Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is changing so quickly most of us can’t keep up (either with the news or our own personal inventory of toilet paper).

New buzzwords, such as essential, shelter-in-place, non-life-sustaining, etc., fuel the business narrative and force us all to reevaluate our professional and personal habits at the drop of a dime. The Federal Government and many states* – Ohio and Pennsylvania in our trading territory – have deemed the trades and wholesalers who supply them to be an essential industry.

Our industry has been granted the privilege of continued work (with exceptions for new construction in Pennsylvania in our footprint) because the services we offer are indeed essential to everyday living. There is merit in this designation, but the title of “Essential” brings the responsibility of living up to an “Essential” standard (a nod to Spiderman on the article’s title). 

The service side of our business, in particular, will have the opportunity to stand out and deliver top-notch customer service as social distancing practices have more people spending their time at home and increasing the stress on their mechanical systems. And when the call comes, all of us in the field must strictly adhere to the CDC’s guidelines for interpersonal interactions.      

There is no roadmap to get through this health crisis, but the coming months are a prime opportunity to show the entire country why national and local leaders are trusting the trades to help keep our country going. 


The trades are responsible for the completion of health care facilities.

The trades are responsible for building and servicing the homes in which we can take shelter when mandated by the government.

The trades are responsible for maintaining the sanitary infrastructure that directly affects everyone’s health.

The trades are willing to get their hands dirty (and clean them effectively) so that we, as homeowners, don’t have to.

Essentially Efficient 

Because the trades are so essential to every citizen’s daily life, now is the time for our entire supply chain to show how we will thrive under the weight of our essential designation. We must show state and national decision-makers why our industry must remain in action. To do so, all of us in the supply chain need to innovate our businesses during these times. We must all reach for a new standard of performance, show how we can be effective while avoiding infection, and embrace technology to make our businesses more efficient and attractive to the modern workplace.

The steps we take in the coming weeks can establish a foundation for future generations to see the trades as a worthwhile, challenging, and lucrative profession, no matter your education level.


*Status as of this writing on Monday, March 23