Shortly after the company’s Christmas party in early December, CEO Denny Reiland started to hear rumblings about the then-unknown virus in China. As he continued to read more about it over time, and talked to those who worked in the country, he knew this could be serious. And he wanted to be proactive.
“By February 5th, we announced to our team that the storm is coming,” Reiland says.
General Pattern invested in laptop computers for employees to work remotely and stocked up on hand sanitizer, protective masks and other health essentials for those who would continue to work on-site. Many of his 150 employees at the plastic injection molding company thought this might be a bit extreme, he says, but a few weeks later, almost every company across the country was taking the same actions—and struggling to do so quickly.
“We were ready when everyone else had just started,” Reiland says.
That preparation expanded beyond health precautions, though. General Pattern created the necessary tools to produce face shields, ventilator parts and other medical-equipment elements at their location—an innovation that helped their clients and their own business, too.
“It was gratifying to keep folks busy and play some role in helping to save lives,” Reiland noted.
But the company, which was started by his grandfather in 1922, still had challenges to face. While some work continued as usual, and they had some new products, other aspects of their production slowed. Reiland could find projects to keep the team busy—even if it meant painting the walls, he says—but it was harder to find the cash to continue paying their usual wages.
The Paycheck Protection Program
The Small Business Administration was about to launch the Paycheck Protection Program, offering forgivable loans to help businesses get through this economic downturn without cutting jobs. It was a great opportunity for companies like General Pattern, but they had to act quickly, knowing they only had a short window to be able to apply before the funds ran out.
New information was coming out regularly, and forms continued to change. Reiland’s team worked with their Old National partners until around 11pm on a Friday night to submit their 80-page application.
“When we weren’t sure how far stretching this time would be, getting those funds was crucial to our business,” Reiland says. “Being able to fund our staff by payroll has meant so much and has allowed me to sleep at night, quite frankly.”
“I’ve been fortunate to work with Denny for close to 10 years, and we’ve all seen how important General Pattern is to their employees and our community," says Arleen Sullivan, Chief Commercial Client Services Officer. "We’re so glad we were able to work with him to secure the PPP loan and provide a little bit of relief during a stressful time.”
Reiland says June of 2020 looks to be the worst month for the company, but is hopeful for the future.“Luckily, business is coming back,” he says. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so we just need to hang on.”
And he remains grateful for his relationship with his banking partners at Old National.
“When times are good, it’s easy to be a good partner, but when times aren’t so good, it’s nice to know you have a partner you can trust,” he says.
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