COVID-19 Updates

5/28/20

COVID-19 Update

I hope you all had a good Memorial Day.  As the economy begins to open up, we see good signs but we are unable at this time to commit to bringing back additional people.  Although there is not much to update, I’ll have a zoom call to answer any questions.  See you then.

Topic: Thursday Get-together Zoom Meeting

Time: May 28, 2020 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 985 4005 3380
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Below is valuable information from State Representative, Cheri Helt.

If you are in need of immediate assistance or need to access food resources, the Oregon Food Bank has set up a website with locations here in Bend offering free groceries, meals and produce.
You can visit https://www.oregonfoodbank.org/find-help/find-food/ to find one near you. They are also available to help by phone between 9AM and 5PM, Monday through Friday at (503) 505-7061.

If you have children between the ages of 0 and 18, the Bend-La Pine School District is offering free Grab and Go meals at 10 different locations throughout Bend, La Pine and Sunriver. Adults can also purchase a meal for $4. They are offering breakfast, lunch and dinner options for pick-up, between 10:30AM and 12PM. I have included locations below:

  • Amity Creek Magnet at Thompson School, 437 NW Wall St, Bend
  • Bend Senior High School, 230 NE Sixth St., Bend
  • Elk Meadow Elementary School, 60880 Brookswood Blvd., Bend
  • Ensworth Elementary School, 2150 NE Dagget Lane, Bend
  • La Pine High School, 51633 Coach Road, La Pine
  • Mountain View High School, 2755 NE 27th St., Bend
  • Pilot Butte Middle School, 1501 NE Neff Road, Bend
  • R.E. Jewell Elementary School, 20550 Murphy Rd, Bend
  • Three Rivers School, 56900 Enterprise Drive, Sunriver
  • Westside Village Magnet at Kingston School, 1101 NW 12th St, Bend

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is also offer food benefits to eligible, low-income individuals and families. To find out more information, or to apply for SNAP, visit https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-food.

In case you are in need of housing assistance, you can visit NeighborImpact’s website for resources. They offer various services including rent assistance and foreclosure prevention. You can visit their website at https://www.neighborimpact.org/housing-help/.

For additional resources, including access to child care, you can also call 2-1-1.

We understand that this can be an incredibly stressful time for you and your family. Lines for Life has many resources for different age groups and they are more than happy to help you through this crisis. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are 55 or older and feeling isolated or just want to have a friendly conversation, call the Senior Loneliness Line at 503-200-1633If you are 21 or younger and want support for any problem, big or small, call YouthLine at 1-877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863.

Additionally, we know that getting addiction support and accessing recovery services can be incredibly difficult at this time. Oregon Recovers and Google have partnered up to set up the Oregon Recovery Network. Use this resource to find a virtual meeting, talk to someone, seek financial resources, find local access to treatment, find help for a loved one, or simply if want tips for staying healthy.

Please update us and let us know how you are doing and if you have finally received the benefits you need.

5/21/20

COVID-19 Update

On Monday we delivered K004. The customer is training and doing well.  The next plane is ready for testing soon. We still miss you all and are looking forward to bringing more back. As we head into the long weekend, I am reminded that this virus is still out there. So far, we are remaining safe here at the factory and we are remaining diligent. Please be safe this weekend. See you on the screen Thursday at 4.

Topic: Thursday Get-together Zoom Meeting

Time: May 21, 2020 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 991 4535 9693

Password: 080340

5/12/20

COVID-19 Update

As the staff continues to return at the factory, productivity has been improving.  We still miss you all and are looking forward to bringing more back.  It has come to our attention that the letter given to you all has been misinterpreted by the unemployment office.  They took it as you would all automatically be coming back on May 1.  That has not happened and some have been refused payments after May 1.  Cheri Helt called me to let me know so I have invited her back this Thursday to update you on how that is going and what you can do.  Also, for people that have been denied for other reasons, she has real suggestions and what to do about it.  See you on the screen Thursday at 4.

Douglas King is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Thursday Get-Together Zoom Meeting

Time: May 14, 2020 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 945 2231 8873
Password: 803892

5/7/20

COVID-19 Update

Reactivating Epic Aircraft manufacturing.

Since 3/20 we have hired back close to 100 people to have a current working staff of over 140.  We have continued to grow back as circumstances have permitted.

Factors:

  • Regulations – Oregon still in the same situation – expecting changes in July
  • FAA Cooperation – FAA to fly K004 tomorrow
  • Supply chain – Has improved dramatically
  • Financing – this has improved as well.

