Every day continues to bring different challenges. It is important to stay fluid and let this pandemic continue to take its course. It is my hope that we are on the up and up and can soon put the fear behind us while moving forward with our newly adopted business practices we created during the pandemic.
By John Paglia

I think by now, all of us are tired of hearing and seeing the word COVID-19 just about everywhere we look. The year of 2020 is already almost halfway complete. It is a year none of us saw coming or predicted at the closure of 2019. This pandemic has been unlike anything anyone walking on Earth has ever seen. I am always an optimistic minded person, so I always try to find the good in every bad situation no matter how bad it is. Doing so for COVID 19 is no different. It has and will change the way our industry and all businesses operate.

Communication
It really has pushed technology to the forefront of communication. I have been on more conference calls, Zoom Calls, Skype for Business (to name a few) than I have ever been in these last few months compared to all my years in business combined. At first, this was new, and no one likes to change. I must admit at this point it has been welcomed and increased my productivity. Prior to COVID-19, meetings that lasted one to two hours required a day of travel on both sides of the meeting, would consume three days to accomplish the mission. While I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, meeting new people and enjoying a face-to-face meeting followed up by dinner and drinks, the old way of conducting business is nowhere near as efficient as the new COVID-19-induced forms of meetings. I believe that post-COVID-19, these short meetings are easily just as successful over a Zoom call and will continue this way to give us all some more free time, or shall I say, time to focus on something else. I want to open the economy and stimulate travel again no doubt, but these short meetings that required in-person representation may become a way of the past.

Cleaning and Sanitizing
COVID-19 has pushed our attention to personal hygiene throughout our day even more than it already did. I will admit prior to this pandemic a lot of items we now made standard were more of a personal preference. Without rehashing all the CDC guidelines, we now practice social distancing, limit the close interaction of vendors, have sanitizer and soap stations all around our facilities and encourage masks in proximity. This attention to personal hygiene has been very successful as the number of employees we have had sick has been very minimal and we have been fortunate enough to have zero cases of COVID-19 Positive company-wide. Pre-pandemic, the only time I would religiously wash my hands was after a restroom visit or prior to a meal. I now find myself washing and using sanitizer if I touch anything with bare skin.

Moving Forward
One thing is for certain, we all were thrown curveballs; but if anyone knows how to hit them, it is the garbage men and women. I salute all of us in the industry who have had to pivot to the unknown to save and protect their companies, employees and customers. We should be proud of the changes implemented and continue to pave the way to make our industry safer than it was yesterday. The unfortunate truth is that many businesses will not survive this pandemic; even with all the government assistance programs, it seems to be too little too late/not enough. To the companies that will be able to survive the pandemic, they will be in position to continue growing their companies. At Florida Express Environmental we constantly strategically look to align acquisitional targets to continue to grow our footprint and have top talent individuals looking for a career join our team. We have seen targets we set off from the near future move up to a target we seek to close in 2020. We believe these companies wanting to “sell and join our team” have been because of the strain of the pandemic. Like everyone, we seem to be more fluid than we ever have been before. Every day continues to bring different challenges. It is important to stay fluid and let this pandemic continue to take its course. It is my hope that we are on the up and up and can soon put the fear behind us while moving forward with our newly adopted business practices we created during the pandemic. With more and more states reopening and returning to the new “business as usual”, it is my hope we can start to enjoy life as we knew it once again in the very near future. Stay safe everyone. | WA

John Paglia III is a 4th generation garbage man. Before he climbed the ranks to become Florida Express Environmental’s General Manager, he had a successful career in college and professional athletics. John has been around the garbage industry since his car seat days. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world we live in today. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail John3@floridaexpress.us or visit www.floridaexpress.us.

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