Covid-19 Update from the President

March 4, 2022

Good day Villarans.

Key notice: In alignment with government regulations, Masks are now RECOMMENDED, but no longer REQUIRED, in all Villara indoor workplaces. You will no longer be required to wear a mask, or to wear an “I’ve been vaccinated” badge.

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More news on the Covid front, and once again it is good news. I’ll keep this message short and to the point.

Covid cases continue to decline, along with hospitalizations. Because of these improvements, most government entities are moving away from the “Pandemic” Covid declaration, and to an “Endemic” stage, which recognizes that Covid is not at emergency levels, but rather is another manageable health threat similar to the flu and colds.

In alignment with this reality, all Federal, state, and local agencies have moved away from Mask Mandates, downgrading them to “recommended”, not “required”. Villara will accordingly modify our safety policy, removing the requirements for masks for unvaccinated team members, or badges for vaccinated folks.

As I stated in my last message, the removal of the mask mandate doesn’t mean you are not allowed to wear a mask. As noted above, the agencies still “recommend” wearing masks in public indoor spaces, so each of you needs to assess your own personal health risk in determining whether you should continue to “mask up”. We strongly encourage the use of masks under two conditions:

1. If you are concerned about an increased risk of contracting the virus in a work-place where masks are not worn by many individuals, we would like to offer you N-95 or KN-95 masks for your own use, if you do not have access to them. It is widely recognized that these masks are much more effective at protecting you from the virus, especially in an environment where others are not wearing a mask. Again, no one knows your personal health situation better than you, and we support you in protecting yourself as we move away from mandated masks, and;

2. If you have even the slightest idea that you may have been exposed to someone with Covid-like symptoms, you should wear a mask to help reduce the risk of transmitting an illness to your co-workers.

A final reminder: our 4-Hour Vaccination PTO reward will expire at the end of March, so if you want to receive these bonus PTO hours you’ll need to get your proof of vaccination in to Safety before the end of the month.

If you have any questions, please contact Safety for further information or clarification.

Blessings,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Covid-19 Update from the President

February 14, 2022

Good day Villarans.

We shared some Covid news a couple of weeks ago, but there are more positive developments that we need to share with you, and how it will impact our Policy. Can you handle some “good news”?

We talked about the Omicron variant, and the explosion in the numbers of contracted cases attributed to it. As was predicted, the numbers have begun plummeting in most regions, including California, and due to those improved numbers the Governor just announced that the current statewide mask mandate will be allowed to expire on February 15….woohoo!

What does that mean for Villara Policy?

As of February 16, masks will no longer be required of *vaccinated individuals indoors at any of Villara’s work-places. Please note: Safety will provide new “I’ve been Vaccinated” badges to all employees that have provided proof of vaccination in the very near term. The updated policy is simple: if you are indoors at a Villara facility, you must either wear a mask, or you must wear the “I’ve been vaccinated” badge from safety. We must retain visible compliance to the new State-wide policy.

There are a few points I’d like to clarify that might be relevant to you:

 

1. If you are still unvaccinated, we are still offering 4 hours of PTO if you provide evidence of your vaccination, along with your new shiny “I’ve been Vaccinated” badge. If you don’t like masks, this might be the reason why you will go ahead and “get the jab”.

2. If you choose to remain unvaccinated, let us know if you need a new mask, and we’ll make sure you get one.

3. If any of you wish to continue wearing a mask in the work place (indoors or outdoors), please feel free to do so. While a mask-mandate requires everyone to wear masks, the removal of the mandate doesn’t prevent you from choosing to wear a mask. Everyone is encouraged to consider their own personal health situation, or those of their families, and take appropriate steps to protect themselves.

4. If you are concerned about an increased risk of contracting the virus in a work-place where masks are not worn by vaccinated individuals, we would like to offer you N-95 or KN-95 masks for your own use, if you do not have access to them. It is widely recognized that these masks are much more effective at protecting you from the virus, especially in an environment where others are not wearing a mask. Again, no one knows your personal health situation better than you do, and we support you in protecting yourself as the Pandemic begins to move towards a long-term “Endemic” stage.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Safety for further information or clarification.

Blessings,

Rick Wylie
President

* U.S. health officials say you are fully-vaccinated two weeks after your second shot of a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer’s or Moderna’s or after a single-dose vaccine like Johnson & Johnson’s.

 

 

A Message from the President Rick Wylie

December 27, 2021

Hello Villara Partners,

First, let me wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It’s been a challenging but overall rewarding year, all things considered. Thank you again for your hard work and amazing accomplishments.

With lots of new developments I think it’s time for a Covid update. I’ll keep this message brief and to the point:

  1. The Omicron variant has taken over as the dominant Covid strain, and most regions are seeing significant increases in new cases.
  2. Villara has begun to see an increase in Covid cases: not overwhelming, but it certainly has our attention. So far they appear to be mild cases, which could be very good news. We are bracing for more….
  3. Evidence continues to mount that vaccinated people can become infected with the Omicron variant, but so far most cases are mild, hospitalizations are rare, and death is rarer yet.
  4. About 90% of the hospitalizations and deaths are of unvaccinated individuals.
  5. So….we want to again remind you that Villara is providing 4 hours of PTO to employees who provide evidence of vaccination; we believe it is the safest option and we’re putting our money where our faith is.

Most of you are following the news regularly and are aware of the first 4 points above, so I won’t elaborate on them. I do want to talk a bit more about #5 and vaccinations.

I would submit that there are 5 reasons to get vaccinated:

  1. Four hours of PTO: that’s real money for time off, for whatever reason. Supplement your vacation hours, draw PTO for other planned or unplanned time off, or just bank it for the future.
  2. More and more travel and entertainment events are allowing access only to vaccinated individuals. Whether this is fair or not, it is reality and getting vaccinated simply opens the door to many more activities.
  3. While we all suspect “fake news” at every turn, I know a number of qualified, respected doctors, and they all believe vaccinations are our best option for getting through this pandemic.
  4. If you are vaccinated, there are many less quarantine restrictions should you be exposed to someone who has Covid.
  5. Finally, the battle still rages regarding whether or not it is legal for the government to mandate vaccinations for all employees. While I hope and pray that this mandate will not be upheld, it will create significant hassle for every unvaccinated team member and incredible hardship and costs for the company as well. Villara still has significant numbers of unvaccinated team members, and everyone in the company will feel the impact unless many more team members take steps to get vaccinated.

So for these reasons I once again encourage each of you to get vaccinated.

Again, Merry Christmas and thank you for your hard work and fruitful results.

Sincerely,

Rick Wylie
President

 

 

 

OPEN ENROLLMENT UPCOMING CHANGES LETTER

2021/2022

Dear Villara Employee/WHA Member/Kaiser Member,

Villara Corporation is conducting its annual Benefit Open Enrollment for 2022. Open enrollment occurs once a year from November 16th to December 3rd. This is the time for you to add or remove dependents, or make changes to your benefit plans.

Each year we go through a process to find a cost-effective way to continue offering coverage to our employees, and address the ongoing rising costs of healthcare. This letter is to inform our employees that there are changes to what plans we are able to offer you the employee.

We will maintain our current medical insurance carriers; Kaiser and Western Health Advantage (WHA). However, there will be significant changes to the plans offered:

  • Kaiser: We will NO LONGER offer 3 medical plans through this carrier. Effective January 1, 2022 Villara will offer only 1 Kaiser Plan; A Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). The name of this medical plan is Kaiser HSA 2800.

The Kaiser HMO High Option 1 plan and the HMO Low Option 2 plan will no longer be offered. If you are enrolled in either of those medical plans you MUST fill out an application to select a new plan, otherwise you will NOT have medical insurance.

  • WHA: We will NO LONGER offer 3 medical plans through this carrier. Effective January 1, 2022 Villara will reduce its plan offerings through WHA to 2 plans; both are Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP). The medical plan names are WHA HSA 2800 and WHA HSA 3000.

The WHA Advantage 0/15/250 HMO plan and the HMO Western 1000 plan will no longer be offered. If you are enrolled in the either of these medical plans you MUST fill out an application to select a new plan, otherwise you will NOT have medical insurance.

With these medical plans, you will have the option of electing to set up a Health Savings Account (HSA). An HSA allows you to make pre-tax contributions (in addition to your weekly health premiums) to a savings account that you can utilize to pay for eligible medical expenses. The annual HSA contribution limit for 2022 will be $3,650 for self-only and $7,300 for family coverage. There is a $1,000 catch-up contribution if you are age 55 or older.

Villara will also be contributing to a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for you to use toward your medical expenses.  To find out more, please attend one of the meetings listed below.

  • DENTAL/VISION/LIFE: Our Dental, Vision, Life, and Accident insurance carriers/plans will remain the same with the exception of slight premium rate changes.

Enrollment Info:

Please refer to the items below which describe what you need to do if enrolling, making changes, or declining coverage.

  • Kaiser/WHA: If you currently enrolled in the Kaiser HSA 2800 medical plan OR the Western HSA 3000 medical plan for 2022 and want to remain in those plans AND do not wish to make any dental or vision plan changes, there is nothing that you need to do.
  • If you are NOT enrolled in Kaiser HSA 2800 or Western HSA 3000, you are a new enrollee, want to make plan changes, and/or adding new dependents we will require that a new insurance application be completed for the 2022 plan year.
  • If you do not want health insurance, you must complete a waiver form to decline coverage.

It is highly recommended to attend one of the meetings so you are fully informed and can make the best choices to suit your healthcare needs. Listed below are the dates, times, and WebEx phone numbers of the virtual Open Enrollment meetings.

WEBEX MEETING INFORMATION

To join on of the meetings go to www.webex.com and select “Join a Meeting, enter the “Meeting Number”.  The WebEx Password for all meetings is: Villara.  If you don’t have the WebEx app you can call in at 415-655-0002 and enter the applicable meeting number below.

Meeting Day Dates Time Language WebEx Meeting Number Meeting Password
Tuesday 11/16/21 6:30 a.m. English 2595 240 1540 Villara
Tuesday 11/16/21 11:00 a.m. English 2590 919 2136 Villara
Tuesday 11/16/21 1:00 p.m. English 2593 845 8393 Villara
Tuesday 11/16/21 3:30 p.m. English 2592 617 4333 Villara
Wednesday 11/17/21 6:30 a.m. English 2592 394 9750 Villara
Wednesday 11/17/21 11:00 a.m. English 2592 860 8336 Villara
Wednesday 11/17/21 1:00 p.m. English 2598 145 7120 Villara
Wednesday 11/17/21 3:30 p.m. English 2593 855 6330 Villara
Thursday 11/18/21 6:30 a.m. Spanish 2591 263 5178 Villara
Thursday 11/18/21 11:00 a.m. Spanish 2593 092 6563 Villara
Thursday 11/18/21 1:00 p.m. Spanish 2594 802 5385 Villara
Thursday 11/18/21 3:30 p.m. Spanish 2592 385 5266 Villara

You may contact the HR department at (916) 646-2260 if you have any questions.

Kind Regards,

Human Resources Department

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Willmon: Farewell

October 29, 2021

It is with great sadness that we are announcing the passing of our long-time friend, co-worker and beloved Apprenticeship Manager and Instructor Mike Willmon. Mike was hired September 2, 1986. He wore many hats during his employment with Villara. He started as a Field Installer, promoted to a Lead and held multiple supervisory titles such as Sacramento North and Reno (HVAC) Field Supervisor, Model Home Review Supervisor, Radan Supervisor, Logistics Supervisor, and Quality & Safety Training Supervisor.

Mike was a proponent of education and a graduate of the very Apprenticeship Program that he would later teach and manage. Mike worked hard and played an instrumental part in getting the Apprenticeship program accredited. He was certified in 2018 as a Trade Instructor. His other noteworthy job titles included Six Sigma and becoming President and Owner of Willmon Building Consultants.

If you were to ask any of his fellow co-workers what would be the best way to describe him, you would hear words like professional, master storyteller, reliable, awesome, unicorn, passionate, helpful, selfless, good friend, dependable, true mentor, amazing and fun!

Mike interacted with so many people and touched the lives of anyone he encountered in such a positive way. He developed various hands on workshops to encourage and engage multiple school districts like Elk Grove, Roseville and Placer County. Sierra College started bringing their students to Villara twice a year to attend a similar workshop with Mike. Then there were schools like Sacramento Academic Vocational Academy (SAVA) where he spent weeks at a time teaching their students about HVAC installation. During these sessions he was not shy about telling the students in attendance about the great opportunities he found here at Villara and suggested they could do the same. He was such a great communicator that he built great friendships with the instructors of the above mentioned institutions.

