Preparation is Key. How One Firm Got it Right in Fighting Coronavirus.

Written by: Andrew Cushman, Chief Marketing Officer, Grant Integrative Facilities Management.

The call came just after 10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11. The NBA announced its 2020 season was placed on indefinite hiatus after a player tested positive for the coronavirus.

Once my cell phone started ringing, I turned to my wife and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow. I’m going to be working all night.” As a premiere facility management firm in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Grant Integrative Facilities Management (Grant), and our sister firm, J3 Building Services, which provides industrial cleaning, have long understood the importance of preventing the spread of bacteria, viruses, and infectious diseases. What we did not know, because no one did, was how the coronavirus was different. What our firm did, because it has proven successful for more than 20 years, was prepare.

Our preparation has proven successful as Grant and J3 Building Services have provided comprehensive cleaning in response to the coronavirus outbreak at the Wells Fargo Center, home to the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers, and for the United States Navy. We have served other essential service providers like police departments, fire stations, and sewer authorities, which provide mission-critical services. We have given major
corporations and individual businesses the ability to provide their essential employees with the assurance and comfort of knowing they have responded aggressively to the coronavirus threat.

At the time, we were unaware our response would mirror that of the doctors battling the disease. Dr. Michael J. Ryan, Executive Director, World Health Organization, Emergencies Programme, states in this must-watch video, “One of the great things in emergency response, and anyone who’s involved in emergency response will know this, if you need to be right before you move, you will never win.”

We at Grant did not know we “would be correct.” In fact, as humans, we hoped to be wrong. No one wanted the coronavirus to develop into the massive health crisis it has become. But as service providers, we knew we could not be “paralyzed by the fear of failure.” We had to prepare to respond for our clients. That meant researching the issues, developing a strategy, and determining the processes and procedures to guide our actions. This is critical in the management field. The only difference––and it was significant––was our preparation was based on hypotheticals and the ever-changing knowledge base of the COVID-19 viral transmission. And that’s where Dr. Ryan’s words continued to ring true.

“Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection. And the problem in society that we have at the moment is everyone is afraid of making a mistake,” Ryan said.

Two days before the NBA suspended its season, our leaders invested thousands of dollars to purchase a chemical called ZEP DZ-7. Specific to
coronavirus, it is critical to understand there are cleaning products referred to as “fighting agents,” which are different from products that eliminate the virus. ZEP DZ-7 is certified as an agent that eliminates coronavirus from all surfaces. Our firm now had hundreds of gallons of the chemical en route to our office. In addition, the firm spent more than $10,000 to purchase three KaiVac 1750s – a no-touch cleaning system necessary for heavy-duty scrubbing. Finally, the firm established a Coronavirus Response Team, specifically training select employees on proper usage of Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning products, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for the most effective cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing processes related to coronavirus.

As with most small businesses, where financial decisions have ripple effects throughout an organization, there were moments of doubt following the purchase of thousands of dollars of equipment and chemicals we might not utilize. James P. Grant, the firm’s CEO, texted to employees, “If we got it wrong, people won’t be sick and that’s more important. What we are is prepared. We are prepared to respond immediately to our current clients, and we are prepared to provide immediate solutions to new clients. We have equipment, products, and staff needed to act.”

That text message was three hours before the NBA postponed its season and my cell phone rang. And it hasn’t stopped ringing since.

Written by: Andrew Cushman, Chief Marketing Officer, Grant Integrative Facilities Management. Grant Integrative Facilities Management provides high-quality building environments through a commitment to efficiency, safety, functionality, and reliability while reducing costs for the owner. As a full-service facility management firm, Grant specializes in Building Operations and Management, Maintenance and Custodial Services, and Professional Engineering and Construction Management. Featuring a portfolio of thousands of assignments totaling tens of millions of dollars, Grant maintains more than 5 million square feet of facilities.