using email and field management for daily safety talks
  • Record and document sick calls and ensure everyone is following the law; employees are safe
  • Have qualified for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The loan package came out very quickly and we are ensuring we have a complete understanding of how it works and what we need to document
  • Keep open communication and respond quickly and with empathy
  • Goes a long way toward engendering employee trust
  • It’s really important for employees to understand what we are doing and why; know their options.
  • Make sure employees feel safe and cared about
  • There are tough decisions ahead of us; trust is paramount
  • The little things matter like thanking employees, demonstrating care and concern as employers
Unintended Consequences
  • Dichotomy between staying employed and collecting unemployment benefits contributes to confusion
  • Unemployment benefits with the additional $600 government match that goes along with the 55% of pay
  • The perception is that there is a financial advantage to go on unemployment; Employees can get nearly the same amount of compensation
  • With schools suspending the rest of the academic year, workers who have kids need to stay home to care for them full time
  • This leads to COVID-10 fatigue among employees working to offset the ones who are not
  • Seeing an increase in ‘essential business’ people experiencing law enforcement worksite visits as well as being pulled over while driving
  • Make sure you use the ‘essential business letter’ that verifies that you are allowed to go to work
  • The worst fear of business is coming to fruition with the recent lawsuit against Walmart for the wrongful death of an employee from COVID-19
  • Implications for essential businesses are enormous as a result
  • The objective of the SBA’s PPP, designed to keep workers on the payroll versus furloughing or laying them off exacerbates the current worker shortage in electrical contracting, further impacting projects and contracts
Take advantage of the SBA offerings
  • Businesses are taking advantage of the PPP, especially in construction
  • Since construction is considered ‘essential’ PPP loans are helpful
  • Keep pursuing the SBA loan applications

Thank you to the Electrical Contractors on the call for sharing their perspectives:
  • Robert Watkins, COO, Ludvik Electric (President of the IECRM Board of Directors)
  • David Scott, HR Director, Encore Electric (Past President of the IECRM Board of Directors, current IECRM Board Member, and Chair of the Government Relations Committee)
  • Leighland Gutierrez, Operations Manager, Courtesy Electric (Chair of the IECRM Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Serves on the IECRM Board of Directors)

Thank you to our Subject Matter Experts on the call:
Curt Olson, CPA, CCIFP
Senior Audit Manager
Wipfli LLP
7877 E. Belleview Ave, Suite #700, Denver, CO 80111
303 759 0089 Office
curt.olson@wipfli.com
wipfli.com
Sign up for free COVID resources from Wipfli: https://www.wipfli.com/covid-19-resource-center
Micah D. Dawson
Attorney at Law
Fisher & Phillips LLP
1801 California Street | Suite 2700 | Denver, CO 80202
O: (303) 218-3665
Sign up for legal alerts from Fisher & Phillips: https://www.fisherphillips.com/legal-alerts


Resources:
COVID-19 ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN APPLICATION
EIDL Loan and EIDL Loan Advance Grant up to $10,000 application.
Small Business Administration (SBA) has a dedicated web page for guidance and resources for obtaining loans included in the new law. The guidance covers the following areas:
CARES ACT
Sign up for Fisher & Phillips COVID-19 Legal Alerts
Fisher & Phillips Legal Guidance

If you have any questions about the Forum, or suggestions for future Member Forums, please contact IECRM CEO Marilyn Akers Stansbury at marilyn@iecrm.org or 303-848.2513. Sign up for our Weekly Online Member Forums here.

IECRM INDUSTRY PARTNER 
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES RESOURCES

Banking

BOK Financial
Brian Connor
SVP, Business Banking Relationship Manager IV
4695 Quebec Street
Denver, CO 80216
303.291.2976 (office)
303.915.9233 (mobile)
bconnor@bokf.com
Horizons North Credit Union
Bradley Harvey
President/CEO
11455 Pearl Street, Northglenn, CO 80233
720.872.8600
bradh@HNCU.org
Mountain View Bank of Commerce
Cindy Grove
Relationship Manager, SVP
12001 Pecos Street
Westminster, Colorado 80234
Direct: 303.243.5402
Cell: 720.839.1759
Fax: 303.243.5435
Cindy.Grove@MVBofC.com
Sunflower Bank
Marc Hendrikson, CPA, CCIFP, CGMA
SVP – Contractor & Commercial Banking
665 Flatiron Marketplace Dr | Broomfield, CO 80021
303.831.6735 Office | 720.281.4179 Cell
marc.hendrikson@sunflowerbank.com

Accounting and Tax Advisors

Feis & Company, P.C., CPAs
Bob Feis
Certified Public Accountants
193 S 27th Ave, #100
Brighton, CO 80601
(303)659-1200
bob@feiscocpa.com
Hughes & Company
Bill Hughes, CPA
Hughes & Company, LLC
Hughes & Company, LLC
789 Sherman Street, Suite 575
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 318-0115
Wipfli LLP
Pete A Aden, CPA, CCIFP
Partner, Wipfli
7887 E. Belleview Ave, Denver, CO 80111
720 531 4429 Office
303 881 1196 Mobile

Previous IECRM Live Member Sessions:
Topic: COVID Resources for the SBA Economic Injury Program, the CARES Act, & Labor & Employment Issues
April 1, 2020 07:30 AM
Meeting Recording:
Topic: Emergency Preparedness: Lessons / Learning, How are We “Really, Really” with COVID-19?
Mar 25, 2020 07:30 AM
Meeting Recording:

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