There was a special place in his heart for his fellow Villarans, but none as much as his apprenticeship students. The connections he made and friendships he grew with his students proved he cared about people. He cared enough that he poured everything he knew into his classes so his students could learn and advance their careers. Mike was always thinking about his apprentices and felt it was very important to share this message, and of course, a last story from our master storyteller:

Hello Apprentices,

Every year, I always ask you graduates to go out and share your knowledge. This is so critical. It will help you and them gain skills needed. Please mentor.

Story:
I was working in the field with some new hires. One in particular had been working a few months already. I asked him to work with a newer guy. The newer guy (who had been working for 30 days), said, “I already know everything.”

What I want you to do is keep in mind, there’s always more to learn. Never dismiss an idea because it comes from a new hire. You can learn from anyone. Don’t limit yourself by what you already know.

When you’re out there mentoring or “growing” someone new, there is always a chance to learn from them.

You took classes at night and worked hard to become better.

Thank you for showing up at night to those classes and listening to me go on and on.
Never stop going and learning.

There is more ahead and one day you will know as much as the “30-day Guy” . . .

– Mike Willmon

Mike had a valiant fight against cancer, but sadly succumbed to it on Sunday, October 3rd and will be dearly missed. Mike leaves behind his wife, Angela, and his children, Parker, Bridger, Tawni, and Zachary. To assist with the funeral and any unexpected expenses, a GoFundMe account has been set up.

Mike, your dedication and passion for Villara will forever be imprinted in all that you did. You will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

 

Villara is matching up to $10,000

https://gofund.me/5fb455d4
Use your cell phone camera to scan the QR code for the link above and please consider donating.

 

A  memorial service for Mike is being held on November 12th. If you are interested in attending please contact Kathleen Carlson by phone 916-903-3533 or by e-mail carlsonk@villara.com.

 

 

 

Employee Business Update

May & June 2021 Business Results

October 15, 2021

Hello Villarans.

Well, fiscal 2021 is now completed, other than lots of work to “close the books” on our overall financial performance, including physical inventory along with aligning all of our billing and our costs with the last day of the year, October 3rd. Lots of people will be spending lots of time reconciling these things, and we’ll get the final results in November some time. Thank everyone for the hard work and amazing adaptability you’ve all displayed throughout the year, and throughout the pandemic.

Between now and then we have one more actual month’s financial performance that we can share, the month of July. (I know, I’m late in sharing it with you……).

In our last General Newsletter I shared with you that our profits were being hammered by uncontrollable price increases on virtually all of our raw materials, along with the reality that we couldn’t get everything we needed due to supply chain break-downs. In the month of June we fell below our Pre Bonus Operating Income (PBOI) goal for the first time of the year, coming in at 90% of goal.

Sadly that situation worsened in July, with PBOI falling to 62% of the month’s goal, with the Year-to-Date falling to 129% of goal. (See chart below),

We now have two more months of actual performance (August and September) that are pending final accounting to be able to determine our final bonus multiplier, and there are lots of unrelated factors that come together after the close of the year, but here are some things that I can tell you regarding this year’s upcoming bonus program payouts:

  1. Yes, there will be a bonus this year. In the chart above you can see that we’re already at 99% of the full year goal after July’s results. While profits have been disappointingly low, we cannot imagine any likely scenario where we don’t generate profit in August and September. This means we will exceed the normal target bonus goal of 1.0.
  2. That is the good news; the bad news is we’ve been used to coming in closer to double our target bonus level, and that clearly isn’t going to happen this year. We’ve all worked very hard, and it is disappointing that we’ll not realize the robust bonus payouts that we’ve become accustomed to.

It has been a long 19 months since the first COVID shutdown, and we’ve seen dramatic declines along with amazing recoveries in our business, just as we’ve seen dramatic declines and later increases in COVID cases. We’ve been in unchartered waters, and we all have had to be adaptable and creative in order to take advantage of every opportunity to initially survive and ultimately thrive in our new world order.

As we move forward into our new 2022 fiscal year, we know that we “don’t know it all” when it comes to how the year will play out. I will share with you what our plans look like, in the midst of continuing uncertainty:

  1. We are planning on 2022 being slightly less busy than 2021, although actual revenue should be higher due to the large price increases that we have initiated with our builders in response to our cost increases. This should give us a good chance to “catch our breath”, train our new employees, and stabilize our overall operations.
  2. We expect our profit margins to begin recovering in October, improving consistently throughout our first 5 or 6 months, until we get back to the profit levels we have performed at in recent years.
  3. We believe that the Global supply chain will also slowly begin recovering during a similar 6 month time frame, allowing prices to stabilize and back-orders to return to more manageable levels.
  4. We therefore plan on next year being a good year for all of us, barring any unexpected economic or global health-related events that further impacts our industry.

So in closing, while I know we all were hoping for a better result in 2021, I hope you’ll join me in being grateful that we withstood perhaps the roughest 19 months in our nation’s economic history, while maintaining profitability that met or exceeded our bonus program target goals. Many of you remember the years and years where this was not the case, and obviously this is better!

Please join me in working to make 2022 MUCH BETTER!

With appreciation, pride in and gratitude for your ability to succeed in challenging situations,

Rick Wylie

President

 

 

A Message from the President Rick Wylie

July 30, 2021

In our last update we talked about the significant improvements in our state and region regarding the Covid pandemic, and were pleased to share the good news that restrictions were easing, including the lifting of the indoor mask mandates as it relates to vaccinated individuals.

All of you are aware of the rapidly increasing number of new Covid cases over the last number of weeks, widely attributed to the “Delta variant”. We have seen an uptick within our employee group as well, and currently we have seven individuals out on quarantine. Until recently we had gone for a prolonged period with no quarantines or known infections, so while seven is a relatively low number as compared to earlier this year, it clearly shows that our team is not immune to the new outbreak.

Sacramento County just issued a new health Order that mandates the use of face masks indoors once again, even for those that are vaccinated, so Villara will adhere to these mandates. Here is some specific language from the Order:

This Order directs that face coverings shall be worn, regardless of vaccination status, over the mouth and nose, in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and workplaces, such as, but not limited to: offices, retail stores, restaurants and bars, theaters, family entertainment centers, conference centers, and State and local government offices serving the public.

Individuals are not required to wear face coverings in the following circumstances:

  1. Persons who are working alone in a closed office or room;
  2. Persons who are actively eating and/or drinking.

Please help us to honor and abide by this new mask mandate.

Now I’d like to talk to you personally, as your leader, your colleague, and hopefully your friend. I am heart-broken that of our ~1250 employees, only 318 of you have acknowledged that you have been vaccinated. That leaves about 75% of you that have apparently chosen not to be vaccinated, and are therefore at full risk of contracting and transmitting the virus to those around you. Across the nation the number of vaccinated adults is about 67%, so our vaccination rate is 37% of the rest of the adult population. I’d like to share a few personal perspectives and arguments for being vaccinated, and plead with you to reconsider and join the vast majority of adults who have chosen to be vaccinated:

 

  1. Some are apprehensive about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines on the market. I would argue that in the history of mankind we have not had a more thoroughly tested and proven new vaccination; billions of doses have been administered globally, and the percentage of negative reactions (aside from a sore shoulder…) are infinitesimal. In contrast the number of hospitalizations and deaths due to Covid globally are “daily news-worthy”, even if you feel they are overstated to some degree.

 

  1. There continues to be mounting evidence that this new wave of Covid cases are mostly restricted to the un-vaccinated citizens in our communities. While there are a few reports of “break-through” cases in vaccinated individuals, so far the preponderance of those cases are reported to be mild, and brief, requiring no hospitalization.

 

  1. Some of you are resisting the virus because you resent being told what to do by a political group you may disagree with. I get it….I don’t like being told what to do either (like wearing masks, no public gatherings, etc….). Don’t get vaccinated because someone told you to….get vaccinated because it makes sense for you, your family, your friends, and your co-workers’ safety. Most unbiased evidence indicates that it is the safest path to a “return to normal” for all of us.

 

  1. And finally, many of us are people of Faith, and when we’re ill we like to believe that God can heal us, and we pray for that healing. I believe that God has gifted our medical and science community with the incredible medical breakthroughs that have greatly extended and improved our lives, and I view the vaccinations as a miracle provided by God and the science he has enabled. I believe it is illogical to pray for protection or healing from Covid 19 while rejecting the prevention he has provided for us through our medical community.

 

I am working with County officials to see if we can get access to mobile vaccination units that can come to our headquarters and perhaps even our larger job-sites. That would make the process very easy for everyone, but….even if that is not possible, our medical and government officials are working very hard to make the vaccine available to everyone.  Go check out to find out how easy it is to schedule an appointment to receive your vaccination today!

 

Sincerely,

 

Rick Wylie

President

A Message from the President Rick Wylie

June 10th, 2021

It’s time for another Covid-19 update and it seems like we are finally turning the corner on the pandemic. While it is not over there are many positive signs about the number of covid-19 cases and with that the rules at a national, state, and Villara level are changing based on the new data. Many of these changes are seemingly thanks to the covid-19 vaccines. So what has happened, and what does that mean for you here at Villara?

One of the important changes is that we have seen the cases, hospitalizations, and deaths drop both at the state and national level. In California those numbers are at their lowest level since the pandemic started. Vaccines doses are being administered at 303 million in the US with 140 million fully vaccinated. In California, 38.5 million doses have been administered and 18.1 million fully vaccinated as of 6/7/21. Between the increased vaccinations and declining cases on May 13th the CDC announced they would lift many of the restrictions for the mask guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals as the data continues to point to the fact that the vast majority of vaccinated individuals are both not getting the virus or spreading it to others. California has decided to lift their masking mandate for fully vaccinated individuals on June 15th and 24 of the 39 states that implemented mask mandates have already removed theirs. Both the CDC and California are not lifting the masking requirement for those that are not vaccinated as they are still at risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to others.

So based on this information what will Villara be doing on June 15th?

On June 15th at Villara:

  • Employees working outdoors will not be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination unless required by our customer/builder.
  • Employees working indoors, that have not been vaccinated will need to wear a mask whenever they are within 6’ of another person until they are either vaccinated or the masking requirement is lifted for unvaccinated individuals. Indoors includes the office, plant, and inside a house or building on a jobsite.
  • Employees working indoors who have been vaccinated need to show proof of vaccination to the safety department. The safety department will print a vaccination badge for those individuals with their name on it. If an employee is wearing a covid-19 vaccination badge with their name on it then they do not need to wear a mask. If they are not wearing their badge they will be required to wear a mask when they are within 6’ of another person, just like the unvaccinated employees.
  • The 6’ distancing requirement will be removed. Whether indoors or outside you will not have to maintain a 6’ distancing from other employees. Indoors employees working within 6’ that do not have a badge must wear a mask and will be offered an N95 mask if they prefer to wear that vs a cloth or surgical mask, but it is up to them what they prefer.

This is great news as many of us are tired of wearing the mask. If you are not tired of wearing the mask you are free to continue to wear one regardless of vaccination status. If you are not vaccinated and work indoors you have two options. One is to get your vaccination so you can get a badge and remove your mask. If you were on the fence about getting vaccinated hopefully this encourages you with an additional benefit for getting vaccinated. The second option is to continue to wear your mask until the mandate is removed for everyone if you have any reasons why you feel like you cannot/don’t want to get the vaccine. The current mask mandate looks to sunset in October, but may be removed sooner if the Governor removes the emergency order or just the mask mandate itself prior to this.

Either way this is great news that the vaccine is working and all employees get the benefit of not having to wear the mask outside and removing the 6’ distancing requirements. We are a few steps closer to returning to normal.

 

A Message from the President Rick Wylie

May 4th, 2021

First off: I know you’re working harder than ever: THANK YOU on behalf of our company and our customers.

I think we’ve all heard that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. That is a true saying in most areas of life, and we at Villara are experiencing just a bit too much when it comes to business. Our builders are able to sell homes faster than the material supply chain and the current labor force can really handle, and they’re all trying to “make hay while the sun shines”. After a number of years of nice, steady business growth that has been very beneficial for us all, in the last year we went from very good business, to a COVID-induced shrinkage of business, and now for the last 6 months or so, a “There’s no place like home” national mindset that has driven the demand for new homes off the charts.

The level of business that we are experiencing is not what we planned; it was thrust upon us. We didn’t accelerate our sales efforts, we didn’t reduce prices to win more market share. We were just attempting to maintain the managed growth that we’ve been pursuing since we recovered from the Great Recession of 2008.

