It hasn’t been business as usual at DGS since COVID-19 made its appearance in Maryland. Working remotely for the most part, we continue to do our jobs on behalf of Maryland’s citizens during this challenging time.
From the first days of the health crisis, some of our dedicated employees have assumed roles that support the Hogan administration’s response to the pandemic, not only to supplement but also to strengthen Maryland’s medical system in caring for patients with the deadly virus. This also includes ensuring that essential state employees are staying safe. Indeed, the coronavirus crisis has made unlikely heroes of some of our DGS colleagues.
For April Caught DGS, we want to recognize and thank these employees for their critical contributions to fighting COVID-19.
Director of Procurement Danny Mays and his team at the Office of State Procurement, usually occupied with acquiring standard goods and services so sister agencies can do their jobs, are fully engaged in purchasing medical supplies: N95 respirators, surgical masks, gloves and gowns, ventilators and face masks. The goal is to make sure health care workers and all the state’s hospitals are ready for an influx of patients suffering from COVID-19. Their biggest mandate has been to build a 90-day supply of medical equipment for the 250-bed field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center, which is taking patients who are recovering from COVID-19.
This is what Jared Eisenstein, Customer Service Supervisor of Mid-Atlantic, a medical supplies vendor, said about the procurement team in an April 16 email to Nelson:
“It has truly been an honor working alongside your agency. The level of professionalism that has been shown, has been absolutely incredible. Your staff has ALWAYS remained cool, calm and collected. To be quite honest with you, sir, I have not seen something like that in quite some time, especially considering the extreme and unfortunate pandemic that the entire state and country are currently going through. You all deserve a standing ovation for the efforts you are putting forth each and every day.”
Danny’s team includes the following: Allegra Daye, Kim Hackett, Calvin Gladden, Charles Bailey, Mark Riesett, April Weimer, Jeff Newsome, Lisa McDonald, Dapheny McCray, Lola Tiamiyu and Matthew Smith.
OPL is not the only division that has stepped up to the COVID-19 challenge. Tom LeQuire and his FPDCE team have been working overtime to stand up surge facilities in record time. This includes the Baltimore Convention Center and multiple medical tent sites throughout the state at both hospitals and correctional facilities. Coordinating with MEMA, MDH and other state agencies, the team procured the vendors to construct and fit out the tents, provided on-site direction during construction, and supervised the turnover of completed and fully fitted-out tents to medical authorities. These sites have been brought online in days, a process that can take months under normal circumstances. Under considerable pressure to deliver, the team has remained upbeat and ready to find immediate solutions to any problems that arise – all this while maintaining their normal work load!
The FPDCE surge team includes the following: Courtney League, George Thomas, John Ferry, John Finnessy, John O’Brien, Mike Dinkelman, Steve Billings, Craig Curtis, Steve Lauria, Frank ullifrone, Kenny Langkam, Toby Fitzick, Ken Klepsig, Mike Valenzia and Harry Hughes.
Teleworking for so many employees would not be possible without the technology services team of Toni Woods and Romaine Mosley. Their focus during the pandemic has been on readying laptops for distribution to employees so they can do their jobs while remaining self-quarantined.
In the midst of this demanding work, they found time to update BEA’s pages on our website. The changes have made a huge difference, especially for the Capital Grants and Loans Office. These revised web pages have greatly reduced the number of phone calls Capital Grants is getting because grantees, elected officials and the general public can now get helpful information directly from the website.
FOM has also had an important role to play during the health crisis. Clay Johns and Tyler Rybkowski were hard at work designing, building and setting up protective shields in use
at the State House. Bill Hartman, Casey Doy and William Bryan made the shields at the 301 Building. Their work adds an extra layer of protection for employees who must report to work.
The typical 8-hour day for all of these DGS heroes went out with business as usual when COVID-19 hit Maryland. It’s not unusual for them to put in 10 and 12-hour days. We are all inspired by their commitment to going the extra mile so DGS can respond to the crisis while at the same time get our normal day-to-day work done during this challenging time.