Editorial: Part of larger communities
COVID-19 shows how businesses and lives are intertwined.
By Stephanie Gordon
In past years, planning for our May issue begins in March. This March, however, was anything but normal as a global pandemic set off a chain reaction that was felt in every corner of everyday life.
In this issue, you’ll read about COVID-19 and its impact on the drainage industry, but this wasn’t part of my original plan. As we’ve seen around the world in the last few months, COVID-19 has forced everyone to pivot their plans and priorities.
For drainage, and specifically agricultural drainage, many states and countries are viewing your services as essential and you are allowed to continue with the addition of some extra safety protocols. Because of this, one would think work days would be business as usual, and when I asked our Drainage Contractor Facebook community how COVID-19 has impacted their businesses, some responded and confirmed they were “still going strong.”
However, our businesses and lives are always intertwined with others. Even though drainage contractors are allowed to continue working, they’re still impacted by the COVID-19 domino effect. Other members of our Facebook community said their countries were in lockdown and there were delays in receiving supplies. One contractor said the shutdown of area schools allowed him to hire teenagers who would normally be in school at the time, pointing to how community impacts trickle down to local businesses.
Finally, one contractor shared that he donated $500 to his local foodbank as a way to help those in need who aren’t able to be working. He also laid out a challenge to other contractors to match the donation and another drainage company also donated $500 to their local foodbank. This action is echoed in Rob Burtonshaw’s U.K. Update column on page 34, where he writes how contractors are rising to the occasion and helping neighbors with tasks like groceries.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. I would also like to spotlight the following for their work to make the spring months amid a global pandemic a little brighter: Jaques Farm Drainage and Watkins Drainage for each donating $500 to their local foodbank; all the North American extension staff for continuing their work online; Terra Point Commercial Wash for offering truck drivers a free lunch when they come in through the wash; Prinsco for hosting a virtual concert for its teams and customers; and all the businesses and manufacturers who are keeping operations running smoothly while practicing social distancing or adhering to lockdowns.
By the time you receive this issue, the situation may be different – and I hope it is. I wrote these stories in my editorial to document our industry’s history during this time. Along with COVID-19 coverage, you can read about online tools to help you plan better installs on page 22, or ways to come up with maps for older, existing tile systems on page 14.
Whatever this tiling season has in store for you, remember you are part of the larger drainage community who is here to help and – as a bonus – already appreciates the benefit of tile drainage.