Friday Happy Hour: Naked Lawyer Edition

We lead off this week with a Team Triad PSA: if you decide to have a happy hour at home tonight, Lysol is NOT a good substitute for vodka. Now back to your regularly scheduled update.  

Members of Congress this week took a few minutes out from fighting like two cats trapped in a burlap sack and passed Round 2 of the small business bailout. This time, it is even possible that the loot actually goes to small businesses, without the media having to Shake Shack Shame large businesses into refunding the money.   

Free at last, free at… alright, grab some wood there, Bub. The Commonwealth isn’t quite open for business yet, but there is now a plan in place to kinda, maybe, sorta get some folks liberated by May 8, GovTom Wolf announced this week. It all depends on how cooperative the virus is (its not) and where you happen to live. 

And if you were one of Pennsylvania’s urban elites who regularly made fun of rural counties (there are more deer there than people!), who’s laughing now, wise guy? Our friends in northwestern and northcentral PA are gonna be out and about way before y’all are. Karma just ran over your dogma.   

Philly City Council got kudos for having social media influencers and professional athletes (we love Dr. J) to help spread messages about staying safe during the pandemic. Sometimes the messengers are as important as the messages. 

If that piece of news sticks in your crawwe invite you to move to Georgiawhich is officially open for business today. Listen, we don’t wanna scare the good people of the Peach State, but when even President Trump thinks you are out over your skis…  

Protestors descended upon state capitals across the nation this week, including our own dear Harrisburg, to loudly and clearly demand their states open immediately and damn the torpedoes. We are not sure if Governor Wolf strategically planned his reopening announcement to knock those events from the front pages, but if he did, we applaud his savvy public relations team. We call that “getting ahead of the story.”  Shutterstock_1389676046 [Converted]

Oil prices officially fell below zero dollars and zero sense this week, which we can’t help but think is a sign of the apocalypse. In related news, Triad President Roy Wells this week order 70 barrels of west Texas crude, which is sitting on the roof of our empty Triad World Headquarters.   

This just in: it is still easier to buy west Texas crude in Pennsylvania than it is to get liquor.   

Pennsylvania’s unemployment numbers continue to skyrocket, with another 1.5 million residents filing this week. The state’s unemployment comp system was not designed to handle this unprecedented volume, which should be a teachable moment for some elected officials. When you are in the middle of the longest economic expansion in history, that might be a good time to invest in technology to update things like your unemployment system. Sunshine don’t last forever.    

UPMC this week dipped its toes back in the water, announcing that the feared coronavirus peak never really arrived in western PA, and they will hence resume performing elective surgeriesHey western PA, you just might be third in line for this whole rolling reopening thing!    

The state Senate this week passed a bill to regulate the use of telemedicine in the state. Despite the fact that telemedicine has already become a way of life, some lawmakers felt the practice needed more regulation. What it does not need, apparently, is what the bill had, and that is restriction on some abortion medications which has caused the governor to promise a veto.  

Several years ago, when the General Assembly amended the state’s gaming law to permit online slots and table games, most people didn’t really bat an eye. Fast forward to today, and online gaming is the only revenue in town for casinos and, by default, the Commonwealth. Talk about pulling an inside straight.    

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has emerged as the roadblock for direct corona-aid to state government who are hemorrhaging money. For some reason, Mitch believes that more federal money would become a Blue State Bailout (his words.) Hmm. Didn’t realize the virus knew the difference between each state’s political leaning. There might be hope for Georgia after all.  

PennLive’s venerable John Baer weighed in on the politics of COVID-19 this week, challenging the oft-repeated mantra that “we are all in this together.” Some folks certainly have that cooperative spirit and are helping their fellow man, and then there are the Covidiots, hunkered down with 500 pounds of chicken and 100 rolls of toilet paper.  

Late this week, Governor Wolf scored some pretty high marks for his handling of the pandemic in PA, with 68% of Pennsylvanians giving him positive ratings, as opposed to the 18% who think he’s way off base. Two guys named Trump and Biden would kill for those numbers in the Keystone State.  

This week’s Shameless Client Plug goes to our friends at Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, who received news that the restart for construction projects will begin a week earlier than the resumption of other kinds of workprovided contractors conform with safety requirements to assure workers are protected from the coronavirus. APC posted a short video to demonstrate exactly what that looks like. 

In our We Cant Make This Up segment this week, we take you to (surprise!) Florida, where a local judge had to write new guidance for lawyers, urging them to put on clothes for virtual hearings and court proceedings. Apparently, some lawyers dont realize that the little white dot on their computer is actually a camera. For the record, Triad has not yet had to issue such guidance, but hey, it is only April!  

That’s what passes for news around here as we careen towards May! Stop back next week to find out everything you didn’t know about your state government! We promise to get dressed! Until then from Team Triad, have a great weekend!  

News updates from the Commonwealth: 

Office of the Governor: Gov. Wolf: Mental Health Support is Vital and Available Amid Strain of COVID-19 Pandemic 

PA Department of Health: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 1,599 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 38,652 

PA Liquor Control Board: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to Expand Curbside Delivery Program on Monday 

Senator Pat Toomey: Toomey Unveils Framework to Gradually and Safely Reopen Pennsylvania’s Economy 

Relief, Reopening, and Recovery

Gov.-Wolf-COVID19Governor Tom Wolf announced his Plan for Pennsylvania: Relief, Reopening and Recovery, which encompasses his vision for Pennsylvania residents, employers and, specifically, our health care system and providers.

The governor outlined his reopening principles sans a timeline. His plan for businesses includes the broad contours of a policy agenda to support a post-COVID-19 economy that may be explored or include:

  • Short and long-term financial support for small businesses.
  • Creating a construction job tax credit for manufacturing or processing facilities.
  • Exploring residential and commercial/business construction incentives.
  • Exploring manufacturing tax credits for manufacturers who convert or retrofit their facilities or operations in order to produce personal protective equipment.
  • Upgrading and expanding Pennsylvania’s broadband network.
  • Investments in our diverse agriculture industry, robust food processing sector, farmers markets and the many industries that support a safe food supply.
  • Renewing support for his PA Farm Bill and budget proposal.
  • Establishing a food processing reimbursement fund for worker safety measures.
  • Providing a state match for double up SNAP bucks to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products at participating grocery stores and farmers markets.
  • Eliminating the Unemployment Compensation Fund contribution for H2A employers and employees.
  • Funding for nonprofit organizations and local governments with less than 500,000 residents.
  • Investment and upgrades for the commonwealth’s mass transit systems, highway, and bridge infrastructure.

The Wolf administration has taken actions to help meet the short and long-term needs of individual Pennsylvanians. The governor’s proposed recovery framework includes:

  • Minimum wage increase.
  • Hazard pay for essential front-line workers.
  • Worker protections.
  • Expansion of paid sick and family leave policies.
  • Improved access to childcare.
  • Unemployment Compensation expansion for self-employed and gig economy workers.
  • Expansion of Workers’ Compensation (WC) to essential workers at life-sustaining businesses that are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 at work.
  • Updating education support and training to reflect increased reliance on distance and remote learning.
  • Student loan forgiveness and repayment programs.
  • Rapid re-employment programs to support business and workers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the fragmentations within our health systems. According to Governor Wolf, the policy agenda to support the health and recovery of Pennsylvania’s residents must include:

  • Health care coverage for all Pennsylvanians that is affordable and transparent, and a system that allows for choice in coverage.
    • Ensuring the that people with pre-existing conditions, including Pennsylvanians recovered from COVID-19, can obtain full coverage without caps on coverage.
    • Making sure that patients who seek out in-network care are not surprised with a bill for treatment by an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility.
    • Requiring transparency in short-term limited duration insurance products and protecting consumers who need to fill an unexpected gap in coverage.
  • Cutting bureaucratic red tape and making it easier for new Pennsylvanians, including military spouses, with an out-of-state occupational license to work.
  • Amending reciprocal licensure requirements for out-of-state practitioners.
  • Telehealth legislation and additional policies.
  • Housing options to safely discharge homeless patients.
  • Prioritizing home and community-based services to reduce institutional placements for children, individuals with disabilities and seniors.
  • Increased role for community-based organizations in health and wellness activities and health care delivery.