We also want you to know that we’re not sitting back and doing nothing: we are initiating corrective responses as broadly and as rapidly as possible. In other communications I will probably expound on these actions, but for now I want to share with you some perspective that I believe can help us go through these challenging times while maintaining our confidence, our underlying joy, our professionalism, and our valuable customer relationships. Here are my best words of wisdom for this time:

  1. Just “Do your best” and “Stay calm”

Take a deep breath: no one is dying here! This is nothing like 2008; we have too much of a good thing, versus starvation. This is hard, no question, but do your best and keep your head held high. We are not failing, we are doing the near impossible in very difficult situations, and anyone who is thinking logically can agree with us on this point. We need to retain a calm attitude and demeanor with everyone we interact with; exude calm confidence! That attitude can overcome the issues that arise when our customer is responding with emotion rather than logic; your calm confidence will diffuse their emotion.

  1. Continue to encourage your team-members to do the same.

You need to help instill this confidence and calmness throughout our teams. We need everyone to do their best, but we don’t want anyone to kill themselves or their families in the process. Since we are not in a life-and-death situation, we don’t want to cause death by overdramatizing the situation. We do want to recognize this could be an amazing season of harvest. For those that are ready, willing, and able to work overtime, this is a wonderful opportunity to bank more money for that next new car, boat,  home, or a great cash reserve for the next rainy-day season.

  1. Maintain your professionalism in all of your interactions: with our customers, with our vendors, and with our peers.

This is a bit of a repeat of the “Stay Calm” message, but it is critical that we remain professional in all of our interactions. It is hard not to get emotional and a bit aggressive when we’re being challenged, but we want and need to protect our long term customer, vendor, and co-worker relationships.

  1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

I’m reiterating what you already know, but…..it’s hard to return a call from an unhappy customer when you know you don’t have the answer they want. We all know that when we don’t respond it only gets worse; they get hopping mad and it’s 10 times harder to make them happy. If you remain calm and professional, and share what we are doing and will do, 90% of the time you’ll get a professional response back from them. And don’t forget you have some additional tools in your arsenal; sometimes they just need to know that people at the top know and care about their problems, and that’s where Scott, John, Jack, and myself can help. Remember, “Don’t Fail Alone”!

  1. Prioritize and focus our efforts and resources.

This is really the first step: we just have to prioritize and focus our resources. But….if we don’t stay calm, professional, and communicate we won’t be able to prioritize and focus. This is where we “plan our failures”; when we recognize what is critical, we calmly communicate what we can and can’t do for our customers, and in the end that is the most important thing they need to know, so they can work their plans around us. While we probably can’t meet “their schedule”, we can commit to “a schedule” (outside of uncontrollable material supplies, of course….) and we’re seeing very positive customer responses when we make commitments and keep them.

I hope this is helpful; I think it’s my best stuff, just like you’re giving every day.

 

Gratefully,

Rick Wylie

 

Business Growth Update from President Rick Wylie

March 30, 2021

It occurs to us that we should revisit Villara’s annual growth plan strategy with you. As all of you that have been in our annual Bonus Payout presentations may recall, I’ve shared with you that we decided years ago that we would like to achieve a consistent, manageable growth rate that a) provides growing economic and career opportunities for all of us, and b) caps growth to that which our infrastructure and personnel can manageably handle with high quality, safety, and customer satisfaction.

We learned “the hard way” that you can grow too fast, back in the early 2000’s. This led us to set a goal of 15% annual growth as the “ideal growth rate”, and we’ve done a pretty good job of staying within reasonable boundaries of that target growth rate over the last seven years or so, and it has proven to be a profitable and beneficial plan.

We “broke the rule” in 2020; we actually declined by about 2% last year, but considering the “Year of Covid”, we felt that slight contraction was actually a huge victory. Last April and May we were afraid the drop-off could have been far steeper, in the range of a 20% contraction in the 2nd half of the year. Thankfully after a few months of “stay at home” orders, furloughs and wage freezes, our industry shocked the world with an aggressive turn-around, and our 2020 year ended strongly and we were able to re-initiate wage increases and hiring.

While all looked “pretty good”, we still expected to see something of a normal winter that includes both rain and slowing home sales. Neither of these two “natural braking systems” occurred, and instead we saw home sales continue to accelerate throughout the end of 2020 and into 2021.

Due to these accelerated home sales, virtually all of our builders increased the size and frequency of new home releases, which quickly overwhelmed our current resources. We pivoted to aggressive hiring in January, and have continued to work hard to bring in the additional personnel that these increased home releases require.

Bottom line, though, it looks like 2021 will grow at a 25% pace, rather than the target 15%, and this is both a blessing and a hardship. I want all of you to know that we are not uncaring about the hardship side of the equation, and continue to work hard to reduce the pressure that this over-sized work-load puts on all of you. On top of the aggressive hiring efforts we launched in January, we are also:

  1. Expanding the number of corporate Recruiters and increasing the Employee Referral fees to be able to maintain and expand our current hiring abilities.
  2. In April, we are once again increasing Villara’s pay bands. This will make it possible for almost all Villarans to receive another pay increase when scheduled over the next few months. Whether your next pay review comes in April, July, or one of the other upcoming months, most everyone has a raise on the way. Enjoy!
  3. We are working with a professional Marketing firm to develop a long term recruiting marketing program that high-lights Villara’s Apprenticeship program and overall “come for a job, stay for a Career”, and “Building Dreams” company purpose. We believe this is a story worth telling, one that can differentiate us from many of the other job opportunities in our region.
  4. We are carefully considering all current and new project pricing: we are increasing prices to help cover our labor-rate increases along with material cost increases, and we are working to “tap the brakes” as we accept new contracts.

None of these actions will immediately solve our current dilemma, so in the meantime want to:

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for your hard work to maintain our builder’s schedules.
  • Ask you for your help in identifying and bringing aboard more great people like yourselves. Our employees have always been our best source of new-hires; you know better than anyone else who the great people are out there that would like to join you here at Villara, and who you would like to work beside.
  • And…..while we are profusely thanking you for your hard work…..can we politely ask you for just a bit more until we regain balance between the demand for our services and our ability to fulfill them?

One other benefit of outsized growth: it is much easier to exceed our annual bonus program profit goals when our business is growing, so our hard work can prove to be very rewarding this December when we all meet again (in person, we pray) to receive our bonuses.

THANK YOU ALL AGAIN FOR YOUR HERCULEAN EFFORTS DURING THESE “EXCESSIVE GROWTH” DAYS!

Building People, Building Trust, Building Dreams —together!

 

Rick Wylie

President

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

It’s not over yet…….

February 19, 2021

It’s time for another Covid-19 update. As is often the case with the pandemic that never seems to end, there is both good news and not so positive news to share along with some action to take based on it.

On a positive note we have seen the dramatic rise in cases drop both at the state and national level. While deaths per day are still very high, new cases per day, hospitalization rates, and intensive care cases are down to early November levels in California. You can also see that we have been allowed to end the intense lockdown to go back to the county level tiered system of restrictions. Who knew we would be happy to go back to the purple tier. Vaccines are being administered in California, 6.6 million doses as of 2/17/21, to a population of roughly 30 million people FDA approved to receive it. A final note of positive discovery is that researchers have discovered that when people do need to be closer than 6’ from one another double masking with a surgical mask covered by a cloth mask increases the protection of the person wearing it by 50%. If everyone in an area wears this double masking combination it reduces the spread of Covid-19 by 96.4%. That is a slightly higher percentage than an individual wearing an N95 mask, 95% filtration, or the current vaccines rated between 90 and 94% effective at preventing the individual from contracting the virus.

On the not so positive note, we have had in increasing number of Villara employees impacted by Covid-19. The vaccination process is slower, undersupplied, a little confusing, and unavailable to most of us today. Some of the masks that we have been told would help are not as good as others. Frankly we are all probably getting tired of masks, social distancing, and Covid-19 in general.

So what should we do with all that information? While things are getting better on the state level, Villarans are still being impacted by Covid-19 so we cannot let our guard down. With new research and information we are able to do more. We will start by requiring all individuals who have tasks that require them to work within 6’ of one another to follow the double masking guidelines. We will have fresh surgical masks provided by the company to change out daily. They will be made available through safety as well as provided to supervisors and managers to give to their teams. Also if for some reason you were not already issued a set of cloth masks those will still be made available to you as well. If you already bring your own N95 or KN95 mask for work those will be an acceptable alternative to double masks, but if not we will provide you with the double masking setup. A second step is to stop using any bandana’s or gaiter style masks. Studies have found these to be the least effective option to protect yourself and others from the spread of covid-19. At the beginning of the pandemic these were better than nothing and supplies of other mask types were sometimes hard to get, but we have much better access to more effective personal protective equipment today so we should use it. Villara will also be putting together a guide to help make sense of all the options for getting vaccinated and by the time our number comes up as essential workers who need it we will have a plan to help those who want it to get access. The safety team will also be available to help answer questions about the guide and the process. And finally, for indoor spaces we are continuing to work on increasing ventilation and the use of UV devices in those ventilation systems to help kill any bacteria or viruses indoors.

While hope is around the corner for this pandemic to come to an end we must remain focused on finishing strong. With being designated an essential service we have not backed down from providing comfort, clean water, and clean energy to our customers and community. You have all done an incredible job to work through physically, emotionally, and mentally  challenging situations during very trying times and for that I am both thankful for you and proud of you. I am confident in all of your abilities to step up to this next level of protection for Villarans until we are past this.

P.S. if you want more information on the study or CDC guidance see the links below.

Report on Double Masking:

CDC guidelines for Double Masking:

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

It’s not over yet…….

February 5, 2021

Hello Team Villara.

It’s been some time since I gave a COVID update, and now seems like a good time to do so.

I know that everyone is really, really tired of the restrictions we are all experiencing with COVID, and we’re really excited about the rollout of the vaccines, but…..they aren’t available for most of us yet, and COVID infections keep raging at very high levels throughout our state and our communities. That means we just can’t let our guard down yet, we have to not only maintain our current COVID safety protocols, but we have to continue to identify ways to improve them.

Our safety department works hard every day in tracking any positive COVID cases as they occur, and they make sure we follow all protocols to be certain we are doing everything possible to keep the work place safe, including tracing and informing any Villarans that have been within 6 feet of the positive case so that they can instantly quarantine, test, and let their loved ones know. The good news: almost all of the COVID cases here so far have been traced back to gatherings that occurred outside of work. As we’ve stated before, a bit “tongue in cheek”, we want our workplace to be so safe that everyone is afraid to leave, because no one is as diligent in distancing, face masks, and cleaning practices as Villara. Thank you all for your part in making that mostly a reality.

However, even one infection that occurs at work is one too many, so we continue to monitor the evolving science and data for new and better ways to avoid them altogether. Some things we’ve done and are considering doing include:

  1. We’ve been able to purchase “Rapid COVID tests” that can be self-administered either here or at home, with results available in 15 minutes. This is extremely helpful; whenever there is any question we can quickly test and either isolate the employee or send them back to work with confidence. Please feel free to contact Safety if you have a situation where a rapid test can be of benefit.
  2. We are at this point “encouraging” everyone who may occasionally breach the 6’ social distance zone to wear N95 masks rather than cloth or surgical masks, as they are much more protective in close quarters. We are considering whether this moves from “encourage” to “require”.
  3. We are looking at the type of cloth masks in use: it is becoming clear that “all masks are not created equal”. Multi-layer, thicker cloth masks appear to be much safer than the popular very thin elastic “pull-up” masks. We will research this further to determine if we need to eliminate those from the workplace.

These are a few things we’re studying now: we are very interested in any suggestions you may have to help us work safely and effectively until the vaccine is widely distributed and it’s safe to “drop the masks”.

So in closing, please continue to follow our current protocols as closely as humanly possible, ask questions when it doesn’t seem possible, and bring in any new ideas you come across.

Thanks again for your hard work and support!

 

Blessings

Rick Wylie

President

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

November 11, 2020

Good morning Villarans

It has been quite some time since I provided an update on our Covid-19 situation, mostly because things have been pretty well controlled, and our region and state has been improving and reopening. As we’ve all seen in the news recently, though, things are definitely turning for the worse in our prolonged battle of this pandemic.

Sacramento County is returning to “Purple” status, the most restrictive, which means many businesses will be partially or fully closing down again. In some parts of our country it is “worse than ever”, with hospitals and morgues overflowing. Everyone was afraid that cold weather would see resurgence in the virus, and so far those fears seem to be well placed.

On top of these “general” realities, at Villara we have also seen an increase of COVID illness and/or exposure that has impacted a few of our employees. This makes it very real and personal.

