Life at Spin

Learning from a Company Who Cares

Female Ford employee inspecting Ford boxes

Ford Motor Company’s Response to the Pandemic Paves the Way For Us at Spin

With all that has happened and all we’ve been through over the last eight months, it might be a little difficult to recall just how uncertain the first few days of the pandemic felt. In our hometown of San Francisco, the shelter-in-place began on March 16th. People were grasping to understand the nature of this virus and trying to figure out how to proceed.

Businesses like ours also had to go through this process of making sense of the situation and quickly plotting a path forward. Guided by a desire to be a dependable partner in a time of need, our leadership team decided to continue operating in eight markets to provide safe, socially distanced transportation for essential trips and essential workers.

That decision meant we needed to develop safety protocols and strategies, as well as obtain all the necessary protective materials, for our employees, in a short period. Austin Helms, our safety operations manager, reflects on that moment, “There was the initial mad rush for PPE, and we realized that Amazon wasn’t going to be enough. We couldn’t find anything in any hardware stores. I mean, we were really just scouring the internet for PPE.”

Thankfully, we weren’t alone. We had guidance, support, and resources from our parent company, Ford Motor Company, who has dealt with more than a few pressure-packed, globally significant moments in their 117-year existence. At a time when we needed PPE to ensure our employees were protected and safe, our operating markets received shipments of masks, gloves, and face shields directly from Ford. Their health and safety experts also provided ongoing support and guidance to our team. It was imperative that our team not only was safe but that they felt safe too. “It was really good that we had [the materials] at the right time,” Eskat Asfaw, our safety manager in DC, explained. “Our teams — our operation specialists and mechanics — were able to know they were safe and that we had all they needed.”

Images courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In a very personal way, the emphasis on safety also extended outwards to our team members’ families. Asfaw continued, “On our team calls, the constant reminder is that we wear our PPE not only for ourselves — but, some people have kids, some people have families. I constantly remind the team that that’s who we’re doing it for.”

Early in the pandemic, Ford decided to allocate some of their manufacturing resources towards the production of PAPRs (respirators), masks, gowns, and COVID-19 collection kits. “In just three weeks under Project Apollo, we’ve unleashed our world-class manufacturing, purchasing, and design talent to get scrappy and start making personal protection equipment,” Jim Baumbick, vice president, Ford Enterprise Product Line Management, said back in April.

And this isn’t the first time that Ford has stepped up during a moment of crisis. In 1941, they used their manufacturing know-how to create portable incubators for babies born prematurely in rural areas. And later in the decade, they helped produce iron lungs for people suffering from polio.

Ford’s history of helping during times of need shows genuine empathy for people, and, at Spin, we’re committed to following in their footsteps. Putting our employees and our riders first and treating them with care is part of our DNA.

Supporting each other in these ways, rallying together, and stepping up during adverse moments are all qualities that we’re growing into as a company. We’re grateful for the leadership and example Ford provides in this area, and we’re excited to continue to work together, through the ups and downs, to create a better tomorrow.

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