With a little help from our friends

by Roy Wells


Triad Logo No Tag (1)

I have been privileged over the past decade to meet many thought leaders in the business community.  As a member of Vistage International, I have been exposed to dozens of Central Pennsylvania CEO’s who all share a desire to become better leaders in order to achieve success for their customers, clients, employees, families and themselves. Through the leadership of John Dame, our CEO groups have been exposed to nationally- and internationally-renowned speakers on topics that span the spectrum from self-improvement, marketing, sales, coaching, mentoring and leadership. In an effort to keep us connected and sharing resources through the pandemic, John and his son Ed, have created an online resource to help anyone who is looking for guidance on dealing with COVID-19.

John and Ed are not the only ones though. Many thought leaders that I have encountered during my professional journey have also offered their insights, assets, networks, and guidance that can assist all of us navigate through this tumultuous period in our lives.

One of those individuals, Dean Minuto, has been a major influence on how Triad has evolved over the past 10 months. He has helped position us to increase our value proposition with our clients, but over the past month, bring the full value of our services to every client and friend that needs them.

Dean, a Vistage International Speaker of the Year, assisted the firm in understanding the science of the brain.  Of course, you are now asking yourself why are a bunch of public affairs professionals studying the brain?  Dean’s work revolves around three words: BE, BY and Because (“who we want to BE - our Values - BY exhibiting these actions (Behaviors), and the reasons why they work from science and will optimize our customer experience (the Because). He helped us to understand how the limbic brain, whose primary role is to keep us alive, takes over when we are in danger. It is the part of our brain that puts us in fight or flight mode. His recent free webinar with Dr. Bill Crawford, offered some great techniques on relieving stress and regaining control, so you can move from being in a defensive posture to an offensive one. After all, the best defense is a strong offense.

Dean has also contributed to Triad by introducing us to the work of David Friedman, CEO of High Performing Culture.  We always believed that our corporate culture was part of our competitive advantage. It came full circle when I was discussing David’s book “Culture by Design,” with John Dame during one of our coaching sessions, and John offered to introduce me to David, because he is also a sought-after Vistage Speaker. 

We started working with David, in November of 2019, and in January we rolled out the “Triad Way” and have started the lifelong process of institutionalizing and ritualizing our culture. I truly believe that it is Triad’s culture which has provided the foundation for how our team has elevated our partnership with our clients and continue to help them navigate their way to the other side of this crisis.

Another value of Vistage is that it offers members webinars, and over the past month has kicked into high gear providing as much insight as possible to help its members navigate through this crisis. One of those webinars was led by Patrick Lencioni, founder of The Table Group, and a world-renowned author, speaker and thought leader on teams and organizational behavior. Though this webinar is behind a firewall, Patrick is offering great content for everyone on his website. He has validated that Triad’s internal emphasis on embracing and ritualizing our corporate culture, has been the major contributor to our becoming a “healthy organization”. Organizational health is what has allowed us to not miss a beat in serving our client’s needs during this time

Triad Strategies would not have evolved into the company it is today if we had not been exposed to many of these thought leaders. Because these relationships have had such an impact on us, we wanted to share them with you as a way of thanking them for what they have offered us, and more importantly share what you can gain from the services they have been offering during this crisis.

I can’t emphasize enough, that Triad Strategies is here for our clients, but our friends and acquaintances as well. If you have any questions, or need to be pointed in a particular direction, don’t hesitate to send us an email, give us a call, or let’s set up a video chat.We are all in this together, and we want to help you emerge from this as a stronger organization.