We also received very good news this week, reports that a very effective vaccine should be rolling out within weeks into our country, initially at small quantities for high-risk people. Reasonable projections indicate that all of us could gain access to the vaccine by the middle of 2021, so from there going forward we have great reason for hope that we can finally defeat this monster.

We therefore have to deal with these two extremes: we’re still at very high risk over the next 7 months or so, but during that time we’ll see more and more people become immune to the virus, slowly making all of us safer and safer. So which scenario should be driving our daily actions?

I believe the answer is clear, although not the answer we prefer: we need to continue to adhere to our COVID-19 Safety protocols until most people have received the vaccine and COVID case numbers are clearly declining. You all know them, but as a reminder these protocols are:

  • Wear your masks whenever people are or likely to enter your 10’ space
  • Maintain a minimum 6’ space between you and others at all times. If you don’t know how to do that please contact your supervisor or Charles Siroin in Safety for advice on how to proceed.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect your high-touch work surfaces.
  • If you see others within your work areas that are not following these protocols, please speak to them or your supervisor about it. We are all in this together!
  • If you’re a supervisor at any level, you must enforce these measures without fail. It is better to send someone home who just can’t follow them than to let them remain in the workplace and risk quarantine or sickness to their co-workers.
  • If you or someone close to you develops Covid symptoms and/or tests positive to Covid, please immediately call our safety hotline, (916) 646-2271 for immediate information on “next steps” to protect yourself and your co-workers.

We all know that the virus is circulating more widely in our community, and it has or will touch us or someone we know. If you happen to be one that is exposed to someone at home that has the virus, I want you to be able to confidently say, “I have not been within 6’ of anyone at Villara for 15 minutes, during the past 14 days”. Can you help me accomplish this, for your health, for your co-workers’ health, and for our families and community?

Thank you again for your hard work, and continue to pray for healing for our country.

 

With Blessings,

Rick Wylie

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

July 14, 2020

Due to a significant Community outbreak of Covid-19 infections recently and the resulting infections some of our team members have experienced, we are moving to a progressive disciplinary Policy for Villara Employees who are not following the safety protocols that we implemented in March, 2020. In simple terms our Covid Safety Protocol includes three aspects:

  • Social distancing – Maintain at least 6’ of space between yourself and anyone else unless you are performing an essential task that cannot be performed alone. Your supervisor needs to approve any such tasks, along with clear additional risk-mitigation measures to use during the execution of the task.
  • Sanitizing – Frequent washing of hands and all contact surfaces to reduce the risk of passing germs in that manner.
  • Face masks – Villara policy calls for the wearing of a mask (covering both mouth and nose) anytime you are within (or likely to be within) 10’ of another individual, as an added layer of protection beyond the 6’ spacing rule.

The best science of our day indicates that if these measures are honored, the likelihood of contracting the virus is greatly reduced.

Back in March of this year, the “thought of the day” was to “Shelter in Place” long enough to withstand the virus. Four months later with the virus even more powerfully among us and a totally battered economy, our political leaders now recognize that “Shelter in Place” cannot be a long term strategy: that strategy leads to “Starve in Place” outcomes. Instead everyone is working to identify safe practices that lead to a safe workplace for as many of our country’s businesses as possible.

With this in mind, it is Villara’s intention to make Villara the “Shelter at Work” place that can provide an income, a career, and a Virus-safe place to work. We want to be considered one of the safest places in Northern California to work. In order to accomplish this goal we are now implementing the following progressive discipline plan as follows:

  1. We will share this Policy with everyone over the next week in the form of quick team huddles (with social distancing, please!), to make sure that no one is surprised with the policy. We’re not trying to “sneak up” on anyone.
  2. Our Safety team, Managers and Supervisors are going to perform “Gemba/Covid” walks throughout all locations where our team members are working. In these walks they will look for full compliance with the above 3 critical protocols.
  3. When during a Gemba/Covid walk any employee is observed not following these protocols, the following will occur:
    1. The Manager/Supervisor will document the incident in an “Employee Commitment/Coaching Report (ECR) with the following type of comments:
  1. In the “Required Improvement” field; “Joe was unnecessarily talking/working within 6’ of another person for more than a brief period, or was within 10’ of another person without the use of a mask, on July 14, 2020 in the Warehouse”.
  2. In the “Employee’s Commitment” field: “Joe commits to avoiding such behavior in the future, honoring all Covid Safety Protocols”.
  • In the “Supervisor’s Coaching” field: I explained to Joe that this is essential in order to not only maintain Joe’s health, but also the health of his team members, customers, family members, and the community at large.
  1. In the “Timeline for Improvement” field: “Immediate” improvement is necessary.
  2. In the Corrective actions Section:
    1. Probation period of 30 days will be selected. During this 30 day probation period, the Supervisor/Manager will periodically check in on Joe to observe compliance. Should he be found out of compliance again:
      1. The first occurrence after the implementation of the Probation period will result in a 1 day suspension without pay (or Workshare benefits).
      2. The second occurrence will result in a 3 day suspension without pay, and;
      3. The third occurrence will result in a 5 day suspension with “Review of Continued Employment”; it is highly likely that the 3rd occurrence within a 30 day period will lead to termination.

No one likes this type of formal disciplinary process, but I hope you agree with me that we like Covid-19 even less, and that this is the responsible way to work and live. Please join me in making Villara a “Virus Free zone”.

Sincerely,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

COVID-19 Exposure Protocol FAQ

July 9, 2020

Good morning Villarans.

Due to the recent cases where employees have come down with or been exposed to the virus we have developed a “Frequently Asked Questions” about how we deal with these cases and the possible exposures other employees may have experienced. This is the process we are using, and we feel it is helpful for everyone to have access to it so you can both understand and feel confident in your ongoing safety at Villara. Our goal is for you to feel like you are “Sheltering at Work” at Villara; we want it to be the safest place you can be!

 

Thank you for adhering to our safety protocols!

Rick Wylie

———-

With the dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases occurring across the State of California, our Company is experiencing an increase of employees that have had direct exposure, second hand exposure, and some with positive test results.  Employee safety remains our number one priority and outlined below is our protocol to ensure we limit the exposure.

What does the CDC Define EXPOSURE to Covid-19 as? 

Exposure to Covid-19 is defined by the CDC as an individual who has been within 6 feet of a person for 15 minutes or more who has tested positive or displayed symptoms for Covid-19.

 

What do I do if I have met the above exposure outside the workplace?

1.     You need to contact the Risk Management Department (Chuck Siroin: 916-298-7402 or Hanna Villafuerte: 916-870-7578) or Human Resources 916-646-2260.

2.     You will need to stay away from work until you have been able to provide a negative test result for Covid-19 or quarantine for 14 days and that you must be symptom free for 72 hours prior to scheduled return to work date and/or have a negative test result.

3.     We recommend you contact your personal doctor to get their recommendation.

 

What do I do if I have been exposed to someone who has not tested positive for Covid-19, but was exposed to someone else who did test positive?

1.     Contact the Risk Management Department. Safety (Chuck Siroin: 916-298-7402 or Hanna Villafuerte: 916-870-7578).  If Risk isn’t available please contact Human Resources 916-646-2260.

2. They will have you monitor your temperature and look out for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days after your last known exposure.

     If you do not have any symptoms you may remain at work.  However, you must wear a mask and maintain 6 feet social distancing at all times and continue to monitor yourself for developing symptoms.

     Safety will communicate with your Manager that your tasks must allow for you to work with 6 ft. social distancing at all times.

o     In the event that your work will not allow for the above, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days and have been symptom free for 72 hours before returning to work.

     If symptoms develop, you must stay home and contact the Risk Management Dept. or HR.

 

 

What do I do if I have met the above exposure while I was at work?

1.     You need to contact the Risk Management Department. Safety (Chuck Siroin: 916-298-7402 or Hanna Villafuerte: 916-870-7578).  If Risk isn’t available please contact Human Resources 916-646-2260.

2.     Risk Management will coordinate with you to schedule a COVID19 test.

     If not showing symptoms Risk Mgmt. will coordinate employee to go to local Concentra Medical Office for testing

     If showing any symptoms:

§     For Sacramento County:

§     For Santa Clara County:

§     For San Joaquin County:

§     Or your own Medical provider, where practical

3.     You will have to start quarantine for 14 days and communicate with HR on when you can return. Farther in this document are the standards for each Covid-19 situation to return to work. Please refer to that.

4.     You will need to identify anyone you have been within 6 feet of for 15 minutes or more because if you test positive that employee will need to go through the same process you are.

     When were they in contact (date & time) and where (location)

5.     Those employees may be contacted either by Safety or HR before your test results come in depending upon the situation. They will definitely be contacted if you test positive. In either case they will not be told your identity or that you tested positive, only that they have been exposed and will need to follow this process.

 

What does it mean to Quarantine?

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.

 

What are the symptoms of Covid-19 that I should be monitoring for?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

·     Fever or chills

·     Cough

·     Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

·     Fatigue

·     Muscle or body aches

·     Headache

·     New loss of taste or smell

·     Sore throat

·     Congestion or runny nose

·     Nausea or vomiting

·     Diarrhea

 

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.

When does the CDC recommend I seek emergency medical attention?

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately

·     Trouble breathing

·     Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

·     New confusion

·     Inability to wake or stay awake

·     Bluish lips or face

What is the current guidance based on community exposure, for people exposed to people with known or suspected COVID-19 or possible COVID-19

 

Current guidance based on community exposure, for asymptomatic persons exposed to persons with known or suspected COVID-19 or possible COVID-19

 

Person

Individual who has had close contact (< 6 feet)** for ≥15 minutes***

Exposure to

·     Person with COVID-19 who has symptoms (in the period from 2 days before symptom onset until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation; can be laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness)

·     Person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (laboratory confirmed) but has not had any symptoms (in the 2 days before the date of specimen collection until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation)

Recommended Precautions for the Public

·     Stay home until 14 days after last exposure and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others at all times

·     Self-monitor for symptoms

o     Check temperature twice a day

o     Watch for fever*, cough, or shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19

·     Avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19

·     Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop

 

Person

All U.S. residents, other than those with a known risk exposure

Exposure to

·     Possible unrecognized COVID-19 exposures in U.S. communities

Recommended Precautions for the Public

·     Practice social distancing and other personal prevention strategies

·     Be alert for symptoms

o     Watch for fever*, cough, or shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19

o     Check temperature if symptoms develop

·     Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop

 

When can I come back to work if I tested positive with Covid-19 with symptoms?

1.     Symptom-based strategy:  It has been at least 10 days since you started to show signs of symptoms and at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)

2.     Test-based strategy: You have no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, you have improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and you have Negative results of COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative tests).

 

When can I come back to work if I tested positive with Covid-19 without symptoms?

1.     Time-based strategy: It has been at least 10 days since your positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and you have not developed symptoms since that test.

2.     Test-based strategy:  You have Negative results of COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative tests).

 

When can I come back to work if I have quarantined due to exposure to someone with Covid-19 but have not gotten a test or the test results back yet?

Wait for 14 days after your last exposure and have no fever or symptoms of Covid-19 and you can return to work.

 

Continuing Company Communication

Covid 19 Update

July 2, 2020

Good morning Villarans

It has been quite some time since I provided an update on our Covid-19 situation, and for the most part that was because “no news is good news”. So today it’s time for an update, and you guessed it, it’s not good news.

We have been celebrating the fact that we have had no virus cases among our employees, and we couldn’t even find anyone who was personally connected to a virus victim. We can’t celebrate that fact anymore, because as of Monday of this week we have 2 positive test results reported from 2 of our employees, and we’ve had family members test positive which is requiring other employees to be tested due to their exposure. If my count is correct, we now more than 15 (and growing) employees who have been or are being tested for the virus due to possible exposure. We’re waiting on the test results for most of these people, and statewide data suggests that most of them will come back negative, but it is not a fun place to be! We also have two jobsites in the Bay area that have shut down due to Covid infections, some related to our people and some to other trades. This has become very serious overnight, and we need to be diligent in adhering to our safety protocols and monitoring new information to help modify those protocols as appropriate.

With that in mind we are refining our policy and protocols for dealing with reported cases, trying to take advantage of the most recent guidelines from the CDC along with our best information, but in the meantime I wanted to share some important points with you so you can be a part of the solution.

When we hear of a positive test (or someone with Covid 19 symptoms) we are following CDC guidelines for “contact tracing”, to identify any co-workers who may have been exposed to this person in a manner that is considered “at risk”. The clear level of concern from the CDC is someone who has been within 6’ of the infected person “for a period of 15 minutes or longer”. When someone has been within 6’ for more than 15 minutes, they are to be isolated (quarantined) for 14 days, or until they are tested and confirmed negative. It is assumed that they have the virus until the negative test results or 14 days go by with no symptoms.

