Let me start by saying, I and the Lone Star staff want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and holiday season. Enjoy the holidays and the time with family and friends and make the most of the time away.
Can you believe the year is almost over? It seems to have just zipped by this year. Quick! Here we are only 3 weeks from the end of the year, and we are still really busy. We are running hard so we can end the year on a high note. There are still many orders coming before the end of the year and as I write this, I was notified we closed another $250,000 in education in north Texas. That puts Lone Star well over 8 million in education. Healthcare is very strong and will close with record bookings well over 40 million company wide. We have already broken 60 million in total sales, and there is still more on the way. A big thank you to all sales and supporting staff. That is just outstanding! That is the good news. The bad news is our suppliers cannot deliver the product we need to do the jobs. So, we will have record year in sales in 2021, but maybe flat in revenues because we can’t do the work due to lack of equipment, sheesh. That is due in part to the supply chain issues and chip shortages that have affected deliveries worldwide. So, from a revenue standpoint, we will probably end slightly up or flat for the year. The disappointing effect is this will have repercussions on our profit sharing as well.
PS. One of the big successes or changes for 2021 was the implementation of the quarterly profit sharing program. The profit sharing program went in to affect this year replacing yearend bonuses and we have distributed three of four quarters so far for 2021. The next profit sharing distribution will be the 3rd week in January for the 4th quarter of 2021. The first quarter was hit by the Covid slowdown of 2020, and the 4th quarter will be impacted by the supply chain issues. It is unfortunate that we are not able to get more equipment from Rauland and other suppliers because we have the work in house that would make our projected growth for the year in our backlog. We just can’t finish without the parts.
COL. Did you notice the cost of living increase on your paycheck in the last pay period? We have received a number of emails about them and thank you to those that sent words of appreciation. Inflation has had a negative effect on your income, and this will help for sure. Inflation has hit all sectors from food to gas to entertainment to the material we use on our projects. Our costs have increased just as your personal expenses have increased. Lone Star did a 4% across the board raise to everyone’s pay, so check your paystub when you get a chance. Our costs have hit us hard. Some of our suppliers have hit us with a 10% surcharge related to their cost increases with little or no notice. We are able to recover some of this, but a lot of our contracts are “fixed price” and we have no recourse but to absorb it. Lone Star is working hard to keep our profitability up in spite of what we are hit with.
Shout-Out. Here’s a quick shout out to Ron Kruse for jumping in without being asked to pick up the newsletter duties. When the usual publisher of our newsletter left suddenly, it didn’t occur to me the newsletter would not go out as normal. We were focused on a number of other duties that needed reassignment and the newsletter became an oversight. Ron swiftly jumped in and took on the task for the next couple months until someone else shows interest in editing and publishing the newsletter each month. Thank you Ron for making this December issue possible. You are always one of the first to step up where needed.
Charity. I want to thank all the employees that have been so charitable this year. As you know, Lone Star has supported Angel Flight South Central since 2004 by providing transportation for medical appointments to those in need and for the last 3 years by providing a match on North Texas Giving Day. A good number of employees have become part of that effort by giving cash and a few have become ground angels providing ground transportation as well. Lone Star has had a sustaining gift to the Arlington Shelter for the last 10 years and has supported a number of other non-profits over the years. This year Lone Star employees have helped our own by providing contributions to a couple of “GoFundMe” accounts to help employees hit hard with expenses, mostly medical, that were beyond their ability to overcome on their own. Thank you to all the employees that contributed, this is truly living our company values of One Family.
Opportunities. 2022 will be our year of more opportunity. Keep your eye out for more opportunities coming over the next couple of years. Lone Star may have the chance to open a couple more offices over the next year or two. Would you like to be part of a new operation somewhere? Would you consider moving to a different town or state to open an office? It might be temporary, year or two, or it could be permanent. If you have any interest, talk to me, your supervisor or COO about it. These take months and years to plan, so let us know so we can consider you for something in the future.
Delta Variant. Covid is still in the news and still a risk even though we, for the most part, have been spared much impact in the last 6 months. We have a couple of employees at home now that are either sick from Covid or isolating and awaiting test results. Please, if you have not received a Covid vaccination, talk to your doctor and get one if you can. The vaccine and the boosters are free to you. The Delta variant is still the strain of Covid that is affecting most people in the U.S. currently. But the Omicron variant is rising, and it seems to be more contagious than the Delta, so please be careful during the holidays and while on the job and avoid contact with anyone sick. Remember to H-F-S; wash your Hands, cover you Face when you are in an area of concern, and keep your Space. It is easy to forget the 6 feet spacing, but please try to remain aware and hold others around you accountable for keeping their distance. Please, have a good time and remain well.
Thank you to everyone at Lone Star for what you do and thank you for being a Lone Star Communications employee and part of the Lone Star family. One Team, One Purpose, One Family. We appreciate each and every one of you and please know you are valued. We want to see you back after the first of the year rested and Covid free! Merry Christmas Ya’ll!
- Ray Bailey, President