08/23/20

Osburn Cares: Our Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

DANIEL HARRIS

COO at OSBURN

The Coronavirus pandemic changed the game for all of us. In the midst of a healthcare crisis, turbulent economic times and a constantly shifting regulatory environment, Osburn has remained vigilant to keep our people safe. Our industry of construction was deemed essential, so we have continued uninterrupted operations, as always, with a safety-first mindset. We made changes on the job site and in our office, we have sought out high horsepower partnerships, continued to communicate with our people, and have given each other a whole lot of grace.

COVID has intensely challenged construction because assembling a building is such a team effort. On our job sites, we have our vendors, other trade partners, and General Contractors, in addition to our own teams. We created an aggressive COVID response plan to mitigate our risk. This plan touches on how to keep the safety of our people at the forefront and keep the job site moving. Part of our plan was an alteration to the way our guys clock in on site so there is no common surface that they touch. We have provided masks and alcohol-based hand sanitizer to our people. We nominated a dedicated COVID officer on our job sites. When team members check in, the officer enforces temperature checks, goes through the COVID questionnaire, and reports all data to a centralized system. That data is reviewed by our COVID team daily. We have the ability to review and respond to any potential exposure the same day. Our Director of Safety, Herb Santos, disseminates a weekly COVID update with national trends about the virus, and shares it with all Osburn employees.

We have stayed on the cutting edge of what the CDC and Texas Department of Health are communicating. But we haven’t done that alone: we have proactively sought out resources. We have the philosophy that we cannot be afraid to ask for help. Our ego cannot get in the way. Our leadership team has made a lot of calls to understand the rapidly evolving situation better. We have had a lot of discussions with other companies about what is working and we have emulated that. We partnered with construction law firms Peckar & Abramson as well as Cokinos to get weekly webinars with new information. High Horsepower Partners like these have gone above and beyond to provide what we needed in a rapidly changing environment.

In our office, we encouraged our Project Managers, Estimators, Operations Managers, and support staff to work in safe remote locations. We directed our office staff to coordinate with Human Resources to take any equipment they need home. We have restocked their corporate spaces with everything they need once they return to the office. We wanted to ensure all employees were productive and safe during the pandemic and beyond. By taking these measures, we have been collectively successful.

We have noticed some really positive results come out of this new work situation. When people control their own schedule, and are not commuting for two hours, efficiency increases dramatically. When people need to meet, they have leveraged technology to stay connected. Many of our people have aggressively overcome the technological learning curve to meet remotely. We have been adamant that we will stay connected during this tumultuous time. Our company philosophy has been that we all need to live with a whole lot of grace.

Osburn has highly adaptable folks. Even in the face of a global crisis, our people continue to exemplify our Guiding Principles and remain committed to safety and each other.