Paul Bertozzi, president and CEO of Jacksonville-based Live Oak Contracting, said all of his active projects are open and operational, while second-quarter starts are on hold.
“Most all will move forward as we move past this pandemic,” he said April 6.
The COVID-19 coronavirus has affected the economy unlike any other shock.
“This is an unprecedented economic crisis,” Bertozzi said.
“I don’t think we have ever seen anything like this before the pandemic hit the U.S.”
Bertozzi said all of Live Oak Contracting’s multifamily projects are moving forward, and he signed two new contracts at the end of March.
“Our workforce is working closely together to keep all our projects open. This is a difficult time, and they have done a fantastic job of working together,” he said.
Bertozzi said Live Oak Contracting’s 64 employees work across four states. He has hired three employees to continue the development of the team.
“We are open for business,” he said.
Bertozzi said the office has transitioned to a remote work setup with office hours as needed for project management, estimating and general operations.
Job sites remain operational with safety standards.
“We have placed hand sanitation stations in our buildings, as well as hand-washing stations at each site. We have sent notices to all our trade partners, so we are coordinating our efforts to prevent the spread,” he said.
Social distancing leads to some loss of efficiency, but Bertozzi is looking at innovative ways to improve the work flow.
Bertozzi said the federal, state and local governments are trying to keep markets operational with mandates.
“We must stay vigilant to eliminate this feeling of uncertainty and know that we have the right protocols in place at this point,” he said.
Bertozzi said some industries will suffer during the market adjustments.
“However, the market and the economy will return, and America will continue to be a vibrant nation,” he said.
“While it is a difficult time right now, I don’t believe this economic impact is going to be long term.”
Bertozzi said the economy was robust with low unemployment before the pandemic.
“While some of the fundamentals of the economy have broken down, the overall market is resilient,” he said.
Bertozzi said the U.S. economy is resilient and fundamentals are strong.
He said one benefit will be a resurgence of medical manufacturing in the U.S.
“We cannot rely on others to supply us with our critically needed pharmaceuticals and medical equipment,” he said.
Bertozzi considers it a time for innovation and creativity.
“Every size business out there started because they felt like they could do something better than their counterparts,” he said.
“In these uncertain times, we have the opportunity to create those innovative ideas. The next entrepreneur and great idea are out there, whether it’s another industry or another product, or just another solution to an existing problem.”
Bertozzi expects to see results from the stay-at-home orders nationwide.
“I think this will allow us to start viewing industries and businesses start moving again in May,” he said. “While it will be a slow startup, I think we will all be back in production by the third quarter.”
When that happens, “I think we will have a massive recovery that will bring our economy back more robust than it was before.”