Interview: Brooke Hasegawa, VP, Progressive Communications

Please describe how and when you are conducting your return to your offices or other physical locations.

Progressive Communications is categorized as a critical infrastructure IT business. We support scores of Department of Defense installations throughout the globe as well as critical businesses in Hawai‘i such as Hawaiian Electric Co. Customers such as the FAA have required our team to continue to travel and support our operations throughout this pandemic.

We continue to adhere to social distancing, cleaning and PPE standards as recommended by the CDC. Each person on our team has been provided PPE equipment and has been trained in our COVID-19 best practice precautions.

After your transition period ends, how do you think your “new normal” will be different from your old normal?

We are working on a project at the Hawai‘i State Capitol and Convention Center with FLIR Systems to thermal screen entrants. This screening takes a thermal reading within 48 milliseconds. Customers are able to approach the kiosk and monitor and receive their temperature reading. Anyone with an elevated reading is diverted and contained to a separate area; allowing them to take additional temperature readings and work with medical personnel if required.

Decisions to implement new technology in the past that would take months or even years, are now made in days or weeks. Businesses are eager to reopen and there is a sense of urgency to protect clients and employees. It is so critical for businesses to purchase thermal screening products made in the U.S., transparent to users, adhering to FDA guidelines and allow for the lowest error threshold in monitoring temperature.

We have found during the pandemic, so much of our time is spent partnering with clients on best practice standards assuring privacy for all parties. Everyone says “new normal” but we are continuing to follow the premise from which our organization was established 37 years ago: the expansion of technology solutions allowing for efficiency and doing what is right by our community.

How do you think your new normal will affect your finances and customer service?

In the thermal screening market, we have seen aggressive competition with Mainland vendors, foreign based companies, organizations whose solutions are rooted in facial recognition and artificial intelligence. Mainland companies receiving COVID-19 exceptions to have Mainland engineers work in Hawai’i is frustrating.

Without regulatory enforcement of thermal screening and increased foreign competition, technology products that sacrifice accuracy for mass screening have been purchased and deployed in our island community. Finance and customer service impacts to our business are minimal when comparing the impact of negligent purchases and the resulting endangerment to the general public. Mass screening solutions sacrifice racial bias and false positives, with a justification that increased personnel expenses are needed. We need a healthy community first and foremost, and screening responsibly is paramount. Employees who can assist in diverting individuals to secondary screening is the “new normal” and businesses should want to assist in creating jobs and getting people back to work.

How are you going to ensure good employee performance and engagement under your new normal?

Many of the hotels we service are closed. They have been unable to pay their bills in a timely manner. Even though some customers haven’t been able to pay since February, we continue to dispatch our engineering team in an effort remain committed to servicing local business. Exhibiting values of integrity, compassion and kindness to those in our community has helped to foster positive employee morale amongst all.

Are there other important lessons your organization learned from this crisis?

Our recommendation is that businesses who want to protect employees and customers using temperature checks should purchase products from U.S. companies adhering to FDA guidelines with an error threshold no greater than 0.2%.

We can share temperature technology best practice standards with all and ultimately if they choose to disregard regulatory agency guidelines, we have done our best. We will continue to take care of our employees and their families and that is 100% what makes doing business in Hawai‘i so special. Our Island culture that promotes diversity, inclusion and taking care of those around us whether they be family, friends or strangers truly comes to light in a time of crisis.

Categories: Leadership, Restarting Hawaiʻi