Looking Toward a Year of Optimism and Positive Change
Merry New Year! (A little Eddie Murphy humor from back in the day…). Thank goodness, we finally have 2020 in the rear-view mirror. I think we are all tired of the upheaval of the past year, and while 2021 feels like it is starting in similar territory, I certainly hope this year ends in a very different place.
Last January, we didn’t yet know we had a global pandemic on our horizon. This January, there are two vaccines and a third one on the way. Millions of people have been vaccinated, and I’m anticipating that tens of millions will have gotten the shot by the end of the first quarter of this year. I believe that, by summertime, virtually anyone who wants to be vaccinated will have access to it.
I, for one, am going to get the shot! At 56, I’m no spring chicken. I have that middle-aged potbelly and have had a medical challenge here and there. From my vantage point, there is not much to lose and little reason to worry about the side-effects of these vaccines.
To help those planning to get the vaccine, we have distributed a letter on CoolSys letterhead identifying you as an essential worker. It doesn’t matter what age group you’re in or where in the company you work. To keep the tip of the spear — our heroes in trucks and on job sites — going, it takes the entire village and supply chain. Every employee at CoolSys is an essential worker.
I’m expecting our work to pick up in 2021. Grocers (our primary vertical for installation) had a great year financially. At first, they didn’t want to take stores offline because they were so busy, then they questioned what to build. Now they have had a year to think about it, which should lead to a more normal busy season this summer. In the industrial sector, we are taking on more large-scale projects further up the cold chain. All in all, I’m expecting bigger things to happen in 2021 for the install teams.
On the company’s service side, while we added 6,000 new essential-business-type locations — drugstore business at places like Walgreens and CVS is booming — we were interrupted in the restaurant and retail sectors in a rather significant way. If we see any uptick among these categories of businesses, it will let the new growth shine through. Right now, the stellar year our CoolSys sales team achieved is masked by holes in revenue from other places.
One of the major lessons many of us have learned during the pandemic is that we can work from multiple places. That new reality is evident among our CoolSys leadership team: our CFO, Ed Dunlap, is moving to Florida; I’m moving to the Dallas, Texas, area; our new COO, Chris Schulken, lives in the Washington, DC, area; and our newly hired CITO, Jamie Williams, lives in Denver. Our world has become more virtual, and the requirements of physical location for some types of workers have changed forever.
I’m moving to Dallas for many reasons. First and foremost is the central location for our growing company. In under 2-1/2 hours, I can be anywhere in the USA. You can expect me to start popping up on a more regular basis as business travel returns to a more normal pace. Plus, my eldest son and his family live “down the road” in Austin. The fact is, I was a Texan long before I was a left coaster. This old boy is going home.
I hope 2021 brings many happy trails and newly refreshed optimism in your world too. We have, together, weathered a storm of epic proportions. I’m a “glass-half-full” kind of guy, and I hope things settle back into a sense of normalcy.
Take care, and let’s make 2021 a thousand times better than 2020!