Gary Weissel, Tronos Aviation Consulting, working from his home office.

What We’re Made Of is a Q&A series that looks at how companies in the aviation industry are tackling challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve had to adapt to changes in where, when and how we work, but we are resilient. If you would like to share your experience, e-mail editor@apex.aero.

Gary Weissel
Managing Director, Tronos Aviation Consulting
Location: Woodstock, Georgia
Day 15 of working from home
Date of writing: April 1

Are you in lockdown right now?
Yes, going on week 3 of “shelter-in-place.”

Where are you writing from?
My home office. While it’s been 15 business days since my last trip, I’ve been working from home for 20 years, so it’s a familiar and well-used setup.

How are you trying to maintain “business as usual” or communicating with your team?
Internally, we use Skype meetings and calls. Externally with clients and industry organizations, we have been using Teams and Zoom for webinars and meetings.

“We’ve been building them in titanium and stainless steel so that they can be properly sterilized by hospitals, as plastic ones that many are building at home will not survive autoclave sterilization.”

Describe where your business was at the end of 2019. What were your goals/projections for 2020?
2019 was a very good year for us. Our tailwinds into 2020 were good and we had a big goal to release and start selling subscriptions to our aircraft interiors production forecasts.

Can you share some specific challenges your business has faced as a result of the outbreak?
A lot of our work requires face-to-face client meetings. We have delayed the release of our forecast due to COVID-19 and the changes to the marketplace. We are currently working on revising our forecast (in cooperation with our partners) to consider the crisis and its anticipated significant impacts on the interior modification business, which drives a significant portion of the interiors production market.

Any tips on how to remain productive under these new circumstances?

  • Make a schedule as close to what you had prior to working from home and stick to it.
  • Make a separate space for your office. When you’re in your office, don’t get distracted.
  • Ensure you make time to move and exercise.
  • Take breaks during the day. Walk outside for five minutes to break up the day.
  • Don’t be afraid to end your day at your usual time. Turn off the laptop and focus on other things.
  • Working remotely requires you to be exceptionally responsive to clients, co-workers, etc. We can’t just walk into each other’s offices to ask questions. So if someone rings or e-mails you, respond ASAP, even if it’s to stay “busy, I’ll call you back shortly.” Being better connected is an absolute MUST!

How can we, as an industry, work together and rebound from this unprecedented crisis?
Stay connected, stay engaged, network. With every crisis there is opportunity to help each other out and build trust, all of which can lead to future business during the recovery.

What has your company done to join the efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus?
Our facilities up in Canada have donated our N95 masks to the local health department. Our manufacturing facility has been working with the local health department, regional hospital and several respiratory therapists on a manifold part to allow a single ventilator to be utilized by multiple patients. Ours is manufactured using our three metallic additive manufacturing machines. We’ve been building them in titanium and stainless steel so that they can be properly sterilized by hospitals, as plastic ones that many are building at home will not survive autoclave sterilization. Our design also allows adjusting of the output to individual patients for their ventilator needs, so it’s not just a “splitter.” A 300-pound male may need more ventilation than a 100-pound female. We are actually donating these free of charge to health departments in Canada and are in discussions to do the same in the US.

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