When COVID-19 hit, we had a choice. We could either let the pandemic define us or rise above it and propel our company to a new level. So, we decided to grow, change and become better, leaning into our new brand promise of always the better road.
First, we put measures in place to ensure the safety of our employees and clients. We’ve always put safety first at Blacklidge, but COVID made us think outside of the plant doors and take a holistic approach to the physical and nonphysical aspects of safety. We looked at everything from logistics and human resources to manufacturing and R&D, making certain that we had procedures in place to sustain business in absolutely any situation.
We also took this time to better define our guiding principles and values. Our executive team worked tirelessly to craft the principles and company values that would resonate with our employees and inspire them every day. Integrity, diligence, empowerment, excellence, humbleness and perseverance — these principles steer us in the right direction so we stay the course. While all of our values are important, Learn Urgently is one of my personal favorites because there is power in knowledge and deep understanding.
Living our principles and values requires putting them into practice. At Blacklidge, it all starts with our people – we wouldn’t be successful if not for them. Empowering our employees means investing in their professional growth through education, training and coaching. To attract the brightest talent to grow our team, we are employing new screening and hiring practices to help us find the perfect fit. Looking ahead, one of my personal goals is to be able to provide 100% funded health coverage for everyone at Blacklidge because the health and wellness of our people means everything to me.
With people at the center of everything we do, having the right processes and procedures in place to support them is crucial. Our executive team took a hard look at our business strategy and, through this process, decided to employ the Scaling Up platform. Empowerment is one of our guiding principles, so the fact that the platform leads with “growing leaders to grow companies” was very important to us.
Creating a safe and inspiring workplace also cultivates innovation. With our team feeling grounded in our core values and secure in the workspace they inhabit, they can bring their best ideas to the table. To support these efforts, we’ve invested more in R&D and innovation. To that end, we’re creating BIC — Blacklidge Innovation Center. It’s a physical space to inspire anyone because great ideas aren’t just born in R&D. BIC will be open to everyone in our company — from sales and accounting to logistics — showing us that we can all contribute to innovation at Blacklidge.
During this unique time, where we were on the road less and on the phone more, we became better partners by listening deeply to our customers’ needs. We uncovered the need for more education, so we created our first webinar series, On The Road. With incredible partners from Duval Asphalt, Texas A&M and our clients from Walton Country, FL and Ridgeland, MS, this series focused on asphalt sustainability. This knowledge further renewed our commitment to the advancement of eco-friendly products on the road and in the lab.
There were so many amazing accomplishments in 2020 — breaking ground on a new plant in Fairfield, TX, new hires, new additions to existing facilities, countless studies supporting our products in Delaware, Florida and beyond and so much more. No project or moment is insignificant and it all leads to the better road.
So here in the first weeks of 2021, as we look forward to what lies ahead, we are ready for whatever is next. COVID has taught us to be agile, be comfortable with being uncomfortable, covet change and, most importantly, continue to put safety, wellness and respect for people first.