Winter 2020 newsletter reviews challenging year
4 months ago
We can finally put 2020 behind us; thank goodness! Yet at Carl A. Nelson & Company, where we pride ourselves on our ability to adapt and innovate, the past year has provided many opportunities to demonstrate that capacity.
In January, after months of planning, we rolled out the replacement of our legacy phone system with a cloud-hosted VoIP phone system with many new features — including video and web conferencing capability to accommodate our decentralized teams on their desk phones, computers and mobile phones. No, we did not know that the pandemic was coming, but our timing was perfect. Since we are a relatively decentralized organization with offices in Burlington, Cedar Falls, Muscatine and Washington, we already had Remote Desktop and VPN software systems that allowed full system access, which benefitted people who had to work from home due to isolation or quarantine.
Some of our employees did contract the virus but thankfully, none had serious medical conditions and returned to work according to CDC guidelines.
Most of our projects were deemed by our customers to be “essential” and continued uninterrupted, albeit with many mitigation measures. We had a few projects that were shut down due to the pandemic, all but one which have resumed. We did see a drastic drop in new projects starting in 2020, and as a result our sales were off 20% from 2019, which left us with spare capacity to serve our customers and accelerate some project schedules. We ended up with minimal layoffs this year.
To add to the bad news, we found out in June that Christine Robertson, our VP of Finance since 2011, would not be able to continue with Carl A. Nelson & Company due to a health condition. We incorporated this change into planned organization changes. Tom Jones was promoted into a new Financial Director position and we hired Gregg Mandsager as our new VP of Administration replacing our VP Finance position. We also promoted Jamie Stanley to a new position of VP Operations – Cedar Falls, in charge of Industrial projects; and promoted Chris Smith to VP Operations – Burlington, in charge of medical, educational and recreation projects.
With these changes in place and a vaccine on the way, we look forward to a safe and prosperous 2021, and feel grateful for the work that our customers have entrusted to us.
Tim C. Seibert, P.E., President
Carl A. Nelson & Company
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