K004

Flight testing is done.  FAA flies tomorrow.  Thank you all for making a great airplane

A tough year

We began cancelling all 2020 events.  Sun-n-fun and Oshkosh are cancelled.  We expect NBAA to be cancelled as well.  Unfortunately, this includes cancelling our annual 4th of July Picnic, the Fly-In, and our Christmas Party.

I’m not sure when everything returns to normal, we will keep you informed.

Thursday Get-Together 

 Zoom meeting 4pm.

https://zoom.us/j/95183712791?pwd=ellhR3NZTkorN0tHTGRpcHRKLzgvdz09

Meeting ID: 951 8371 2791

Password: 031051

4/30/20

COVID-19 Update

Reactivating Epic Aircraft manufacturing.

Since 3/20 we have hired back around 50 people over the last 5 weeks to have a current working staff of 96 today.  41 start on Monday.  That puts us just around 40% of fully staffed.  We will continue to grow as circumstances permit.  The factors include:

  • Regulations
  • FAA Cooperation
  • Supply chain
  • Financing

We have made progress

  • Regulations
    • These are driven by the Virus itself.  We have determined that we can be here making planes legally within the guidelines of the State of Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority
  • FAA Cooperation
    • Contacts at the FAA have been very responsive.
    • We can deliver airplanes by flying them to Seattle to be checked by the FAA at a local airport.
    • We have asked to reschedule the Production Certificate audit visit, but we have been told that the FAA management will not authorize the travel.
  • Supply Chain
    • Replacement materials are being ordered for critical components and we believe that the shortages will now be overcome in time for deliveries.
  • Financing
    • Our owner and sole source of funding is funded by the airline industry.  The airline industry is in very bad shape and cannot be tapped for additional funding at this time.  I know that S7 has been through crisis in the past and they are smart enough to weather this one.   We have applied for PPP loans and have hope that they will be forthcoming.  If we receive a PPP loan, we will be hiring back additional staff immediately.  I was hopeful that we would have an answer before this afternoon, but unfortunately, the answer was, “it will be a couple more days.”  We are still financially solvent and have budget to continue well into the future, we just need to keep it that way.

K004

Flight testing has gone great.  We are fixing a couple squawks prior to a customer delivery expected in a couple weeks.  Thank you all for making a great airplane

Topic: Thursday Get-Together
Time: Apr 30, 2020 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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4/23/20

COVID-19 Update

We have prepared a list of employee returns for the first full week of May. All of them will be notified today. They will actually start on the 4th to make sure they receive a full week’s unemployment for the last week of April. Those that are notified will have their insurance continued without interruption. Those remaining will need to obtain insurance through COBRA or pursue other options.

 Darci AndersonInsurance is complicated and different for individual situations. Some have met their deductibles for the year, others have not used insurance at all. Henry will be on to provide some ideas on your decisions and how they affect you. We have invited our insurance agent, Darci Anderson to join the call. Additionally, we will explain further COBRA and your insurance options. We will share the rates for Employee only, Employee & Spouse, and Employee & Family (3 different rates) as well as when payments are due and how it all works.

This will not be our last return of employees. It is just where we are today. We are still trying to replace certain suppliers and work with the FAA to continue deliveries. We are still trying to obtain financing as well.

Remember, please make sure we have your current email, phone number, and mailing address as your situation changes.

Topic: Thursday Get-Together Zoom Meeting
Time: Apr 23, 2020 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 942 1627 6160
Password: 011269

4/16/20

COVID-19 update

As another week comes to a close, we are faced with a changing landscape of challenges at Epic.  Although we applied early, we were not given a Payroll Protection Program loan.  We were approved, but it was never funded.  It turns out, the banks received higher fees from the smaller loans, so loans over 350,000 were delayed until the program ran out of money.  As mom said, “Life’s not fair.”

In spite of this, we are soldiering on.  We need to prepare to return.  I am still expecting to welcome the return of a substantial crew on May 1st.  In order to accomplish this safely and meet Oregon Health Authority guidelines, we have implemented new rules.  I’ll show you these on the Thursday call at 4pm.   A key new rule is that masks are now required on Company grounds.  Also, employees need to supply their own masks.  They can be cloth and even a bandana can work, but it must be comfortable because it will be on all day.  We will discuss this in further detail on the call.