This needs to be a reminder for all of us that we must retain 6’ of distance between each other, especially for any extended period of time. Passing in a hallway is not considered sufficient time to put a person at a high level of risk, but with each mounting second the risk increases, and when it hits 15 minutes they feel it best to assume you have the virus until you prove that you don’t.

This is why we’ve instituted our mask policy for any situations where someone is within 10’, just to provide an added level of safety. If we wear our masks whenever we are near other people it just gives us a bit of added tolerance for brief exposures, and I know that no one here wants to get or give the virus to anyone.

If we follow our 10’ mask rule, and we work hard to limit any contact of less than 6’ to “seconds, not minutes”, then when we hear that one of our close relatives has come down with the virus, we will know that we haven’t exposed anyone in our workplace to those germs.

There are a few cases where it is impossible to maintain 6’ from others, and in those cases we’ve used the best advice we have found for how to reduce the risk back down to levels that are similar to a 6’ buffer zone. As an example, when more than one employee is in a vehicle, we require them to wear masks and roll down the windows to maintain high ventilation rates. When in this type of situation we really need you to follow these additional measures to remain safe. When two people carry a furnace or other large item they must wear their masks and regain their 6’ of distancing ASAP. This is how we can remain safe while still working during this crisis.

To summarize the high points of this message, please:

  • Wear your masks whenever people are or likely to enter your 10’ space
  • Maintain a minimum 6’ space between you and others at all times. If you don’t know how to do that please contact your supervisor or Charles Siroin in Safety for advice on how to proceed.
  • If you see others within your work areas that are not following these protocols, please speak to them or your supervisor about it.
  • And if you’re a supervisor at any level, you must enforce these measures without fail. It is better to send someone home who just can’t follow them than to let them remain in the workplace and risk quarantine or sickness to their co-workers.
  • If you or someone close to you develops Covid symptoms and/or tests positive to Covid, please immediately call our safety hotline, (916) 646-2271 for immediate information on “next steps” to protect yourself and your co-workers.

We all know that the virus is circulating more widely in our community, and it has or will touch us or someone we know, most likely. If you happen to be one that is exposed to someone at home that has the virus, I want you to be able to confidently say, “I have not been within 6’ of anyone at Villara for 15 minutes or longer, during the past 14 days”. Can you help me accomplish this, for your health, for your co-workers’ health, and for our families and community?

Thank you again for your hard work, and continue to pray for healing for our country.

 

With Blessings,

Rick Wylie

 

Free COVID-19 Testing Available

May 19, 2020

Hello Villarans.

Wow, things are slowly returning to normal: I was able to have breakfast at a real sit-down restaurant on Sunday morning at Roseville Brookfield’s! We’ve been closely following the number of new infections and deaths in all of the counties where we conduct business, and it certainly appears that we’ve “flattened the curve” in a manner that encourages our political leaders to continue to open up our economy in a safe manner. Let’s keep doing what we’re doing to stay safe and healthy, and praying that the virus continues to recede and eventually disappear.

We just learned that anyone who would like to be tested for COVID-19 can now be tested for free, at a facility near our McClellan plant. If you or anyone you know is concerned and would like to be tested, this is an opportunity to do so. It is for anyone who has no or very mild symptoms. Please see the attached for more information. The first test is this Thursday, but there will be future tests as well.

When:  Thursday, May 21

Where: Robertson Community Center

3525 Norwood Ave, Sacramento, CA 95838

 

FREE COVID-19 Community Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

Free COVID-19 testing

Where are the community based sites and how do I register for a test?

  • Mutual Assistance Network at Robertson Community Center: 3525 Norwood Avenue
    Sacramento, CA 95838. Register by calling (916) 567-9567 OR HERE
  • La Familia’s Maple Neighborhood Center: 3301 37th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95824, Room 7 – Please park on 36th Avenue. Register by calling (916) 990-1311

Who can come in for a test?

  • Any age
  • You can bring your whole family in to be tested.
  • S. Citizenship or legal residency is not required.

I don’t feel sick can I still come in?

  • Yes, people with no symptoms or with mild/moderate symptoms can get tested at this site.
  • People with severe symptoms should contact their healthcare providers for testing.

What should I expect at my appointment?

  • Anyone coming in for a test will be expected to maintain social distancing, and wear a mask at the testing site. Masks will be made available if you don’t have one.
  • A qualified healthcare provider will administer the nasal swab collection procedure.
  • The test takes no more than 60 seconds from start to finish.  Although you may be at the site more than that to check-in, finish up registration and get prepared for your visit.

How will I get my results?

  • If you test positive – a doctor from Sacramento County will call you directly to notify you of your results and the next steps you should take.
  • If you test negative – a Mutual Assistance Network Representative will connect with you to let you know the status of your results.
  • It’s important that you fill out the contact information that will be asked during the registration process so we can make sure to get in touch with you quickly.
  • All testing results are confidential.

What should I do if I test positive?

  • Stay home, most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering.
  • Monitor your symptoms. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.

How is the virus spread?

  • COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person, similar to the flu. This usually happens when a sick person coughs or sneezes near other people and releases respiratory droplets. It may also be possible to get sick if you touch a surface that has the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Symptoms typically start 4–5 days after exposure or infection. The symptoms are often indistinguishable from influenza (flu). The majority of patients have one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Fever, Cough, Feeling fatigued, Shortness of breath, Muscle aches/pains

Are there medicines that I should or should not take for COVID-19?

  • Currently, there are no medications specifically approved to treat or prevent COVID-19. There are over the-counter medications to manage symptoms.

How can I protect myself and my loved ones from COVID-19?

  • The California Department of Public Health recommends people take steps to prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 (coronavirus):
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, and certainly after sneezing or before/after touching your face or a sick person. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay away from work, school and other people if you become sick with any respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. People who are sick should be in a room, with the door closed, to help prevent spreading the disease to other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you are coughing and sneezing, isolate yourself away from others.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
  • Do not travel while sick. Do not go out into public while sick.
  • Practice healthy habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

How long should I wait to re-test if I got a negative result?  Should I re-test?

  • If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick. The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing.
  • If you experience symptoms in the future you should get retested if recommended by your doctor.
  • If you test negative for COVID-19, you still should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others.

Thank you again for your diligence in performing your work safely (please keep that up!), and let’s continue to pray for our country, leaders, community, and each other.

Gratefully,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Villara Online Training Opportunities

Professional Development

Hello Villarans!

We want to remind our employees about some exciting opportunities that are available to help you grow professionally.

In an effort to engage employees who are experiencing temporary leave or who want to grow their professional skillset, Villara’s training team is offering the following optional courses over the next month:

  • Professionalism 1,2, & 3
  • Communication in the Workplace
  • Time Management
  • Coaching in the Workplace
  • Apprenticeship Entrance Exam Tutorial
  • FAB revision
  • Installation of Ductwork
  • Furnace Start Up and Troubleshooting
  • EPA Section 608 Training

 

Already, dozens of Villarans have completed live online courses in Professionalism and EPA Training via our Webex System. Thus far, the feedback has been very positive!

These online courses are quick (60-90 minutes) and engaging! All courses are voluntary (unpaid) and offered after work hours. If you are interested in signing up for one or more of these courses, simply click on this link to register HERE. Once you register, the Training Team will help you to get connected.

We are also working to complete our employee evaluations. As part of this process, your supervisor will give you a Professional Development Plan. The top part of this document is for you to complete prior to your scheduled evaluation. Please take the time to fully complete this portion of the document. Let us know about your professional goals so that we can help build your dreams!

Thank you again for your diligence in performing your work safely, and let’s continue to pray for our country, leaders, community, and each other.

Gratefully,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Continuing Company Communication

It is confirmed: we’re going “back to work” in the Bay!

May 1, 2020

Hello Villarans.

  • We have received final confirmation that the 7 Bay area counties once again recognize what we all have known for years: home building is truly an “Essential Infrastructure” Service, so beginning on Monday the 4th builders will begin reopening Bay area jobsites. There are significant health protocols that the builders must enforce, but we have been following these best practices for some time now, so we should be “good to go”. We’ll be calling some of our furloughed workers back to work, and some of our people that are working part time may see increased work opportunities. GOOD NEWS FOR SURE!
  • Some of our key builders are also beginning to see new home sales improvements, after dramatic sales declines beginning in the middle of March. While sales are still below normal, they are definitely trending in the right direction, especially as counties allow more access to model homes for would-be buyers.

While we are nowhere near “normal” (we still can’t even sit down and eat a burger at McDonalds…..), these are very important first steps down the road of recovery.

 

Thank you again for your diligence in performing your work safely (please keep that up!), and let’s continue to pray for our country, leaders, community, and each other.

Gratefully,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

Time to cover your mouth!

April 27, 2020

Hello Villarans.

Probably time for a quick Covid-19 update. Here are some key developments and perspectives:

  • Last week we received a full supply of disposable masks, after lots of hard work from many team members, especially Scott Sahota. With these supplies we can continue to provide masks to you as needed to honor our new “cover your mouth” policy when you’re likely to encounter people within 10’ of your position. Of course, many of us have washable cloth masks which are perfect: thank you for participating with us in this health initiative!
  • We also have been able to donate about 3000 masks to local medical providers in need and to some of our builder partners who were initially in short supply also. We are in this together….
  • A couple of weeks ago the White House provided recommended data-driven “return to work” protocols, with phased reopening levels. We’ve been monitoring the daily new virus infection reports to see how our region is doing, and the numbers are encouraging. We believe the stage is being set for slow and steady loosening of the “Shelter-in-Place” constraints. Pray for our leaders who are charged with making these decisions, that they are making them in the best interest of all parties, based on political goals.
  • In response to the improving numbers, there is strong encouragement for the 7 Bay counties to once again include home construction as an “Essential Infrastructure Service”. We just received one report that suggests that Milpitas will resume building inspections on May 4. So far these 7 counties have acted mostly in unison, so…..maybe we’ll be back to work on all of our active jobsites by May 4!
  • Home sales continue to occur, even during the “Shelter in Place”, although at much lower levels than we were experiencing through mid-march. If the economy begins reopening relatively soon, we hope to see sales return to more appropriate levels.

Thank you again for your diligence in performing your work safely, and let’s continue to pray for our country, leaders, community, and each other.

Gratefully,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Villara Training Opportunities

Online Courses for Employees

April 15, 2020

Hello Villarans!

Since there have been a lot of changes in the last few weeks, we want to bring some exciting opportunities to every one of our team members to help you feel connected to each other and to the company.

In an effort to engage employees who are experiencing temporary leave due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Villara’s training team is offering the following optional courses over the next several weeks to help you continue developing and growing professionally. We will continue to add more courses as we go:

  • Professionalism: Channeling Your Inner-Best
  • Communication in the Workplace
  • Time Management
  • Coaching in the Workplace
  • Self-Leadership
  • Apprenticeship Entrance Exam Tutorial
  • FAB revision
  • Installation of Ductwork
  • Furnace Start Up and Troubleshooting
  • EPA Section 608 Training

These online courses will be quick (90 minutes or less) and engaging! All courses are voluntary and are not a work requirement. Please note, whether or not you choose to participate in the courses will not affect your standing as an employee in any way. This is merely our gift to you as a means to continue being involved and/or to increase professional skills if you so wish.

Build your skills and knowledge by participating in any of these LIVE online career development courses. All trainings will be created, hosted, and delivered by Mike Willmon, Apprenticeship Training Supervisor and Cameron McHenry, Career Development Manager. Feel free to join us!

Be sure Human Resources (HR) has your most up to date contact information so that we can contact you with specific details about class offerings.

Whether you are on Furlough, a Leave of Absence, in Work Share, or still working, these classes are for you! They will be tailored to suit Villara’s employees and all are welcome to join. Together, we will emerge from this difficult time stronger than ever!

If you want to know more, please contact:

Mike Willmon at willmonm@villara.com

Cameron McHenry at mchenryc@villara.com

Information on how to sign up and choose courses is on Villara’s website:

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SIGN UP FORM

Thank you again for your diligence in performing your work safely, and let’s continue to pray for our country, leaders, community, and each other.

Gratefully,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

Villara COVID-19 Expanded Work-Share Program

April 14, 2020

Hello Villarans.

Well, just when we think we understand our options and lay out a plan of action, the options change and its back to the drawing board. Such was the case last week: just as we were preparing to roll out the Villara “Furlough Support Program”, we received a belated confirmation from the Employment Development Department (EDD) that the normal Work-Share program would in fact qualify for the CARES Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – PUC supplemental unemployment benefit of $600/week.

