Employee Alerts and Announcements

***Vortex remains open for all employees with regular work schedules.  Consistent with our normal policies, we ask that all employees contact their managers if they need to miss work.***

8/3/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

There are currently 348 confirmed cases in Saline County, with 79 active, 264 recovered, and 5 deaths. Vortex stats are holding steady with 2 confirmed cases.

It is important to recognize the emotions our team members and families have endured during this pandemic. How we cope with these emotions and stress affects our personal well-being and the well-being of the people we care most about. The following are 10 tips to help build resilience and manage stress:

  1. Identify those things which you do not have control over and do the best you can with the resources available to you.
  2. Connect with others, talk with people you trust about your concerns, how you are feeling, or how the pandemic is affecting you.
  3. Check on others, helping others improves your sense of control, belonging, and self-esteem.
  4. Look for safe ways to offer social support to others, especially if they are showing signs of stress, such as depression and anxiety.
  5. Increase your sense of control by developing a consistent daily routine including a regular sleep schedule.
  6. Spend time outdoors, either being physically active or relaxing.
  7. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media.
  8. If you feel you may be misusing alcohol or other drugs (including prescription drugs) as a means of coping, reach out for help.
  9. If you are being treated for a mental health condition, continue with your treatment and be aware of any new or worsening symptoms.
  10. Remind yourself that each of us has a crucial role in fighting this pandemic.

Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. The Vortex Gym is open with the following guidelines:

  1. Employees Only Until Further Notice
  2. Limit Four People in the Gym
  3. