By Tom Lawson
Secretary, APLDWA

Here we are, confronted with a new world; new ways to work, play, and love. Little did we know that when we celebrated the start of 2020 we would be where we are now. Wearing masks, social distancing while needing help to move that tree into place, onsite hand washing stations, and keeping a log of all contacts are what we now must do for everyone's safety.

reviewing plans wearing masks

Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote a book titled "The Black Swan: The impact of the Highly Improbable" in which he describes an unforeseen event that radically changes everything. His solution for this kind of event is to build robust and resilient systems that can handle the hit. The opportunity to build those systems before the event is now past, and we are smack in the middle of a global change. We need to act fast and act together to get to the other side of this.

First, take full advantage of all the systems that currently exist. Financial support was probably the most critical for businesses to survive. Normally, we would be finishing up the late winter projects and getting final payments, as well as deposits for this season's work. We depend on our employees and they depend on us. Getting those paychecks out to our workers meant food on the table and the roof over our heads. Getting on the PPP train early was important. Having the ability to tap into loans and grants has kept many businesses going. Keeping our Teams afloat helped us get to the next stage of this crisis, getting back to work safely.

workers wearing masks

Every system needs to be analyzed for efficacy and resiliency. COVID has shown us what systems are vulnerable and why. We now can make the changes that need to be made.

Our systems for communication are now very important. The Internet is a valuable source for information and communication. On-line services have been happening for a long time, but now it is critical for our businesses and our society to continue functioning. The Internet and on-line services are an example of robust systems that were capable of handling the hit and evolving to meet the need.

APLDWA has systems in place that we need and our members are using them. I have been so impressed by the response of our APLD members and colleagues, not only here in the PNW but across the country. Immediately, the APLDWA Google Groups lit up with messaging about PPP, grants, and methodology for applications. When orders to 'get back to work' came through, we were able to work through the interpretations using the communication vehicles we already had in place.

The New Normal is creating Value in new ways. "Open Source" methodology in the tech field is a concept that we are already employing with APLDWA Google Groups. We are combining the knowledge and experience of our members into an up-to-date information/referral source, multiplying the value for each member. Thank you Susan Piquelle for getting this up and running.

We have just completed a major renovation of our website – streamlined and visually enhanced. There is a treasure trove of quality content. Our Designer's Blog, just as our Google Group, is packed with timely, pertinent information, wisdom and perspectives, and it should also drive potential clients to the website seeking that wisdom. Thank you to our task force – Leanne Goulding, Heidi Walther, Christie Coxley and Robin Parsons, and of course our webmaster, Mike Pritchard. You all made it sing and fun in the process.

ZOOM meetings have become the 'Go To', for presentations to clients, for peer-to-peer POD support, and Board and Committee meetings. Our Programs Committee is working hard, transitioning to on-line webinars & virtual garden tours. Our first webinar "Designing With Grades" with Kryssie Maybay, PLA, airs June 10th. Register here. National APLD is adding more content in webinars, and even though our 2020 conference in Chicago has been moved to 2021, the committee is working hard to produce a virtual conference this year. It is all going on-line, allowing us to stay safe, while continuing to work, share, and learn.

The New Normal is where we are headed. "One day at a time" is a phrase that helps us with our daily fear and obstacles. However, we also need to look to the future and build those robust systems. We do that together by sharing; by working together to solve the problems. We do that by sharing what we are learning and what we know. Community is probably our most robust system at APLDWA.

The New Normal is Re-Visioning our Future. We will come back from this event. But make no mistake, there will be others. It is only a matter of time before the effects of climate change create an event that interrupts the supply chains & business models. I believe we should take this moment to analyze our methodologies and systems. Create systems that can take the hit, evolve, and create Community.

So, let's get back to work, together with APLDWA.

members in creek celebrating