This is a significant game-changer, and over the remainder of the week the Executive Leadership Team and Managers have developed a plan that replaces many of the planned Furloughs with a greatly expanded Work-Share program. In some areas a full furlough is still the best option, but in many situations it can be better for all involved if we “Share” the available work with more of our team members, each one working 2-4 days per week over the next 12 weeks or so. Here are the key benefits of this new approach:

1.  “Neutral or better Compensation”

With the combination of normal Work-Share Unemployment benefits and the Federal CARES PUC $600 weekly supplement, virtually every one of our team members, either those on furlough or those who will be working part-time, will end up receiving as much or more in total take-home pay. This is the most generous Unemployment Income package we have ever had access to over our 73 year history, and we are grateful that it is available.

2.  Retention of all of our team members’ individual skills and abilities

Under the Furlough plan, more of our team members would have been off 100% of the time, and that would have made all of the other team members struggle to cover the work for those at home. With this plan more people can perform most or all of their normal work responsibilities, with some sharing of tasks between co-workers during their off days.

3.  Expanded opportunity for Career Development Training.

With the increased number of team members taking some time off, it expands the opportunity to join in on some of the special Career Development Training that our Training and Career Coaching team has put together. This is so great: instead of “skill atrophy” during an extended furlough, we can all experience “skill development” instead. We can come out of this period of time with more skills and value than ever!

I want to personally thank all of the Managers that prepared and then reworked these plans. With the latest version, we have the best chance of avoiding or significantly reducing company losses, while protecting our employees’ income stream during the Shelter in Place timeframe.

I also want to draw attention to the fact that no one knows what will happen next, so we have to be as responsible as possible with our resources. While I believe that we have a good chance of seeing a positive uptick in business on or before July 31 (which is the end of the PUC Unemployment subsidy), it is possible that it will take some time to regain momentum. Therefore I strongly recommend that you bank any of your incremental income over the next 12 weeks, so you are better able to deal with any possible scenario.

Once again, thank you for your hard work, adaptability, and your attention to Covid-19 safety protocols. Together we will make it through this and celebrate a newly revived economy, industry, and company.

With gratitude,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

Time to cover your mouth!

April 7, 2020

Hello Villarans.

For quite some time now there has raged a global debate as to whether or not the general public should wear face-masks as added protection against the spread of the virus. Just this weekend the Center for Disease Control (CDC) took a new position:

In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting, especially in situations where you may be near people. These settings include grocery stores and pharmacies. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.

These face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Wearing cloth face coverings is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. CDC still recommends that you stay at least 6 feet away from other people (social distancing), frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

In light of these recommendations, Villara is expanding our “Essential worker protocols” as follows:

  1. Whenever a Villara employee is in a situation where they are likely to come within 10’ of other people, they should wear a face mask to protect others from their moisture-laden coughs, sneezes, or breath.
    1. Please contact Safety if there are personal reasons why you should not wear a face mask.
  2. The employee may use any cloth they choose to cover both their nose and mouth, whether it is a bandana or a home-made cloth face-cover. The benefit of these cloth masks is the ability to wash them regularly.
  3. Villara has found a few sources of surgical-style paper masks; we have about 1000 in stock now, with 10,000 expected within a week or so.
    1. While these are “surgical style”, they are not “medical quality”.  Just like the cloth masks noted above, they are not designed to protect the wearer of the mask; they are only designed to prevent mouth-spray from entering the atmosphere around other people. This is an important distinction: we are not syphoning off much needed medical-grade masks from the medical community.
    2. There are advantages and disadvantages to these masks, as compared to cloth masks:
      1. They are not washable, so as they become soiled they must be replaced with a new mask. If the need for a mask is infrequent they may hold up for quite some time, however.
      2. They are typically better at containing the moisture from a heavy sneeze than simple cloth coverings.
    3. We will issue one of these masks to all employees who are working at our plant, offices or a jobsite. When we receive more we can provide additional masks as needed, but we still recommend that you obtain a cloth mask or bandana as either your primary or back-up face mask during the Shelter-in-Place period.
      1. We have a small supply of bandanas that we will make available, first-come, first-served. Contact Chuck in the Safety department if you would like to request one. siroinc@villara.com (916) 298-7402.
    4. Not only will these masks be for our use but we are also making them available to other organizations in our community that are currently short of supply.

Today we also received a much-needed shipment of small bottles of Hand Sanitizer. We will make these available to all field personnel who are not close to wash basins or public hand sanitizer dispensers.

We received great news today that three of our people who were possibly exposed to the virus received tests and were found to be virus-free. So far we know of no employees who have contracted the virus, and these steps, along with the rest of our Covid-19 protocols are designed to remain a totally “Virus-Free Zone”.

Thank you again for your diligence in performing your work safely, and let’s continue to pray for our country, leaders, community, and each other.

Gratefully,

Rick Wylie

President

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

NOTICE OF REDUCTION IN FORCE

April 3, 2020

Dear Employees:

As a result of the shelter in place order reissued by seven Bay area counties on March 31, 2020, Villara Corporation will be experiencing a significant reduction in revenue due to the stoppage of construction in these counties. As much as 20% of Villara’s work is conducted in the counties subject to the construction stop orders. In light of these jobsite closures and the expanded encouragement by government officials to send as many people home as possible, Villara Corporation will be forced to reduce its work force, furloughing employees at all of the following locations:

• Villara Corporation Corporate Headquarters at 2700 Lang Avenue, McClellan, CA 95652
• Villara Corporation, East Bay division at 5005 Fulton Drive Suite F Fairfield, CA 94534
• Villara Corporation, Bay Area division at 230 Railroad Ave Milpitas, CA 95035
• Villara Corporation, Manteca division at 332 E Wetmore St, Manteca, CA 95337

The notice period for this reduction has been shortened as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and the sudden issuance of shelter in place orders eliminating construction as an essential infrastructure business in many locations. These orders constitute business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time that notice would have been required. Employee furloughs will commence beginning on April 7th and we anticipate that all affected employees will be separated from the company within 14 days thereafter. The company expects this workforce reduction to be temporary and our goal is to bring the employees back as soon as this order is lifted and business circumstances allow. Affected employees may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI).

More information on UI and other resources available is available at labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019.
For further information, please contact Rick Wylie at 916-646-2700.

Sincerely,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

Villara COVID-19 Furlough Support Program

April 3, 2020

Hello Villarans.

Due to the ongoing Pandemic and the expanded jobsite closures we are now experiencing, the situation has become much more challenging. This is forcing us to take additional measures in order to deal with the reduced workload and to expand the number of our team members that “Shelter in Place” over the next 10 – 17 weeks.

In order to respond in a manner that best protects the health and livelihood of all of our employees, we have developed the Villara “Furlough Support Program (FSP)” that will be in effect during the “Shelter In Place” (SIP) Orders in effect throughout the state of California.

The SIP Order requires all businesses to minimize all “Non-Essential” business operations for the duration of the Order. They have defined all “Essential Operations” within the Order, and many of our current personnel do not fall within these definitions, especially within 7 Bay area counties which have more narrow definitions. Here are some key facts that have been used to develop this Furlough Support Program that can be helpful for everyone involved:

1. While the time frame is uncertain, there are dates that help us recognize the short term nature of the Orders:

  1. While the state-wide Order has no specific end date, the Governor has indicated that the Order could remain in place for 10-12 weeks, which sets the farthest ending date to about June 16. We tend to believe that this is the “latest end date” and there is reasonable chance that it could end sooner, we feel this is a relatively safe date for us to plan around.
  2. The Federal CARES act includes a provision (Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – PUC) that supplements normal state Unemployment Income (UI) by $600 per week. These payments will end by either a) the date that the employee returns to work and UI benefits cease, or b) July 31, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  3. We have made all Furlough decisions with June 16 as the “expected duration” of the furlough, but with the recognition that we may need to bring back employees in stages, up through the July 31 PUC end date. It is also possible that some employees could be called back before June 16, either because the Order ceases early, or Essential needs arise that remaining staff cannot fulfill.

2. The Federal and state governments have implemented massive economic support systems to aid businesses and individuals during the Pandemic period, and Villara is aligning our FSP to access these funds appropriately.

  1. The state UI benefit program has waived the normal 1 week waiting period for employees who are furloughed due to COVID-19. This means all employees will begin earning both the UI state benefits and the Federal PUC funds beginning on the first day of their unemployment.
    1. Please note that it reportedly takes a minimum of about 21 days for you to receive your first payment, and they should continue regularly thereafter.
      1. Due to the likely hardship that this delay will entail, with your final paycheck we will cash out your PTO account, providing to you the maximum available cash funds to help hold you over.
    2. In many cases the combined UI and PUC unemployment payments will meet or even exceed your normal weekly take-home pay.
      1. It is important to keep in mind that the UI/PUC payments DO NOT HAVE TAX WITH-HOLDING, so you will need to set aside funds to pay the taxes either through estimated tax payments or year-end payments. You should review your tax situation to make sure you will not experience penalties due to significant under-withholding of taxes.
    3. HR team members will be available to help walk you through the UI application process, and help walk you through approximate income impacts for you. We are setting up an on-line appointment scheduling tool to assist you.

3. During this 10 – 17 week furlough period, Villara will maintain all Furlough employees within our payroll system as “active”.

  1. If you are in one of our Healthcare plans, Villara will continue to make the monthly premium payments to keep your healthcare active.
    1. We will be making both our portion of the monthly premium and your portion as well. Your portion will be accruing and will be deducted from your first paycheck upon return to work.
      1. If this presents a financial hardship for you, Villara will work with you to design a manageable repayment plan.
  1. Most of you are contributing to a 401k account. While you will not be making additional payments into those accounts during your furlough, the accounts will remain open and ready for your return.
  2. Because you are considered an “active employee” during these weeks, your company tenure will continue to grow, helping you reach tenure milestones that increases your PTO rate and increases company contributions to certain health-care program options and Bonus Program eligibility.

4. During your Furlough, we will work with you to continue to develop and expand your skills, if you are interested.

  1. We encourage you to think about the next few weeks as a time of family bonding, home project completion, and personal development, in all areas: physical, spiritual, relational, and career.
    1. Our Career Development Counselor will work to identify career learning opportunities for all interested employees, and we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity, strictly on a voluntary basis. Contact Cameron McHenry at mchenryc@villara.com to map out your plan.

5. We want to stay connected with you during this crisis.

  1. Check in on our “Villara’s Covid-19 Response webpage periodically to keep up with new developments and to post any questions you may have at https://villara.com/covid19/
  2. We would like your permission to give you a call periodically to see how you’re doing and let you know what is happening within your department. Please share with us the best phone number to reach you at during your call with the HR department.
  3. If you need immediate assistance for anything, you can call the Human Resource Department directly at 916-646-2260.

 

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

– Important Breaking News: Please Read Now.

March 31, 2020 Late Day Edition

Hello Villarans.

Well, it has been on-again and off-again for the last two weeks, and sadly it looks like there is no end in sight. Within the last couple of hours we have received word that the 6 Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara) that first initiated “Shelter in Place” Directives have taken two additional steps that have dramatic impacts on our industry and our business. The two main aspects of today’s order are:

  1. They have significantly curtailed the definition of “Essential Services”, and under this new definition general “Home Building” is no longer considered essential. There are allowances for certain projects that contain “Affordable Housing”, and some of our projects appear to qualify, but the builders at each project have to confirm that they meet the definition of Affordable, and maintain operations accordingly. We expect that the tone of this Order will press for strong enforcement, so questionable projects will likely need to cease operations.
  2. They have extended the date of the “Shelter in Place” Directive to May 3rd, from the prior date of April 7. We expect that this new Order will not actually lift on May 3rd, because the Governor has initiated the statewide Directive that has no end date. He has estimated that his order will remain in place until mid-June. We have to be ready for that to be our return-to-work date.

We are working with our builders to identify which projects will close for the next 33 days, and which projects will remain open due to their designation as “Affordable”, but in the meantime we will act as follows:

  1. Tomorrow field teams in these 6 Bay counties are to report to their assigned projects as already directed.
    1. For projects that will continue to operate as Affordable, work will maintain our current production schedule, unless notified otherwise. We hope to have those jobs identified early tomorrow.
    2. For projects that will close down, your Supervisor will coordinate “Job-site closure” protocols sometime tomorrow, but the following steps are likely to be taken:
      1. Complete all “in unit” tasks that can be completed tomorrow, such as rough heat, plumbing topout, finish, etc. We want as few “loose ends” as possible at the end of the day.
      2. Take a picture inventory of all incomplete units so we have a clear record of the current status of “work in place”.
      3. Inventory tools and material need to be secured in place or be loaded up and returned to the warehouse for safe keeping. Any inventory left on sight needs to be photo-inventoried.
      4. The inventory process is allowed to continue as required to coordinate pickup by the warehouse over the next few days, with a smaller crew.
  2. We have directed the Plant to withhold new deliveries to these Bay counties tomorrow, while we confirm which jobs will continue and which will stop. We expect to be able to return to deliveries to active jobs by Thursday.

