Perhaps the best way to describe the year 2020 is as a metaphorical hurricane. Just as expert meteorologists can predict an impending storm well before it poses any real threat to the life and property of those in its path, health experts began to raise the alarm about the COVID-19 global pandemic in late 2019. Upon correctly forecasting that the virus would eventually make landfall in the United States, those same experts began to warn the masses to batten down the hatches, stock up on supplies, and get ready to hunker down to weather out the storm. However, when preparing to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, one stark difference between hurricane preparation and pandemic preparation is that evacuation is not an option – folks cannot move further inland to avoid the path of the storm.
Now, as frontline workers and at-risk populations are beginning to receive their initial doses of the coronavirus vaccination, the global population has (hopefully) weathered the eye of the storm and will soon be able to emerge from its collective shelter. Thus, the process of surveying the damage and making plans to rebuild can begin sometime in 2021.
PCI was incredibly fortunate to ride out the year 2020, and a global pandemic, exceedingly well. While many communities oft battered by hurricanes have plans in place to deal with such emergencies, there likely were not many businesses that had an existing “global pandemic mitigation plan,” and PCI indeed did not. However, thanks to our company’s immensely talented workforce, sound leadership decisions, willingness to adapt to constantly shifting realities, and thorough internal and external communications, PCI rose to the occasion in 2020 and delivered some inspiring accomplishments.
Per state and local government mandates, PCI transitioned its entire corporate office to a virtual working posture in March. This shift took an extraordinary coordinated effort. While there were some growing pains, the support staff nimbly adapted to telework’s rhythms and requirements to continue to support our billable workforce.
While the initial plan was to keep corporate staff in a teleworking status for about two weeks, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on public health systems worldwide, which required us to extend the teleworking posture through the end of 2020. To better facilitate corporate communications in the virtual environment, Microsoft Teams became the tool of choice for PCI employees to continue their collaborative and interdependent work. Additionally, we launched the PCI Hub in the summer to improve PCI’s internal communications efforts.
As was the case for countless organizations in 2020, PCI had to make significant changes to hallmark special events. This year’s canceled events included the annual Family Day Outings (Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the Maryland-based workforce and Canobie Lake Park for the Massachusetts-based employees.) We also nixed the yearly holiday parties in Boston and Baltimore due to the health crisis.
For the first time in 11 years, our company did not host the PCI Charity Golf Outing, which has raised over $250,000 for The Fisher House Foundation since the event’s inception. To help support our partners at The Fisher House Foundation, PCI donated $15,000 to the organization this year, which provides housing to active-duty service members, veterans, and their families receiving medical care.
On the subject of charitable giving, PCI and a fiercely generous workforce were responsible for over $70,000 in donations in 2020. Two gift matching campaigns generated over $45,000, meaning PCI employees were responsible for over $22,000 in charitable contributions to worthy organizations, including Toys for Tots, The Gary Sinise Foundation, Direct Relief, Feeding America, Feed the Children, and the First Responders Children’s Foundation. Nearly 50% of all PCI employees participated in the contribution-matching campaigns, and the average donation was nearly $100!
PCI also collected several accolades this year. Here are the awards PCI has added to the mantle in 2020:
2020 Inc. 5000 Company
US Department of Labor 2020 HIRE Vets Gold Medallion Award Winner
Boston Globe 2020 Top Places to Work Winner
Baltimore Sun 2020 Top Workplaces Winner
In 2020, PCI was pleased to kick off the Veterans Support Command Post, which is a program for PCI employees that served, or are serving, in our nation’s armed services. The Veterans Support Command Post provides our workforce affiliated with the military more information on how to navigate complicated benefit systems in which they are entitled to participate, spearheads corporate initiatives (such as the PCI Holiday Donation-Matching Fundraiser that netted over $20,000 for Toys for Tots and The Gary Sinise Foundation), and provides a virtual social setting for members to gather in fellowship. PCI is a veteran-founded company and boasts a workforce comprised of over 34% veterans, so we believe we had an opportunity and an obligation to provide programming for this worthy group of individuals. There are big plans for the initiative in 2021, so stay tuned!
Recognizing that this year has been especially difficult on our employees, we launched two employee-centered initiatives in 2020. First, we launched a company storefront with our partners at Lands’ End. PCI provided funding to the virtual storefront so employees can select the PCI gear of their choice and wear it proudly. In addition, we partnered with Fringe and provided funding to every employee, which allows our people to pick their perks. We know our PCI family is special, and since we couldn’t thank them with in-person events this year, we tried to find an alternative that demonstrated how much each employee is appreciated.
An exceptional employee supporting Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA was also recognized for her dedicated service to the Lexington-Concord (MA) AFCEA chapter. Coree Chandler, a Program Manager at PCI, was recently recognized with the AFCEA Lexington-Concord Unsung Hero Award for her exceptional and unheralded contributions to the chapter in 2020. Congratulations to Coree!
Our employees didn’t let a global pandemic get in the way of staying in shape for the benefit of worthy causes in 2020. PCI fielded racing teams for the American Red Cross Virtual Run for the Red and the AFCEA Central Maryland Virtual 5K this year. Proceeds from the American Red Cross Virtual Run for the Red provided sorely-needed support for front-line workers during the pandemic while the proceeds from the AFCEA Central Maryland Virtual 5K went to support STEM scholarships for deserving youngsters in the region. Furthermore, plans are in the works to kickstart a company-wide wellness initiative entitled PCI Active to allow our dispersed workforce to add camaraderie, competition, and social support to their individual health and wellness initiatives in 2021 and beyond.
While the year 2020 surely gave many of us lemons, we are beyond grateful that our incredible employees were able to turn them into lemonade! We are thankful for everyone that made 2020 a successful year for PCI, allowing us to excel during a time of unprecedented challenges. We wish you nothing but the best in 2021, and we hope to be able to celebrate our victories with you in-person sometime soon!