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Coronavirus / Member Firms

April 20, 2020

Small Firm COVID-19 Roundtables Focus on PPP, Keeping Up Staff Morale

On April 15, ACEC hosted two virtual roundtables for small firms (Fewer than 50 employees). Bill Lloyd of Great West Engineering and Jon Nishimura of Fukanaga & Associates moderated the first roundtable and Cathy Ritter of Constellation Design Group and Tricia Ruby of Ruby & Associates moderated the second one.

Here are the highlights:

  • About half of the roundtable participants have applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, 20 percent have received an SBA number, and six firms have received funds. One firm reported that the time from applying for PPP to receiving the funds was four days.
  • Firms should get guidance from an accountant on the program requirements, including sick/family leave policies. Documentation is key if a firm plans to apply for forgiveness under the program, but money does not need to be kept in a separate account. An accountant advised that SBA would be looking at forgiveness terms, so firms need to be able to articulate and document their reasons why.
  • Participants discussed the advantage of coding activities related to the PPP loan money (job numbers) to track it.
  • If employees are not feeling safe going to work, walk them through any guidance that has been put out by client or the state/city.
  • Firms reported that states are considering infrastructure as essential work, but that oil/gas and commercial work has slowed or stopped..
  • Firms are using their own safety policies to cover the current situation.
  • To track employees’ time, firms have created specific “COVID” codes.
  • Some firms are deferring local holidays to later in the year.
  • To help employees trying to get in work hours while balancing family at home, firms are being creative in defining workweeks to include Saturday and Sunday.
  • To engage with staff, firms are organizing virtual book clubs, running fitness challenges, hosting virtual happy hours and lunches, creating support teams within the firm, and having a senior leader provide daily updates to everyone to keep everyone informed.
  • Firms are using Microsoft Teams/Zoom to keep in touch with employees.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.


April 20, 2020



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