Ensuring Business Success in the Post-COVID-19 World

Virtual Meeting

Thursday, July 16, 2020

11:00 am – 3:30 pm EDT

Program at a Glance


The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed all aspects of our lives in a short three months. For businesses, these changes have been particularly acute as they have affected revenue, growth strategies, workplaces, workforce health and safety, travel, customer relations, and even contracting protocols. Every aspect of our businesses has been abruptly impacted and as the country begins to reopen, these impacts have dramatically (and perhaps permanently) altered how we do business, manage our workforce, and plan for the future. WWEMA has brought together a group of well-known and highly respected thought leaders to share their insights on the economy, business impacts, human resource issues, and legal and contract considerations to help water and wastewater technology manufacturers and related businesses navigate the challenging times ahead. We very quickly learned the importance of rapidly pivoting to new ways of conducting business over the last three months and these leaders will help us think through strategies to maintain business success into the future. Join us and gain critical insights that will position yourself and your company to capitalize on our changed environment.


Welcome and Introduction

Vanessa Leiby, Executive Director


11:00 am – 11:05 (EDT)


WWEMA Executive Director, Vanessa Leiby, will introduce the program and speakers and provide an overview of the day’s Virtual Meeting.



Beyond the Pandemic and After the Elections: Issues, Challenges, and Strategies to Grow Your Business Over the Next Two Years

Gene Marks, CPA, President and CEO

The Marks Group PC

11:05 am – 12:00 noon (EDT)


If you’re running a business, then no doubt 2020 has turned into a very challenging year for you. You’re faced with many challenges that are not only impacting your current cash flow but your longer-term strategies for growth. What decisions should you be making now? What are smart leaders around the country doing to navigate their companies, their employees, and their partners towards growth and profitability over the next two years? Join national journalist, Certified Public Accountant, and business owner Gene Marks for a fast-paced, entertaining, and data-filled presentation where he will share with you the thoughts, lessons, and actions his audience of more than half a million business owners, managers, and leaders are taking to survive 2020 and thrive in the years to come. Among the topics Gene will address:

  • An update on federal, state, and local grant and lending programs, along with the pending legislation to aid businesses;
  • An analysis of the presidential elections and how each candidate’s economic policies will impact businesses over the next two years;
  • A deep dive into the best workplace practices smart leaders are implementing to keep their employees productive, happy, healthy, and safe;
  • A look at investment opportunities created by the recent economic downturn;
  • The latest technologies that require investment to ensure further growth.


Reopening America: Leading Through Transition

Bob Greene, Senior HR Industry Analyst


12:00 noon – 1:00 pm (EDT)


Whether you see the economic and workforce-impacting trends associated with the Coronavirus pandemic forming a “V”, a “U”, or even a “W” recovery curve, virtually everyone believes there will be a clear recovery at some point in our future. How should employers prepare for the other side of this crisis? What will the world of work look like in “the new normal”? With the maxim “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” at top of mind, we know that even as we continue to dedicate tactical effort to address today’s business exigencies, we must simultaneously devote strategic thought to the future changes needed to ensure an optimized recovery plan. Bob will lead us in a discussion on the technologies and resources needed and available to ensure a safe workplace and what you need to know to prepare for current and future human resource issues.


Networking Lunch

(Chat room forum to connect with other virtual attendees)

1:00 – 1:30 pm (EDT)


Participate in an optional networking session with your peers and others in related fields to discuss ideas learned from the morning’s speakers and how your company is handling the Reopening of America – both successes and challenges.


Coronavirus Impacts and Implications for Construction

Ken Simonson, Economist

Associated General Contractors of America

1:30 – 2:00 pm (EDT)


Although construction was deemed an “essential” activity in most locations, the industry was hit hard by project halts; shortages of material, workers, and government personnel; and supply-chain problems. Ken will share key results from the surveys the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America has conducted to measure the impacts on contractors, workers, and projects. He will add his views on how construction is likely to fare relative to other parts of the economy going forward and how potential federal legislation may affect the outlook.


The Shape of the Economic Recovery – V, W, or Nike Swoosh: Its Impact on Taxes, Inflation, Interest Rates, and Infrastructure Spending

Ernest Goss, Professor

Heider College of Business, Creighton University

2:00 – 2:30 pm (EDT)


Not since the Great Depression has the U.S. economy faced such an economic challenge as that presented by COVID-19. Matching the economic downturn, the Federal Government and the Federal Reserve have provided an unprecedented level of economic stimuli. Will this financial support result in a recovery and, if so, will it resemble a V, W, or Nike Swoosh? Furthermore, how will the unparalleled support (bailouts?) impact inflation, interest rates, infrastructure spending, and taxes? Each month Creighton University surveys bank CEOs in rural, agriculturally-dependent areas of 10 Mid-Western and Mountain states and supply managers in urban areas of 9 Mid-America states. Goss will provide a summary of recent survey results detailing actions and reactions of manufacturers and banks to COVID-19 and the ensuing flood of liquidity and what it means for your business and the overall economy.


Now’s the Time to Take a Hard Look at Your Contracts – Do the Various Clauses Work for or Against You?

Stephen Fink, Partner

Barnes & Thornburg, COVID-19 Resources and Litigation

2:30 – 3:30 pm (EDT)


The COVID-19 pandemic has parties to contracts scrambling to determine their contractual rights and duties. Buyers of goods and services are concerned that sellers will not perform. Sellers and manufacturers are struggling to produce and ship goods contemplated by their agreements, and are concerned with whether buyers will pay for these goods when they are delivered. Much has been written about force majeure but other clauses in your contracts may provide remedies. Clauses dealing with damages, indemnification, and performance have taken on added importance during this unprecedent time. Steve will take a deeper dive into these contractual provisions and discuss how you may want to modify them for future contracts.