COVID-19 Response: Brian Vona and Ken Vona, Partners, KVC Builders
May 4, 2020
We check in with twelve architects, builders, designers, and suppliers to see how they are managing their staff and their businesses during this incredibly challenging time.
With the coronavirus currently taking over our personal and professional lives, the measures that have been instituted to stop its spread have had a major impact on most businesses, including those of us serving the New England design industry. In times of crisis, we turn to people who have withstood similar circumstances in the past and persevered. We reached out to twelve industry leaders who have led their firms through past crises to share what actions they are taking now, how they will measure the success of their firms over the next twelve months, and how they’re moving forward.
Today Brian and Ken Vona of KVC Builders share how they are re-thinking their business during the COVID-19 crisis.
How are you communicating with your in-house teams and outside vendors?
The majority of our communication is via video calls and emails. We’ve also conducted video conferencing with everyone: employees, sub-contractors, clients. We have sixty-five full-time employees with five currently on as skeleton crew. All job sites are shut down per state requests until May 4 despite our being considered an essential business. We do not want our people in harm’s way nor to cause any harm to first responders, and we will keep sites closed a couple of weeks past this peak. Any portion of a project that can be handled from home will be. Our employees are happy not to be in the fray.
How will you be defining success in three months, six months, a year?
Three months and six months are the same…Success would be healthy staff across the board. Taking care of our employees, retaining all of our employees, and getting them all back working is the priority. In addition, we want to make sure we are servicing our accounts to the best of our ability. At one year, we’ll be looking forward to: a healthy staff, everyone back to work, and throwing a kick-ass party to honor first responders. We are very busy, but we’re not certain the same level of work will still be available.
Is there something you implemented at your firm in 2008 that worked that you are executing again?
We have the same mindset now as in 2008, which is keeping everyone employed and making sure, long-term, our employees do not feel a pinch. As in 2008, we will be funding the employee profit-sharing program. We will continue to focus our work every day on quality, which is a result of our employees. We believe quality always wins. We want to be one of the leaders in the building community during this time, and we are trying to lead by shutting down; we are focused on taking care of our staff and customers impeccably well. In short, we will do everything we can, and then some!
How are you thinking about cash-flow management differently now than in more normal times?
Prior to this time, four months of expenses on hand was enough. Now, six months is required.
Are there different cost-saving strategies you are leaning on regarding staff, overhead, and discretionary spending?
All discretionary spending will go toward our savings going forward. We’re re-looking at all expenses now for cost savings to figure out what is truly necessary and makes us more efficient.
How do you ensure your “all of a sudden” remote workforce remains motivated and productive?
We don’t think about it. We have great people. They will do the right thing each day.