The idea started with a video project by his daughter’s first grade teachers.
Like all schools in the United States, Blessey Marine President Clark Todd’s daughter’s school is suspended as part of social distancing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. But that hasn’t stopped her teachers from finding creative ways to build a sense of family and togetherness, even while students are learning remotely.
Todd immediately thought of how to apply his daughter’s class video concept to the Blessey Marine family.
The result is a five-minute video highlighting how, despite work restrictions due to COVID-19, Blessey Marine is still moving forward at full speed. The video opens with someone walking through the front door of Blessey’s office, approaching the desk, picking up a Sharpie marker and then tossing the marker off camera. The camera shot shifts, and the marker lands in the hands of a Blessey team member, working from her living room. She writes the message, “Human Resources Still Hiring,” then tosses the marker off camera.
In like manner, Blessey team members from throughout the company—accounting, vessel crews, benefits, operations, crew travel, payroll, maintenance, dispatch—all pen messages to communicate they are still at work, pulling in the same direction as a team to keep essential cargoes moving on the nation’s waterways.
“For my daughter, the video was a neat way to communicate the story of what’s going on for the girls,” Todd said. “For our company, it was a unique way, outside of a video conference, to show appreciation for the job everybody is doing and to bring a sense of support and communication to the folks.”
Todd said the reaction was immediate.
“The chain of emails coming to me and to Walter was instantaneous,” he said. “I’m just so happy that it struck a nerve in so many of our employees’ minds and hearts. That’s what it’s all about: Care for one another and care for our people. That’s what makes Blessey who we are.”
Todd praised the entire Blessey family for their dedication and professionalism during the COVID-19 response.
“We really have not skipped a beat,” he said.
Todd said about 85 percent of Blessey employees at the company’s New Orleans headquarters and its Houston office are working remotely. The office remains open for a small set of essential staff members, and the company has worked out a system for how employees can come into the office as needed while still minimizing health risks.
“It’s worked out really well,” he said. “We’re so very proud of the job everyone is doing in coming together and the commitment everyone is showing in getting the job done. I never doubted it. This type of situation only solidifies just how special our folks are at the office and on the vessels.”
At Blessey, as with every other towing company, crews are having to drive to make crew changes rather than flying.
“That’s been a little bit of a stressor, but we’re managing it well,” he said. “All of our vessels are working and operating, so we’re very blessed that’s the current situation for Blessey Marine. To date, we’re lucky that we haven’t had a COVID-19 case on our vessels, but we’re certainly prepared to handle that should that arise.”
Todd said the teamwork and seamless operations across the board at Blessey Marine proceed directly from the company’s main theme: family.
“Working at Blessey, it’s all about family and taking care of one another,” he said. “That’s always been our goal and our motto: family first.”
The Blessey Marine video can be seen at https://youtu.be/d8FekXbceD0.