Friday Happy Hour: Buenos Dias Mi Perro Edition

Mi perro

Welcome back, good friends, to the show that never ends! Well, we did take a few weeks off to adjust to our new work settings and an entirely different way of life, but we are back to remind you that no matter how grim the news of the day might be, if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane. Yes, we somehow worked Emerson, Lake and Palmer AND Jimmy Buffett into the same paragraph. Like we never left…

We will lead off with some COVID-19-related news because is there any other type of news? Infectious disease experts at the University of Washington on Tuesday updated their state-by-state projections, and if those party animals are to be believed, Pennsylvania is five days away from peak infection rates, thanks largely to the aggressive social distancing and quarantine measures taken by the Wolf administration. 

In case you were not aware, your General Assembly has continued to conduct business during these trying times the way most of us have: staring into a computer screen, unshaven, with the same sweatshirt on for three straight days. On Monday, however, three new faces came to town, donned their masks, put their hands on the Bible and joined the Lower Chamber gang. Congrats to newly minted State Reps. K.C. Tomlinson (name rings a bell), Eric Devanzo and Tim Bonner. You all picked a helluva time to run for this job. 

The House and Senate began pandemic proceedings with some nice, bipartisan rhetoric and pledges to work together and yada yadda yadda.  It was gonna be a new day, folks! Bipartisanship! Accord! Puppies and kittens for everyone and rainbow ice cream in the rotunda!

And then BLAM! The wheels came off the nice train Tuesday when the House decided to move forward on a bill that would curtail Governor Wolf’s powers, mainly the ones he used to shut down businesses in the state. Democrats howled in protest as the GOP sped forward, which essentially means things have returned to normal. Bipartisanship has a slightly shorter shelf life than a roll of toilet paper around these parts. 

But hey, we got good news from those crazy kids over at the Fish and Boat Commission! Trout season has opened two weeks earlier than anticipated! It is always good to have an outlet for outdoor activity during a pandemic, when the alternative is to sit around your house for weeks on end, doing dumb things like seeing if your head fits in the microwave, playing deck hockey in your living room or trying to teach your dog Spanish. Not that we have tried any of those things. 

We ran across an enlightening piece from our friends at Penn Capital Star this week that put a spotlight on the politics of COVID-19 responses. In a nutshell, if you have a public policy issue to push forward, a pandemic can be the jumping-off point you’ve been waiting for. Never let a good crisis go to waste, people. 

As we all struggle through the deluge of information flying at us on social media, take a moment to follow us on Twitter @TriadStrategies. Our Public Affairs team, which we would humbly submit is the best in the business, is a veritable one-stop shop of information about both public and private responses and resources to help us all get back to semi-normalcy, if there is such a thing. And don’t forget the Triadvocate, this week featuring musings of our friend Dave Sanko of the PA State Association of Township Supervisors, as well as our own Roy Wells and Asa Saidman.

And while we’re plugging Triad collaborations, we’d like to mention that we’re joining Marsy's Law for Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence to bring you a free webinar for employers on the dangers of Domestic Violence during COVID-19, at noon on Tuesday of next week. Michelle Cooper, health education specialist at PCADV, will provide tips and resources to keep your colleagues and employees safe. To register, click on this link.

This just in: Wisconsin is run by a bunch of crazy people. Despite the current pandemic, the cheeseheads running that show decided to plow forward with in-person voting this week as the presidential primary slogged on. Great job, Wisconsin. Instead of getting the “I voted!” stickers, Wisconsin residents got coupons for 30% off ventilator care.    

While the novel coronavirus keeps kicking the economy into submission, there was a bright spot on Wednesday as Philly Shipyard announced a deal with TOTE Services to build two new ships, with an option for three more. The deal will help preserve 1,200 jobs. A special shout-out goes to Philly Shipyard board member and Triad Strategies partner Mike Acker for bringing this one home. 

Even in the End Times, hackers are gonna hack, we learned this week. If you haven’t yet heard the phrase “Zoom bombing” you should familiarize yourself with it lest you come face-to-face with something nobody should be seeing during a county commissioner’ meeting. A better idea might be to just bag Zoom altogether and switch to Webex. Reader note: the preceding sentence was not even a subtle Shameless Client Plug for Cisco Systems. It was right there, in your face, no apologies. No time for nuance during pandemics.  