Team, we don’t know what happens next: it has not appeared important to our public officials to allow for public input and/or reasonable notice into the process. We have to hope and trust that they are acting as wisely as possible in light of the COVID19 threats, but either way they are making the rules “as they go”.

We estimate that this new order will reduce our workload, and therefore our income by around 20% initially, and will likely grow from there. Our Leadership team will continue to assess the vital business responses that we need to initiate due to this Directive, while also preparing for the possibility that other counties, or even the entire state, will adopt similar measures.

As always we will keep you informed to the best of our ability, and we thank you for doing your best work in these trying situations.  And as always, please work safely while maintaining the important health protocols.

Sincerely,

Rick Wylie

President

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

March 31, 2020 5:00 PM

Hello Villarans.

A very quick update for you today:

  1. We continue to work under the “New Normal” Safety Protocols, thank you for doing your part. And just to mix things up (), we are about to provide updated Protocols in the next few days that are designed to be clearer and to help keep us safer.
  2. We have added a new feature to our COVID-19 webpage: a place for you to input questions, along with a link to a log of those questions and our responses. We ask for your name as you input your question, so if the question has individual aspects we can deal with you directly as appropriate. We believe that the better informed we all are, the safer we will be.
  3. Billings and bookings for March both look “pretty good” in light of the current situation. We pray that this continues.

Thanks again for your diligence in completing your work while doing so safely, and let’s continue to pray for our country, our leaders, our community, and each other.

Gratefully,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Please Read this Notice From Jeff Davies

IMPORTANT

March 30, 2020 2:00 PM

COVID-19 is a humanitarian tragedy that continues to disrupt millions of lives throughout the world and is definitely uncharted waters for all of us at Villara. The Executive Leadership Team is working hard to make educated decisions and plans to protect the company and its employees as we work through this pandemic.  No one knows how long this will last or how much it will disrupt our company.

Villara has and will continue to implement initiatives to help the company manage its business during these uncertain times.

  • Villara (effective March 23, 2020) has suspended all pay increases until we have confidence in the company’s ability to maintain minimum profitability.
  • Villara is freezing all wages for all staff and will avoid hiring new team members to the extent possible.

It is understandable that these two business initiatives may alter your decision to auto enroll or auto escalate contributions in the Villara 401K program.

  • Auto Enrollment – All non-participating, eligible employees will be auto enrolled into the 401(k) plan with a contribution of 1% effective April 1, 2020.
  • Auto Escalation – Each employee who is currently enrolled in the 401(k) program and who is contributing less than 6% of their earn­ings will be increased an additional 1%.

Employees who wish to decline Auto Enrollment or the Auto Escalation of their contributions are required to complete a form.

Please contact Joni Fitzsimons in payroll 916-646-2251 or Jeff Davies 916-646-2700 ext 1417 to get this form.

 

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

March 26, 2020 5:00 PM

Hello Villarans.

Quick updates for you:

  1. Welcome back McClellan Office and Plant team members! We missed you. Everyone here is working hard to get deliveries back on line, with Saturday deliveries scheduled. Field team members’ patience and assistance are much appreciated.
  2. Builder updates: Builders, especially Lennar, report that sales are continuing to occur, even though offices are open “by appointment only”. At this time, Lennar plans to continue the current construction pace over the weeks ahead, barring any other events. But….
  3. Safe COVID-19 workplace protocols are critical! We are seeing OSHA inspectors on the jobsites, checking to see if we are complying with these standards. Washington State just closed down new home construction for 2 weeks as they continue to battle Coronavirus, and I can’t help but wonder if those jobsites were seen as non-compliant with these standards. WE NEED TO DO BETTER THAN THEY DID!
  4. We continue to assess our safety protocols and expect to enhance them as we find ways to do so, to both a) protect the health of our employees, customers, and families, and b) portray safe practices that retain our current “Essential Infrastructure” service privileges .

Please work with us in all of these areas, and let’s continue to pray for our country, our leaders, our community, and each other.

Gratefully,

 

Rick Wylie

President

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

March 25, 2020 5:00 PM

THE McCLELLAN PLANT AND OFFICE WILL BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS FIRST THING THURSDAY MORNING, WORK AS USUAL!

Hello Villarans.

Good afternoon. 

While we are still deeply grieving the loss of our friend and coworker Freddy Herrera, we also have some news of great relief and customer responses that we are very grateful for.

  • First, the very relieving news: Freddy’s COVID-19 test results were just shared with us, and praise God he did not have the Coronavirus! All of our employees who were in close contact with him over the last two weeks can rest assured that they were not exposed to the virus from Freddy. YOUR QUARANTINE IS OVER!
  • Because we were operating today under the possibility that he was suffering from the virus, we initiated more stringent cleaning and sanitizing protocols on the whole facility than those recommended by the CDC. Many thanks to our Safety and Janitorial teams’ work. I am very proud of the way they and the whole team rallied to make sure that our employees are safe while performing our “Essential Infrastructure Services” to our communities.
  • During our communication with customers, we were deeply touched by their kindness to and support for the Villara family at this time of challenge and loss.

While we are very relieved with the test results, I want to encourage us to not let that good news make us ignore two things that are still true:

First, we still lost a great team member in Freddy, and we and his family are still grieving that loss. Now we can do so without being consumed by the need to maintain our own health. The family has committed to share with us the time and place for a future Celebration of Life, and we will share that when it comes.

Second, I want to use this experience as encouragement to remain vigilant in battling COVID-19. This vicious enemy is still attacking our world and our community, and we still must work to defeat it.

Please redouble your efforts to honor our COVID-19 Safe work Protocols, as we continue to study and identify new ways to remain safe while performing our work. And once again, let’s continue to pray for Freddy’s family, our country, our leaders, our community, and each other, while thanking God for today’s great news.

And, oh by the way: we’ve got some catch-up to do: let’s pitch in and help each other close out March well.

Once again with Gratefulness,

Rick Wylie

President

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

March 25, 2020 7:00 AM

Hello Villarans.

An important update: We have received information from the family that sheds more light on the circumstances and causes of Freddy’s death. Here are comments that they shared with us and, with their permission, we are sharing with you so that we all can make better decisions:

  • Tuesday at 8:30 Freddy was working on his laptop and laughing with his co-workers on the phone.
  • He had been complaining of a cough the last few days, but did not seem to have a fever or shortness of breath.
  • Around noon he went out for a walk where he got light headed and passed out, at which point an ambulance was called. We don’t know whether he died in the ambulance or at the hospital.
  • His cause of death has been reported as cardiac arrest, but because of the cough he has been tested for COVID-19. We should receive results anywhere from 24 – 72 hours.
  • They informed the family that anyone who was in contact with him less than 3 feet for more than 1 minute in the last 14 days should be tested. We are working to gain access to this testing for all applicable employees.
  • Because a funeral at this time is not possible, in the future the family will hold a Celebration of Life, and we will let you know when and where it will be held.

In the meantime, we are still treating this as if it were COVID-19 related, and today the Plant and Office remain closed except for very minimal operations while it is being cleaned and sanitized. For the sake of our people we pray that Freddy’s test comes back negative and these precautions are proven unnecessary, but we want to fall on the side of “too safe”.

I want to especially thank the true leaders in our company that have stepped up during this crisis to make the right decisions, and the front line team members that are working at the Plant today for the benefit of every other employee. 

As always, please be safe and continue to pray for Freddy’s family, our country, our leaders, our community, and each other.

Sincerely,

Rick Wylie

President

Further Update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

March 24, 2020 6:00 PM

Hello Villarans.

I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Today we lost a long time Villara employee, Jose “Freddy” Herrera. Freddy joined us in 1999, where he worked in the Warehouse andCOP;recently he was promoted to Delivery Supervisor. Everyone who worked around Freddy for any length of time came to love him, and there is much grieving for our loss. He will be truly missed as a friend and talented team member.

His passing was extremely sudden; he was here last Thursday, and even passed our new “Temperature check” safety protocol. On Friday he called in sick, sharing that he was having difficulty breathing.  He gave it a try on Monday morning, but ended up going home after only three hours. We understand that he called his doctor on Monday, and was instructed to stay home and recuperate. He didn’t come in to the office today (Tuesday), and just a few hours ago we were informed that he was admitted into Emergency, where he succumbed to his illness.

We do not yet know the cause of his death, but the symptoms are concerning enough that we will be treating this with an abundance of caution as if it were related to COVID 19. We will therefore close down McClellan Plant and Office operations tomorrow to execute a thorough cleaning and sanitization of all work areas, particularly those frequented by Freddy and his close associates.

A number of our office employees already work from home and will continue to do so, and in the last week we have significantly increased our computer infrastructure capacity to allow more people to work from home. In the meantime virtually all Plant employees are being directed to stay home Wednesday, and to check in before reporting to work on Thursday to make sure all of the cleaning has been successfully completed. Tomorrow will be considered paid time for all impacted employees.

We are also working to identify any employees who have been in close contact (within 6’) of Freddy over the last 14 days. We are attempting to gain access to COVID 19 testing for them, unless and until we receive information that Freddy’s death was not related to COVID 19. We are seeking professional assistance in determining when it is safe for them to return, either through conclusive testing, or through a 14-day quarantine. If you feel you are one of these employees, please contact your Supervisor as soon as possible, and please isolate yourself until we receive confirmation of testing or quarantine.

Please join me in wishing condolences to Freddy’s family and friends. Be sure to maintain our critical health protocols during this time of heightened risk, and please continue to pray for our country, our leaders, our community, and each other.

With deep sadness,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

March 24, 2020

Hello Villarans.

As of today we remain busy in most areas of our business, while we continue to enjoy the designation of “Essential Infrastructure” services.

Today I need to share some important decisions that were made yesterday as we respond, adapt, and prepare for an uncertain future as this Pandemic and its economic impacts continue to unfold. The Executive Leadership Team is working hard to research and understand what is happening, and then make educated decisions and plans to protect the company and its employees over the days and weeks ahead.

  1. First, a bit of good news: last week, as the whole state went into “Shelter in Place”, many of our builders still reported new home sales. They were less than the prior week, and we don’t know what will happen in the coming weeks, but….it is encouraging.
  2. We are sad to report that as of March 23, we are suspending all pay increases until we have confidence in the company’s ability to maintain minimum profitability. Normal Evaluations and Personal Career Development conversations will continue to take place, but some near-term dates for those evaluations are being extended due to the disruptions we are currently experiencing.
  3. We are avoiding the hiring of new team members to the extent possible, and instead working to transfer people between divisions or jobsites and where practical/necessary having people work overtime to meet current project schedules. It is our desire to support our current team members as much as possible with the business that we have.
  4. Our 401k “Auto-enrollment” and “Auto Escalation” event is slated to take place on April 1. Because this could deduct 1% (or an additional 1%) of your earnings to invest in your 401k, we will work very hard to confirm your willingness to divert this income at this time, especially in light of the pay increase freeze. A 401k investment with the 25% match is a good long term retirement plan, and you will have to balance that benefit with the short term impacts of the crisis at hand.
  5. Our IT department has worked hard to provide remote access capability to our computer systems for many of our office staff so they can work from home where viable and/or necessary. Over the days ahead our department managers will develop plans that allow more workers to work from home, in order to increase the spacing and reduce unnecessary contact of our team members.
  6. We continue to search for the best safety protocols for all of our employees in the office, plant, and field, and will continue to initiate actions that we believe will increase the safety of each team member. If you have any suggestions or concerns please ELEVATE them to your supervisor, so we can stay as safe and effective as possible.

Just as no one knows for sure how many people in our community and nation will contract the virus, no one knows for sure how the economic ramifications will play out. Some predict a relatively short economic contraction and then a dramatic expansion, especially in the new home building industry, but we have to be prepared as well for a longer term disruption. The actions we are taking now are done to prepare us for either scenario, as much as possible. As time goes on, we will know more so our actions will be adjusted accordingly, and we will continue to keep you up to date through this communication vehicle.

Please join me in maintaining our critical health protocols, and please continue to pray for our country, our leaders, our community, and each other.

