2020: A humbling year of adapting, and sharing gratitude

Olympic Companies SD started off the year as any other, but soon were confronted—like everyone else—by COVID and all the other things the pandemic brought with it. The local leadership dealt with uncertainty—how it was going to impact individuals, workload, employment—that slowly transitioned into pragmatically managing how they work through the pandemic. "It continues to be that way for us. And what's been remarkable is how our crews have remained positive!" said Dean Sands, Branch Manager/Vice President, Olympic Companies, South Dakota.

This year has been nothing short of changes and adapting to those changes. Olympic Companies SD has seen projects slow down, and new ones come up in relation to the needs of the pandemic. "I'm very thankful for our employees. They've all worked hard and learned how to work through the changes," said Sands. "We've had opportunities pop up in out-of-town areas, and our guys were willing to travel and work on the projects. A lot of them have been away from home during the week for a good portion of the year, and my hat's off to them for their willingness to do that."

The crews were able to complete projects all across the state while adjusting to social distancing, and keeping cleanliness and safety top of mind. Sands says it's been interesting to see how projects have developed and adjusted over the course of the year. Around mid-May, Olympic SD was doing a lot of cost estimating for building space for emergency ICU beds, but those projects didn't surface because the pandemic surge didn't happen then. At the same time, one of the big projects the crew worked on was at the 3M facility in Aberdeen. It was an expansion project to ramp up 3M's N95 mask production in direct relation to the needs of the pandemic. The crew has been working on that project for around five months, and it is soon nearing its completion.

"In the chaos that came with this year, it's been amazing to see the kind of opportunities that came up for us. We were able to support the needs of the community, in a way. I'm thankful to our customers who relied on us to help them through their unique needs this year," said Sands. "Just like the 3M Aberdeen project, there was need for something to be done quick and right, and they contacted us. We're really grateful for that."

There has been a slowdown across the industry, and Sands says that they've been fortunate that it didn't really hit them until November. "What has happened with us is kind of common throughout the area, and probably through the region. The workload has slowed down a little bit and the architects aren't drawing as much."

He remains optimistic for 2021 as they've received several calls for projects in the last month. "It's encouraging because we haven't seen those specific types of projects for the past three months. We want to get back to managing our work, improving our quality and productivity, and bringing in more team members," said Sands. The crew is looking forward to working on projects such as the VA Hospital and the Sanford Van Demark building, and all the other projects that are in the works. "One of the things I'm also looking forward to in 2021 is getting back to building our culture, whether there's COVID or not, to where there's more collaboration because we've lost a step in that, as almost everybody has. People need to work with people."

All in all, Sands says he is grateful for his employees and thankful for their continued support and willingness to adjust through this pandemic. "From our team to our customers, we're all kind of in the same boat. I'm just thankful that everyone has allowed each other to navigate through this time with patience because we're all trying to learn how to handle this together. And we're better at it now than when we first started," he said. "In the beginning, I was afraid of what the year might look like, and what it would look like for our team. And, it ended up being a good year."

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Business Info

Minnetonka, MN 55305
(952) 546-8166
(952) 544-8869 (fax)


President - Michael Conroy
Chief Operating Officer - Patrick Forliti
Chief Financial Officer - Dustin Prager
- Mary Jo Lecy
Safety Director - Mike Sturgeleski

Our Locations

Minneapolis, MN
Tel: (952) 546-8166
Email: jschwartz@olympiccompanies.com
Fargo, ND
Tel: (701) 365-0098
Email: jschwartz@olympiccompanies.com
Sioux Falls, SD
Tel: (605) 332-4420
Email: dsands@olympiccompanies.com
Milwaukee, WI
Tel: (262) 787-7006
Email: bluft@olympiccompanies.com