Sixteen years after declaring himself a candidate for president, Bernie Sanders finally extinguished “the Bern” yesterday and ended his quest. His impact on U.S. politics, however, will linger on for years, as he fundamentally changed the dialogue around a host of issues. The Democrats have officially pinned their hopes on Joe Biden, who will now spend the next seven months getting trashed on Twitter.   

According to the state’s Independent Fiscal Office, June of 2019 may very well be remembered as the so-called “salad days” of state budgeting.  The budget was (kinda) balanced, no tax increases loomed, the Rainy Day Fund had some cash in it and everyone decamped for the summer with a grin. That will not be the case this year, as the pandemic has already blown a hole the size of Vermont in the state exchequer. By the time you read this sentence, we could be just shy of $4 billion in the red. So yeah, Happy Easter everyone!   

The good news is that gasoline may drop to below $1 per gallon before this is all over with, as supply is now far outpacing demand. Biweekly trips to the grocery store and pharmacy are not exactly straining the nation’s petroleum supply. All gassed up and nowhere to go. Reminds us of our senior prom, but that’s whole different story. DM us if you wanna hear it, but definitely DO NOT set up a Zoom meeting.

In this week’s We Can’t Make This Up, the possibilities were literally endless. But we finally settled on this story out of Texas. While Americans have been inundated with terrible imagery for the past few months, nobody would bat an eye (normally) if a tractor trailer full of toilet paper flipped over and caught fire on a Texas highway. But thanks to all the chowderheads out there hoarding TP, the vision of that fluffy stuff burning all over the roadway became an unspeakable tragedy. Folks, don't be chowderheads. No hoarding.

That’s what passes for news around here as Team Triad moves forward without skipping a beat! We promise we won’t leave you again! From all of us, have a great weekend and stay safe!

Through Resilience (and Video Conferencing) Passover is Still a Celebration

By Asa Saidman

03.03.20 Asa S. 2The Passover Seder, no matter the year, is based around one central question: “mah nishtanah” which roughly translates to “what makes tonight different than any other night”. This year, Passover 2020, or Pesach 5780, according to the Jewish calendar, is simply unlike any Passover us as American Jews have ever experienced.

Usually on Passover, Jewish families throughout the country welcome their extended family and friends into their homes, they sit around the table as the leader of the Seder tells the story of Passover while the aroma of matzah ball chicken soup, brisket and all the other Passover delicacies waft through the air. Kids run around the Seder table, laughing as they search for the “Afikoman”, a half piece of matzah that is hidden and when it is found it signals the start of desert. The Passover Seder is a celebration, a moment to reflect on what we, as Jews, have overcome throughout our long history.

This year it is different. Yes, the aroma of my mom’s brisket and chicken soup can be smelled throughout the house, but the laughter, the celebration, the constant ringing of our doorbell to let another guest into our house is lacking.

Throughout history, Jews have always had to prove their resiliency. The affect that COVID-19 has had on our celebration of Passover, was just another way for us to prove that we are resilient to anything.

Enter, video conferencing…

Though the faces may have been pixelated and the voices were buffering, the celebration of Passover via video conferencing brought a sense of peace, happiness and hope that has not been felt in weeks. Our “Virtual Passover Seder” allowed my family to connect coast-to-coast and gave my grandparents, who are in their early 90’s, the opportunity to celebrate with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Even though we could not pass the food from screen-to-screen, we were still able to pass stories, songs, smiles, laughter and a memory that we will always cherish.

The Passover Seder ends with the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem”. No, that does not mean that we will literally be celebrating Passover in Jerusalem, but what it is referring to is a sense of freedom, an opportunity that we can celebrate anywhere throughout the world. This has a direct correlation to the affect COVID-19 has had on everyone. So, whether you are Jewish or not, let’s all make a goal to celebrate “next year in Jerusalem”.

I wish you all a happy and healthy Passover, “Chag Pesach sameach”.