Dr. Daniel SkotteGuest speaker: Dr. Daniel Skotte.   Dr. Skotte will discuss what is happening with the virus in Central Oregon as well as how our social distancing can be effective.  Many of you with pilots’ licenses know Dr. Skotte as an FAA medical examiner to receive your physical.  Last year, he helped out in the Epic booth at Oshkosh.  He operates the Sunriver medical center and lives here in Bend.

After consulting with Dr. Skotte, and now having some visibility on society getting back to work to some degree, I feel we can start to plan a partial May return.  This will not be all people at once.

Thursday 4pm Call information:

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 925 8934 6081
Password: 027197

4/9/20

COVID-19 update

We will have another employee meeting online this Thursday with special guest Rep. Cheri Helt.   Cheri is our representative to Salem and has been helping people work through issues with Unemployment.  This is a very good opportunity to learn what is happening at our State government level.

The situation at Epic has changed little from last week.  We still have a small crew (same as last week) continuing to work with most of our staff at home.  We have applied for the PPP loans with two major banks and we see this as one of the driving factors that can help bring us back.  All departments are working on strategies to bring back staff while social distancing.  Last week, I discussed how we could try a 4 shift/week schedule in Composite layup.  Thank you all for responding and getting the information of which shift you would prefer.  Unfortunately, we did not get enough interest in night shifts to put it together right now.

News on the floor.  K004 has moved to the flight line and will start ground and flight checks this week.  The skeleton continues to move.  Our team of Quality, Engineering, and Manufacturing has been working diligently on reducing inspection delays within the confines of our Quality System and Manual.  This should allow us to move more quickly when we do return.  Our customers have been patient and are eagerly awaiting delivery of their aircraft.  We have had no update from the FAA regarding their ability to travel.  We are still planning a return in the coming weeks – I just don’t know when exactly.

Below is the Zoom meeting information.  They now require a password so write it down or copy and paste it.

See you this afternoon,

Doug

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 182 312 556
Password: 009672

April 1, 2020

Weekly COVID-19 Employee Update

This week we have continued to see growth in the spread of the disease as well as changes in the government’s response to COVID-19. Last Friday, the Federal Government passed the CARES act. Specifically, this will pay additional unemployment to those laid off and up to a $1200 one-time payment. Please stay on this so that you get yours. If you didn’t file taxes for 2018, file 2019 now.

We are developing a plan for return to work. This may seem early, but I think it’s necessary that we are prepared. We have to expect that social distancing will be a factor in the development of the plan. One of the ideas (we have many) is to have more shifts for some areas of the factory. This will spread people out in a less dense fashion by cutting down the number of people here at one time. Take composite layup, if we go to 4 shifts it might work like this: Starting Sunday at 4am, Team 1 would work from 4am to 3:30pm – 11 hours with a ½ hour lunch. Then Team 2 would work from 3:45pm – 3:15am – 11 hours. Teams 1 & 2 would work Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and then have Wed-Sat off. Team 3 would work from 4am to 3:30pm – 11 hours with a ½ hour lunch. Then Team 4 would work from 3:45pm – 3:15am – 11 hours. Teams 3 & 4 would work Wed-Saturday. The next week would be 4 days for 1&2 (Sunday-Wed) with 3 days for 3&4. (Thursday-Saturday) This way everyone gets 3 days on 3 days off, 4 days on, 4 days off. In order for this to work, we have to fill all 4 shifts.

2 weeks would be 77 hours with 7 hours paid as overtime. This will equal the amount of 80.5 hours of normal hourly pay. Think of the mid-week skiing next year! Think of the fishing! Our thought for holidays: most holidays you would be paid 8 hours of holiday for each holiday whether you work it or not. If you worked, you would get that pay as well. The details of this are being worked out now. I’ll be looking for your feedback on the call this Thursday so please join.

The Thursday Get Together.

Last Thursday I heard people had difficulty getting in. This Thursday I’m trying ZOOM. For those of you who have used Ring Central Meetings, it will look the same. RingCentral uses Zoom. Again, I’ll try to start a bit early to give people a chance to work out the tech. Zoom is free for individuals so I recommend that you try it out with friends or family before Thursday to make sure it works. Like last time, please make sure your mike is muted so everyone can hear. Zoom does have a chat feature and I think that’s the best way to get a question answered.

