These past several weeks have been unlike any other in my lifetime. For many of us, COVID-19 has ripped normalcy from our lives. For some, it has taken so much more than that. It has created uncertainty and turmoil, and it appears that it is going to get worse before it gets better in the United States.
Government leaders across the country have issued shelter-in-place orders for people with “non-essential” jobs. And while the definition of “essential” keeps changing, most of those orders categorize our work—the construction, maintenance and service of buildings—as an essential function of society. Craftsmen and craftswomen, service technicians and other specialized builders continue to go to work each day to ensure our communities function.
Over the past three weeks, I have made it a point to communicate with our team members every day. I have tried conveying my appreciation for the women and men of U.S. Engineering who are working on the front lines. Today, however, I am writing to thank all the men and women in the construction industry. To the skilled craftspeople, whether you are at U.S. Engineering or elsewhere, thank you for the work you are doing. Thank you for making sure the healthcare facilities that medical professionals work in every day are up and running. Thank you for building and maintaining the data centers that are keeping millions of businesses operating remotely—and that connect families across the street and across the world. And thank you for ensuring that our infrastructure remains ready for us when this outbreak is in the rearview mirror.
To our teammates in the Field, I know you are experiencing a range of emotions. At U.S. Engineering, you have used quick, anonymous surveys and videoconferences to share how you are coping. I am certain others throughout the industry feel the same way. Some are grateful to be working. Some are proud to be contributing during this crisis. Some have more questions. And some are simply scared of the unknown. All those feelings are valid. All of them are understood. My hope is that whatever the coming days bring, the hardworking people in the Field know that I don’t just speak for myself when I say, “thank you.”
Much still remains unspoken. Fear, uncertainty and doubt are everywhere. But the work our Field forces are performing is important. Years from now, when we look back on this time, children and grandchildren will ask what we did—and each of us will give a different answer. I already know what I will say. It will start with describing how privileged I was to work with the men and women of U.S. Engineering. They fought through the uncertainty and overcame challenges to keep building and maintaining our great communities.
Finally, I want to thank another group of craftsmen and craftswomen. Each day, we read and hear stories about medical professionals and first responders working tirelessly to save the lives of others, sacrificing safety just to perform their jobs. No group of men and women deserves our gratitude more, so on behalf of U.S. Engineering and all the building trades, “thank you.”
We are in this together, and I know that each of us can rise to the occasion, whether it is working in an emergency room, on the front lines of a construction job, servicing a hospital, or simply sheltering in place and then delivering food to an elderly neighbor. During times of crisis, our instinct is to turn inwards and protect ourselves, our families and our organizations. But some have the capacity to do more—to inspire selflessness, generosity, empathy and ingenuity. I now see that more clearly than ever in our team members at U.S. Engineering and in our industry. There are more tough days that lie ahead, but I am already proud of the legacy we are leaving.
Chairman & Chief Optimist
U.S. Engineering Company Holdings