75 Stories: Jen Huebel, Creative Manager

2021 marks the 75th Anniversary for Clark Construction Company. To celebrate, we’re using our employee’s voices to explain the impact Clark has made to ourselves, fellow teammates, communities, and clients. This is Jen’s story.

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, I was on a plane sitting on the tarmac in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, waiting for takeoff. I was checking emails to try and get a grasp on my email and tasks before I returned to work the next day after my 10-day vacation. I was also scanning articles on various news sites about this new virus that was starting to take hold in California, Oregon, New York… and Michigan. I sent off a quick email to my teammates:

“Today is my (long) travel day! I’m going to be traveling through major international airports (Mexico City/Detroit) where the coronavirus risk is pretty high. I also went through LAX 8 days ago. If you guys don’t feel comfortable with me coming in tomorrow due to risk let me know and I can make other arrangements. I’m not feeling sick so no worries there.”

The response was immediate, “Yes, it’s probably a good idea you work from home for the next couple of weeks.” I immediately felt slightly hurt because I was so excited to return to work and tell everyone about my vacation and share gifts with the office, but also anxious about what this meant.

Little did I know that those two weeks would turn into nearly two years of working from home to working in a hybrid of in and out of the office.

How quickly all facets of life began to shut down in a frightening and uncertain panic. However, the one consistent and solid rock was fact that I still had a job to do. I still had to communicate. I had a team and a task.

The sheer speed and reaction time of Clark to move entire office staff to a virtual format, as well as setting up protocols in anticipation of working in a world with COVID was awe-inspiring. Communication was challenging. Living was challenging. What was remarkable was the assurance Clark gave me that no matter what happens, our careers were safe and we would be given all the tools we needed to do our jobs safely.

We were allowed to take the time to grieve for our normal lives. Everyone was given the space to take care of their children at home. An understanding and patience that we were all going through something unprecedented was shared.

The level of CARE from senior leadership from constant communication, personal phone calls, texts, and emails made the experience of living through a pandemic less anxiety-ridden.

Today, I’m chatting with my coworkers on Teams, sharing files and articles on Yammer, and competing with others on the MoveSpring app on who is getting their daily 10,000 steps. I had to create an office where there was none, but we’re still communicating. We’re still here for each other. We are all supported based on what we need to live in a world with COVID, and that’s made all the difference.

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“The level of CARE from senior leadership from constant communication, personal phone calls, texts, and emails made the experience of living through a pandemic less anxiety-ridden.”