People around the world find themselves in the midst of one great, shared experience. Social distancing and large-scale quarantine measures became the norm in the months of March and April for many in the U.S. Colleges and schools stand empty, workplace conversations take place on laptops around kitchen tables or, in many industries, not at all. We spoke with a few of our members whose lives, work and studies have been directly impacted since governments across the U.S. took measures to slow COVID-19’s spread.
George L. Lee, III serves as Vice President of Red Devil, Inc., a manufacturing company with its headquarters in Tulsa. Red Devil manufactures a broad and diversified line of hand tools and chemical products for professional and home maintenance and improvement – more than 400 different products in all. In addition to producing caulks, sealants and tools under its own brand name, the company also manufacture private label products for some of the nation’s largest hardware and home center chains. Its 135,000 square foot production facility is located in the Mid-America Industrial Park in Pryor, OK. The company has been a family owned business since 1872.
What is your title and what does your company/program do in “normal” times?
“I am Vice President, I handle the legal/benefits/intellectual property work in varying degrees for Red Devil Inc which is a chemical manufacturer and tool distributor to over 40 countries globally and all 50 states.”
How did the COVID-19 issue impact your day-to-day work?
“In an abundance of safety we closed our Tulsa office while keeping our factory up and running. We implemented social distancing, mask usage and other appropriate sanitary routines to keep employees safe while at work.
“Our office employees who are able to work from home are doing so until beginning of June when we will reassess opening out Tulsa office.”
If you’ve been forced to shut down or work from home, how has that impacted your job?
“I have been working from home and what annoys me the most is the lack of my ability to gather all the information I need to answer questions and make decisions in a timely matter. Also the technology to link to my work desktop is slow and laggy as bandwidth is troublesome which ups the annoyance factor.”
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work in the coming few months?
“Ours is reopening the office in a manner that provides a healthy and safe environment for our employees, and filling orders from our factory as we begin starting up new production on lines we have been putting in during this period and continuing from last year.”
Have there been any positives you can point to in terms of new ways of doing business or working that have come during this time?
“I think the forcing of employees to work from home has shown our IT people what needs to be adjusted to make this more efficient.”
In terms of your international activities, how have those been impacted by the past three months?
“Some of our customers have had problems more due to the currency cross rates causing our product to be more pricey, but payments, shipping and orders seem to not have been affected too much.”