The Business Challenge of COVID-19: Cunningham-Limp’s Integrity-led Values Drive its Process
On March 23, 2020 Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 requiring all Michigan residents to stay at home for at least three weeks in the fight to flatten the curve on COVID-19. As Cunningham-Limp employees sat down at their home offices (make-shift or otherwise) on the second morning of the stay-at-home order, they opened their emails to see a note from Company President, Randy DeRuiter that began plainly “It is bugging me that I cannot walk around and say Good Morning. I already miss seeing you.” From there, he outlined more observations and questions he had from his first day physically removed from his team. “People will remember this for decades” he stated, and asked, “What memories will they have of Cunningham-Limp? What will your memories be?”
Only time will provide the answers to Randy’s questions, but Cunningham-Limp is not leaving its legacy to fate. Order 2020-21 was immediately reviewed in detail to determine the impact to each and every project. What became clear was that the company’s 36-year old instinct to push projects forward against any and all adversity would be checked by what is right in light of this historic moment. Thus, a diligent and careful process unfolded to assess all projects, carefully communicating the impact to all stakeholders and beginning the planning process for minimizing any long-term effects.
The message delivered to Cunningham-Limp team of doers was clear that although project execution will be impacted, the work of a fully staffed team remains essential. As a company that relies on its values to drive its business decisions and processes, there is a unique opportunity to work on many of the things that will make it a better company and to build better communities. There is ample evidence that suggests the demand for construction services will escalate when this unfortunate virus runs its course. Cunningham-Limp is a strong company that will emerge from this event well positioned to serve its incredible clients.
Cunningham-Limp will rely on the culture that has been built over the past 36 years, working with the finest professionals in the industry to use this time to make meaningful progress on processes, data management, system improvement, training and other ways to create the best outcomes possible. It has challenged every employee to remain engaged and to not dwell on the past days and weeks; rather they are being asked to use this time to be innovative, creative, and to begin planning how to emerge from this prepared and resolved to relight the fires of industry and production for the company, its clients, and the state.
But this is more than just a Cunningham-Limp issue affecting its roughly 35 employees. More than 400 people go to work each day on a Cunningham-Limp project. Cunningham-Limp will be open and transparent with them and treat them with empathy and respect. Before the third day of the Executive Order, leaders in the company will have personally talked to every one of its clients, vendors, and subcontractors to check on how they are coping, and together solidify the plan for the future.
These things we know: Things will get better. This is still the best place in the world for opportunity. When our nation comes out of this crisis, it will come out stronger. New buildings and developments will need to be built and Cunningham-Limp will be prepared to build them.