Mar. 27—When the coronavirus came to the United States, businesses had to not only adjust to new economic challenges, but also address employee health and safety concerns. For HH Technologies, the person up for the challenge was Vickie Garmon, an employee with the company since 2010 and a life-long resident of Bremen.
"The biggest thing was keeping people safe," said Les Jenkins, vice president of operations. That involved social distancing, Zoom meetings and making sure there was plenty of hand sanitizer and protective equipment. The company, which makes roll up doors, developed hands-free technology for the doors inside the plant, which became a popular product for the grocery stores HH Technologies counts as customers.
Garmon used her experience as a volunteer fire fighter to manage the logistics and research required to keep the 114 employees safe. Jenkins said Garmon, "put a lot of effort into ensuring we follow our guidelines, and beyond that, she has invested much in our community."
From the beginning of the pandemic, she scoured the internet and other places to make sure employees had plenty of hand sanitizer, and continues to provide refills as needed. "We're refilling those every week," she said.
In addition, Garmon waded through misinformation spreading on social media to ensure employees — and the community — had the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. "That was tough," said Garmon. "There's a lot of stuff out there on social media."
It was Garmon who took temperatures, sanitized work areas and sent employees home as needed. The relationships among the employees of the family owned and operated company helped cultivate an atmosphere where employees felt safe reporting when they weren't feeling well. The company also made sure employees had the opportunity to make up any time they lost. "We tried to reassure them that 'you're not going to lose your job if you're sick,'" said Jenkins.
"It's a good atmosphere," said Garmon. "We're more like a family."
When the vaccines became available, Garmon worked her magic again, making sure employees who wanted to get the shot could. She coordinated with Amanda Satterfield at Cullman Regional Medical Center, and, so far, 60 employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Vickie really worked hard to make sure we got it," said Jenkins.
Thanks to the steps HH Technologies took — and Garmon's dedication to creating a healthy workplace for her fellow employees — the company never faltered.
"We didn't slow down, we didn't stop," said Jenkins.
And he gives lots of credit to their unsung hero. "She is a highly valued employee whom HH Technologies is proud to have on its team," he said.