Thursday Get Together 4/2/20 – 4pm

Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 315 179 647
Password: 555837

One tap mobile
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March 26, 2020

A Message From Our CEO Doug King

COVID-19 forced Epic to make some quick changes that are difficult for our staff. The layoff on Friday 3/20 was quite a blow to 299 valuable, important, qualified members of the Epic family. I’m sorry for that.

On 3/12, our Oregon governor prohibited gatherings of 250 people or more and closed all the schools.

On 3/17, our Oregon governor prohibited gatherings of 25 people or more and banned on-site eating and drinking at restaurants.

On 3/18, the FAA told us that they could not travel to Bend to perform our final audit to issue our Production Certificate or come to fly our aircraft serial number 4, 5, and on.

Additionally, several suppliers, like the foam for our door skin, shut down. Our battery supplier said they were only making medical batteries. Window components from France, environmental parts, started to send us shutdown notices. Pratt & Whitney, our engine supplier, sent us a letter advising that their supply chain was temporarily disrupted for an undetermined amount of time.

It was in the interest of Safety of our Epic Staff, our families, and the long-term viability of the company that the board of directors authorized sending home of most of the Epic staff.

Sunday, 3/22, I had a conference call with the Treasurer of the state of Oregon, the head of BOLI and a state Senator and a local representative. I stressed with them the need to get checks out right away and pay more on unemployment. They all assured me that was their intention and that the unemployment reserve was over $5 billion and that Oregon has the 2nd healthiest unemployment system in the country.

I hated that this was the mechanism, but it appeared to be the only option to assure safety, and to make sure we had a company that was financially secure when we could return in force. The letter that was drafted and handed out on Friday was done so that you would immediately qualify for unemployment.

We paid the health insurance this week. The health insurance coverage will continue through April. My goal is to have most, if not all, of the staff back to work ASAP. This is highly dependent on the progression of the VIRUS, our suppliers and government (Oregon, Federal, OSHA, BOLI, FAA, Deschutes County) reactions to the virus pandemic. This news changes every day.

If the current bill is signed into law, you will be receiving extra unemployment benefits plus a one-time check based on your pay. I know that all of you would rather be working than receiving unemployment. We want to help you receive this short-term help so here are some tips:

  1. Get on unemployment. If you don’t qualify for some reason, let us know so we can try to help somehow. Only around 100 notices came in today from the state, so not everyone filed on Friday. I talked with one employee who filed online and it took around 5-10 minutes and it was done.
  2. The one-time payment is going to be sent to the bank account and address of your last Federal Tax Return. If your bank changed since you filed your last tax return, file this year’s tax return right away even though it’s not due until later in the year. That will update the bank account information in the IRS system and they will send the amount to you while you need it, not sometime next year! If you didn’t file a tax return last year – file one now – there are free services on line.

I want to keep in touch with all of you. Nathan in final assembly setup an Epic Family facebook page on his own. It’s growing fast – thanks Nathan.

Now, about the Epic Revival!

My goal, is to find a way that we can be back to work before May 1 – in order to continue to pay healthcare benefits without interruption. (Obviously, this will be impacted by the news.) We have phone numbers for everyone (I think) but we need email addresses. Please send and email to Linda@epicaircraft.com with your current contact info. We don’t want to lose you because we can’t find you. I know life changes, if you know you aren’t coming back, please let her know. Our expectation today as that everyone will be asked to return.

Questions I’ve heard already:

Are we all coming back at once? – I expect there will be a few (less than 20) that will be called back to complete some specific tasks next week. We will find a way to pick people we can provide a safe environment for them to work at a distance from others and stay on board indefinitely. I don’t want to have people coming in for a short time then leaving, then coming back, then leaving. I think it’s too hard on everyone. After that, we will probably have a few waves separated by a couple days or weeks. I just don’t know right now.  As this changes, and it will change, we will keep you informed on this website.

Do I think this is really necessary? Yes. One of my sisters and her fiancé tested positive and he is having a tough go at it (I found out on Monday). This thing is serious. #1 – stay healthy. If you are sick, or someone in your house is sick, let us know. Follow the social distancing rules and don’t go out to meet family or friends out of town.  

What can you do to help? Stay healthy and be ready to return to work.

We are all proud of the company we have built together and will continue to build. Let’s come out of this stronger and build an even bigger company.

I miss my friends at work, how can I contact them? See Nathan’s Epic Family facebook group. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2821059244676294/

Thursday Get Together is going OnLine!

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Meeting ID: 182 312 556
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Please mute when you join to keep down feedback.

Thank you for your continued understanding.

Doug

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