Sincerely and with gratitude,

Rick Wylie

President

 

Further update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Company Communication

March 20, 2020

Hello Villarans.

Breaking News:

Governor Newsome last night ordered a statewide “Shelter in place” protocol, which had already been adopted by counties that cover about half of the state, including Sacramento County and most Bay area counties.  While his message and the attendant media coverage has been incomplete, we have received confirmation from our industry leaders that the Governor has assured them that housing construction remains an “Essential Infrastructure” service for our communities. As such we are requested to remain working.

Our Response:

With this designation we should embrace two important attitudes and behaviors, I believe.

First: let’s take in how blessed we are to be a part of the “Essential Infrastructure” our government leaders have designated to remain active during the current “Shelter in Place” health orders. While millions of fellow Californians are being sent home as their business operations are shuttered, we have the privilege to continue working and providing for our families because we provide the essential housing that our community needs. PLEASE JOIN ME IN AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!

Second: because of this great privilege, we have a corresponding responsibility to take all reasonable steps to keep ourselves, our co-workers, and our families safe from exposure to the coronavirus. We are just as vulnerable to this virus as our neighbors are, but we have to come to the workplace with other people, which increases our personal risk. If we want to continue to come to work, we must practice the “10 Point Plan for a Safer Jobsite” shared with you earlier this week. If any one of us contracts the virus, it will put everyone’s health and income in danger; let’s be mindful that we are all in this together.

Yesterday as I walked through different portions of our company I saw two things:

  • Great employees working hard to “Build Dreams” for our future home owners. Thank you!
  • And…..sometimes they were doing this great work a bit too close to each other (less than 6’ “Social Distancing”).

I shared some thoughts with them that I’d like to share with all of you.

In a conversation with a doctor friend of mine, he painted a mental picture that really helped my perspective. Imagine that if a person contracts the virus, they immediately develop red spots on their forehead: what would you do if you met that person on the street? Easy: you would steer clear of them, wouldn’t you?

Well, the reality is we won’t get red spots. We will look healthy for a number of days after catching the virus, so we won’t know who to carefully avoid. So now what do we do? TREAT EVERYONE AS IF THEY HAD RED SPOTS ON THEIR FOREHEAD; KEEP 6’ AWAY FROM THEM!

This feels terrible, unfriendly, and very judgmental. It is cumbersome, awkward, and it complicates a number of the tasks and conversations needed to conduct business. And, this is the necessary, caring, and responsible way to act.

Due to the rapidly escalating urgency of this health crisis, we are also initiating two policies for the safety and well-being of our employees:

  1. To the extent possible, we will perform forehead temperature checks with digital thermometers, to assure everyone that no one has a fever in the workplace. Whether the fever is caused by the flu or the coronavirus, it is just good health practice to “stay home” when a fever exists. Please cooperate with the Safety Department and our managers as they work to implement these temperature checks.
  2. If anyone is uncomfortable remaining at work, for their personal safety or the safety of their family, we understand and will honor that concern without question. We will allow you to go on personal leave, which retains your employment status and benefits (especially health care for those that participate in our programs). We will also assist you in filing for the necessary Unemployment Insurance benefits, which now has no waiting period.

For those that are ready willing and able to remain on the job, there are two realities that are present at the same time:

Many of our projects continue pressing forward at full steam and, where any of our team members feel it necessary to quarantine themselves at this time, we will be challenged to perform our work on schedule. This is necessitating overtime and/or transfers between departments, and I thank all of you that are participating in these activities. If you’re working overtime, this is an opportunity to bank some of the extra money to help withstand any possible future actions that may negatively impact us.

On the other hand, we have some work areas that have seen a decline in demand, such as the Service Department where we are on “emergency service mode” only, in order to restrict the contact between ourselves and the home owners. Our managers are working closely together to help transfer these employees to other areas of the company, but that may not be fully effective.

Overall as you can see, this situation continues to twist and turn and we are working hard to understand and then adapt to these changes. We will continue to communicate with you as often and as fully as possible so we can remain safe and effective as we continue to support our families.

Please join me in maintaining these critical health protocols, and please continue to pray for our country, our leaders, our community, and each other.

Sincerely and with gratitude,

Rick Wylie

President

Further update from President Rick Wylie

Continuing Communication

March 19, 2020

Hello Villarans.

One of my leadership maxims is “Over-Communicate”; I would rather risk telling you too much, than not enough. I have a strong belief that information empowers, and it is my goal to empower each and every one of you. With that goal in mind, I along with the team will share with you important developments or protocols as they develop on a regular basis in this very fluid emergency.

For today’s message, I want to share one word of advice: ELEVATE.  Please remember this word, below is the explanation.

We continue to design and implement increasing responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic, but the truth is that NO ONE KNOWS IT ALL. We each have different information, different health realities, and different family needs. Our company understands this.

We are doing our very best to continually implement companywide “Best Practices”, but these practices may not be able to address all of your different needs. Also, some of the Best Practices require systems and materials that we do not yet have, so we will gain capabilities as these systems and materials are made available. IN THE MEANTIME, IF YOU OR ANY OF YOUR TEAM MEMBERS HAVE NEEDS OR CONCERNS THAT OUR CURRENT PRACTICES DO NOT PROPERLY ADDRESS: PLEASE ELEVATE THE NEED TO YOUR SUPERVISOR.

Your Supervisor may already have a solution to your concern, and the ability to deploy it. In the event that your Supervisor is unsure of what to do, we’ve instructed them to ELEVATE all issues and concerns to their Supervisor or Manager. By following this practice, we ensure that the right team members are involved so that the company can offer the very best solution to each team member’s specific immediate need. Elevating your needs and concerns also helps the company to develop corporate wide solutions that can be quickly applied to individual situations.

Villara is committed to working together with you to identify and implement the best responses possible as new information continues to come in. By working together, we are certain to come out on the other side a healthier and stronger team and company as a result. Please join me in these efforts, and please continue to pray for our Country, our Leaders, our community, and each other.

Sincerely and with gratitude,

Rick Wylie

President

Message from the President

Alert Regarding Villara’s Covid-19 Response

March 17, 2020

Hello Villarans.

While we have been working to develop appropriate actions and responses to the Global Coronavirus Pandemic, we awoke this morning to a very different world. While last week saw a number of increasing measures recommended or directed by local and state government officials regarding the elimination of non-essential gatherings of over 250 people, yesterday that number as recommended by the President dropped to ZERO people. Yesterday afternoon six Bay Area counties enacted “Shelter in Place” directives, which effectively quarantines millions of Bay Area residents to their homes over the next three weeks. With that background, we held an important Manager’s meeting this morning in order to define our current situation and responses to this situation. I’d like to summarize the key points of that meeting for all of our team members.

Due to this Covid-19 Pandemic, we have what we believe are three specific aspects that we have to seek to understand and respond to. They are in order of priority:

  1. Manage the health of our team members, their families, our customers and our Communities

First and foremost, we have personal, corporate, and social responsibility to take all actions necessary to keep our people, customers, and community members safe from our work activities during this heightened time of contagion. Most of these actions are logical and even beneficial in other situations, such as our normal seasonal flu and cold season. These are just good common hygiene practices that our mothers probably taught us, and on this webpage we’ve shared with you a simple “10 Point Plan for a Safer Job Site”. We thank our Lennar partners for putting this document together based on CDC recommended protocols. Our Plant Management has also instituted an aggressive hygiene protocol with frequent cleaning of common touch points in the business (such as door knobs, conference room surfaces, etc.).

In addition to and in support of this protocol, Villara has enacted a new Sick Leave Policy that outlines how and when an employee can be determined to be of a higher risk to themselves and those around them, necessitating their need to stay home. Please review this Policy also within this Webpage. Two key provisions of the policy includes the definition of the definable symptoms that require isolation (respiratory symptoms and a fever above 100.4 F), and the option of accessing sick pay for any required time off, even if your PTO account is low.

We are also developing “work at home” options for the smaller number of our team members who can perform their essential work tasks from home. Department Leaders will be assessing each of their areas to confirm their ability to maintain the above mentioned “10 Point Plan”, especially the very important need for Social Distancing. They will provide recommendations about which team members currently are able to work from home if contagion concerns so dictate it, along with the need to work at home to provide sufficient Social Distancing within their work units.

We have also developed safe protocols for our Service Technicians to use when providing Warranty Service to our home owner customers, with special attention to potentially high-risk home owners who are currently ill or who recently traveled to high-risk regions.

  1. Understand and honor all laws and directives that our government develops to keep our communities safe.

As noted above, six Bay Area counties have initiated a “Shelter in place” directive, and we expect that other cities and counties will follow suit. We must remain attentive to these directives in order to abide by them, and to properly coordinate with our builder customers, trade partners, and building department personnel. At this time these agencies have determined that home building is an “Essential Infrastructure”, along with maintaining these homes’ essential systems (such as HVAC and Plumbing), so at this time it appears that most of our work will continue as long as we honor the “10 Point Plan” above. We do have Commercial jobsites within these regions that will be shut down during the designated time frame: this will impact the work schedules and/or locations of these workers.

Please communicate any aspects of these mandates that you may become aware of to your supervisor so we can respond quickly, appropriately, and in unison.

  1. Understand and appropriately respond to the economic implications of the Pandemic and resulting governmental responses.

All of these actions are having significant impacts on our general economy, and debilitating impacts on certain parts of the economy like the travel industry. At the same time the Federal and State governments are initiating unprecedented responses that are designed to shore up the economy, including such things as reducing key interest rates to 0% and pumping billions of dollars into the economy to keep it from cratering. The actions related to interest rates and loan liquidity is especially helpful to the home building industry, so we are hopeful that we will experience milder negative economic impacts and a great opportunity to exit the event with powerful momentum later in the summer or fall. Our long term outlook is very positive, but in the meantime we will all have to deal with work disruptions and possible slow-downs as home buyers step back and wait for the events to stabilize.

We will therefore be working closely with any and all employees whose work may be impacted by facilitating rapid access to Workshare and/or normal Unemployment benefits. We are also monitoring legislation making its way through the Congress that could enable significant sick leave pay for any workers that may be impacted directly or indirectly from the virus.

 

 

In closing

In closing I want you to know that I and the rest of the Villara Executive Leadership team are working hard to soften the blows that are and will continue to come over the next weeks and months as this Pandemic runs its course. Our company is as financially strong as it has ever been thanks to the hard work and financial disciplines exercised over the last 7 years. We are therefore better able to take supportive actions that we feel appropriate for the well being of our team members, our customers, and our company. Please join me in praying for our Country, our Leaders, our community, and each other.

Sincerely and with gratitude,

Rick Wylie

President

HOW TO PREVENT CONTRACTING CORONAVIRUS

What can an individual do to prevent contracting Coronavirus or the flu? The top recommendations are to wash hands frequently and do not touch your hands to your mouth and nose.

Follow these 5 steps to wash your hands the right way.
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another, and throughout an entire community – from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time:

  • WET your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • LATHER your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • SCRUB your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • RINSE your hands well under clean, running water.
  • DRY your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use hand sanitizer when you can’t use soap and water.
You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations.
If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Additionally, don’t be a hero!
Stay home if you are ill, stay away from those who are ill, and be sure that you have a flu shot.

SICK LEAVE POLICY

There is a heightened awareness associated with the cold/flu season, influenza viruses, and most recently coronavirus (COVID-19).The situation with COVID-19 is unpredictable and fluid, our top priority for all our employees is that you continue to remain healthy, and that you take good care of yourselves and those close to you.

To assist with the flu season, protect our employees and to limit the spread of viruses, we are implementing the following Sick Leave Policy effective immediately:

  1. Please immediately contact your supervisor (telephone, email, or text) and stay at home if you have any of the following symptoms: respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, etc), sore throat, vomiting, aches, chills or any other flu-like symptoms and you have a temperature above 100.4 F within the past 24 hours.
  2. If you develop any of the above symptoms while at work, please contact your supervisor as soon as possible to inform him/her that you need to go home immediately. Sterile thermometers will be available upon request to confirm the presence or lack of a fever. If there is any question as to whether or not you are contagious your supervisor will ask you to leave work.  This is to keep you and other employees and their families as safe as possible.
  3. If you see a fellow employee that appears to have excessive symptoms, please contact the Safety Department at 916-646-2271.
  4. To return to work, you must be fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines) or have a full medical release from your doctor.
  5. If you are sick and do not have any PTO time available, please see your supervisor about a new exception to our company PTO policy.

Please keep yourselves healthy, and do not hesitate to contact your manager, the Safety Department or Human Resources if you have any questions or concerns.

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