If we thought 2020 was behind us, and 2021 was going to be better, we would have thought wrong! The pandemic was still with us and in mid-February we had a winter storm we have not seen the likes of in decades, especially in duration, temperature, and devastating consequences. The new term for those maladies was SNOVID! Our weather is now warmer, COVID vaccinations for Texans are in progress and we’re all getting back to work. Since my last President’s Corner on December 30th, a lot has transpired. A new administration is in place in Washington DC, the 87th State Legislature is in session, COVID cases have decreased, vaccinations are up, and our Texas power grid is getting a thorough in-depth review.
Since the beginning of 2021, SAMA was busy as well, getting updates on many issues to include the February winter storm. We worked with state and regional governments, CPS Energy and SAWS, the Texas Association of Manufacturers (TAM) and others, to ensure power outages, rolling blackouts and water shortage communications were passed to our members, albeit intermittently, due to power interruptions. Many lessons were learned for our state and utility companies and we’ll be passing on our, and our member observations and ideas, to them. on where they can improve.
Prior to the winter storm, SAMA had a very successful February luncheon and panel discussion on COVID-19 Challenges, Changes and Opportunities, presented by our member company, ABIP CPAs | Advisors. Focus was on manufacturing and included discussions on production delays based on supply chain and COVID issues, new tax plans, and cyber security. The cyber security discussion was significant and has led to a quarterly cyber security tips program. SAMA, working with various member companies who deal with cyber security, will provide these tips to all so you can guard against cyber-attacks especially since there has been a significant upswing in incidents nationally and locally. Here are the first quarter tips from ABIP CPAs | Advisors that are relevant to you on both the official and personal front:
- Use Confidential Mode if you have to share sensitive information through Gmail – It’s a best practice not to send sensitive, personal information over email whenever possible. When it can’t be avoided, Confidential Mode can give you some peace of mind. Before you hit Send, from the bottom row of the toolbar, select the Confidential Mode icon. It looks like a clock face with a padlock. You can set an expiration for the message and require an SMS passcode.
- Turn on automatic updates for your security and data management apps – Out-of-date software is one of the biggest risks to data security. Numerous attacks have targeted known exploits in older versions of popular applications and operating systems. To be safe, use solutions like Total Defense Ultimate that automatically implement new updates as they become available.
- Powerwash your Chromebook before giving it away – For security and convenience, one of Chrome OS’s major benefits is its ability to integrate seamlessly with your Google Account. However, you should make sure to close out all connections if you choose to pass the device on to a trusted friend or family member. From Settings, scroll down to the section labeled “Advanced” and select “Reset settings.” Then, under “Powerwash,” press the reset button to get started.
Many thanks to ABIP CPAs | Advisors for their panel discussion and cyber security tips!
SAMA also had a webinar on Should I Hire a Robot? It was presented by SAMA members, the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC), Southwest Research Institute, and Olympus Controls. Specifically, the webinar focused robotics and automation case studies from small manufacturers to include members, Pressure Systems International, Innovation Technology Machining, and Division Laundry & Cleaners. What was discussed is why manufacturers should consider robotics and automation. Basically, to stay competitive in a national and global market, ensure quality production, and meeting ever demanding production timelines, manufacturers should at least consider them. This webinar was highly successful and will be offered again.
Other issues SAMA is staying on top of that are important are COVID-19 vaccines and state and local executive orders:
- COVID-19 Vaccine has increased in San Antonio – The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses shipping to Texas providers has continued to climb with 676,280 first doses allocated to the state by the federal government during the week of March 1. See press release for more details: https://dshs.texas.gov/news/releases/2021/20210226.aspx
- State – Executive Order GA-34. The mask mandate in Texas has been lifted and increases capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent. Businesses may still limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols at their own discretion – press release.
- County – Latest Executive Order NW-19: https://www.bexar.org/DocumentCenter/View/28910/Bexar-County-Executive-Order-NW-19-12-28-2020?bidId=
- Local – Click here to see local information: Declarations & Orders – City of San Antonio
SAMA and SAEDF Partnership – Recently, SUPA Doors in Universal City passed to us they will be closing their plant in March and asked for our assistance in helping their employees find their next career opportunities. Our assistance resulted in SUPA Doors having seven job fairs on site and 12 companies reaching out to them. Happy to say, many of their employees accepted offers with new employers. Great story and we’re proud to be partners with the SAEDF.
SAMA 2021 Events
Just so you know, SAMA will continue to do a mix of virtual and limited in-person events to include a combination of both such as out luncheons. Our next upcoming events are:
- April 6th – SAMA Luncheon at the San Antonio Country Club. In-person dining and virtual connection. Topic will cover Cyber Exposure and what to do if you have been Attacked.
- April 16th – SAMA 18th Annual Spring Fling Golf Tournament, Olympia Hills Golf Course, Universal City, 7:30 am registration, 8:30 am shotgun start. Sponsorships available.
- May 12th and 13th – Virtual Trade Show and Conference. Sponsored by SAMA and the Texas Association of Manufacturers (TAM). Virtual platform provided by Virbela and is very easy to use. Three dynamic speakers have been confirmed and working on a fourth.
Information and registration details can be obtained at our website – http://www.sama-tx.org under events.
Notable Passing – it is with a heavy heart to let you know Ms. Dawn Bruner Finlayson, Partner, Caldwell East & Finlayson passed away on February 13th. Dawn was a member, and friend to SAMA and our Employment Law Committee Chair. She will dearly be missed.
There is so much more to pass on but I want to keep short. Please be safe and healthy especially during spring break.
The SAMA executive leadership, my staff and I are ready to assist where we can and to uphold our mission of being our members’ voice and advocate. Please don’t hesitate to contact us by email – [email protected] or phone – (210) 979-7530.