Its newsletter time again! Another busy month, supply chain shortages, people shortages, a couple promotions, tenure awards, more Covid, and another school shooting, argghhh.
First and foremost, my heart goes out to the children, parents, and families of the people killed and injured in the elementary school shooting last week. This is so tragic and so sad. We provide systems to help save lives in these kinds of situations and I wish we could have provided a solution that could help in some way. This is what we do, we help make these facilities safer. We will step up our efforts in all communities to get systems installed, programmed, and trained where we can to help make our communities safer. Please keep these victims, families, and others in our thoughts.
We have a couple promotions to announce this month. Marquis Woodard has been promoted to CSO, Chief Sales Officer, for Lone Star Communications. Marquis will become the leader of sales company wide. He is tasked with growing the company’s sales organically company wide and with the alignment of processes, proposals, and selling techniques. In addition, Joshua Hiett has been promoted to Director of Corporate Services. He will work directly for Patt and take on the workload of running Corporate Services to include Talent Development, Human Resources, Recruiting, while retaining the responsibilities of Legal Counsel and ISO manager. In addition, Joshua will oversee future roles of Safety Officer and LEAN Process Improvement manager. Attached is a press release that has a little more detail. Join me in congratulating Marquis and Joshua for these well-earned promotions.
Several of us traveled to the different offices and recognized the years of service for a number of employees. We recognized 10 in Grand Prairie, 11 in Houston, 3 in Arkansas and 3 in Central Texas with the 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year employees. It was a wonderful night, and we all had a chance to tell a story about something we did or were a part of in the past. We recognized our first 30-year employee this year. What an achievement to have not 1 but 2, 30-year employees. Ron Kruse and Dan Hiett are both 30 years, so Dan was celebrated first in Grand Prairie and Ron the next night in Houston. We also recognized two 25-year employees, Patt Bowles and Cliff Switzer. We traveled to Little Rock on the following Monday and Georgetown on Tuesday the 24th. We had two 30-year, two 25-year, six 20-year, six 15-year, four 10-year and seven 5-year for a total of 27 honorees.
We had 3-million-dollar sales month and that puts us over 41 million in sales for the year to date. Amazing. The good and the bad is the backlog continues to build. We have exceeded 57 million in backlog and that is great for the comfort of work in house, but it means are customers are waiting. The supply chain issue has made the problem worse in that we cannot get all of the equipment we need to get our jobs done. We had a meeting with Rauland earlier this month and they are trying to get us the critical material we need to bring us at least up to the orders needed by March 31. But this still leaves us 2 months behind. We are working every day to make sure we have what we need to keep all the crews busy and keep the company whole financially.
We are still trying to get people to apply for our open positions company wide. We are looking at a number of ways to entice people to look at Lone Star as a place to work, but it is very hard with less than 3 ½ % unemployment currently. I believe this is a long-term problem and we need to begin calling on colleges and tech schools and encouraging them to utilize the Ignite program from NSCA. I also think it is time to call on high schools and become involved in career days they might have.
One of the new initiatives from the SPC and the surveys is a bonus program for employees recommending their friends and family. We have always had good results with employees that have recommended their friends and even family in some cases. We know you would not recommend a friend or family if they couldn’t do the job or would in some way embarrass you. We have to be careful when we hire to ensure that we hire for the right reasons, and whoever an employee recommends does not work directly for the person that recommended them, especially if they are family. We have a number of cases of nepotism in the company and that is fine as long as it is managed correctly. We have a policy that no one can supervise a family member or close friend. As long as we follow that, we don’t have a problem. Now for the details. Recommend a friend or family for an open position and if the person you recommend passes a phone interview and is brought in for a full interview, you receive $100 dollars. If they get hired, you receive $250 dollars. If that individual remains successfully employed with the company for 180 days or 6 months, you receive another $250. That’s a total of $600 to you for bringing an A player to the organization. There is no limit on the number of candidates you can recommend.
Covid is again on the rise. How and where it will affect us is anyone’s guess, but we need to be aware of our environment and keep washing your hands and wear masks where necessary. You should have Covid tests at home and if you have any symptoms, please take a test. We have a few tests at the office, but they are readily available, and most drugs stores have them now. These tests are really good, and you really don’t need to get a test from any of the vendors and wait for days any longer. We had an employee that was at a conference two weeks ago and they got Covid while there. There were 500 people at the conference and not many of the people were wearing masks. Again, be aware of your surroundings and take precautions. H-F-S. Hands, Face, Space, it still applies.
Well, that’s all for this week. As always, keep doing what you do for Lone Star. We appreciate all of our employees and look forward to honoring you at one of the future tenure award ceremonies.
- Ray Bailey, President