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The Oklahoman: Coronovirus in Oklahoma: Defense Contractors Cope with Pandemic

by Dale Denwalt Published: Fri, March 27, 2020 1:04 AM Updated: Fri, March 27, 2020 1:18 AM

When the realities of the coronavirus pandemic struck leadership at Delaware Resource Group, a defense contractor based in Oklahoma City, the biggest question was knowing who should keep showing up to work.

Before official state and federal orders made those answers clear, DRG implemented travel restrictions for their employees at 55 locations in nearly a dozen countries.

Phil Busey Sr., left, and Philip Busey Jr., with Delaware Resource Group, pose for a photo in the lobby of the DRG building in 2018. As a defense contractor that’s part of the nation’s critical infrastructure workforce, the coronavirus pandemic has caused headaches in completing their mission. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN]

CEO Phil Busey said that weeks ago the company began preparing for the inevitable, that some of its employees would have to work from home. DRG provides pilot instructors, simulator technicians, logistics support and supply chain management for the United States Department of Defense and allies.

Chief Operating Officer Brian Busey said the company’s entire workforce is still on the job, whether they’re working from home or performing essential duties on site at military installations. As of this week, the entire corporate office is working virtually while about 80% of the total workforce must still work on-site to meet mission-critical functions.

“We’re up, we’re working. We’ve been told we’re on contract and we’re getting paid,” Brian Busey said. “Even contracts where we might do level-of-effort versus firm fixed-price, they’re allowing hours from home so those guys can get paid.”

On March 20, the Pentagon clarified that the Defense Industrial Base, a term that applies to defense contractors like DRG, are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure and “have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

The same directive applies to employees at Boeing OKC, where people who are able to perform work from home were told to telecommute until further notice, said spokeswoman Tracey Budz.

“The health and safety of our employees and their families is the top priority,” Budz said.


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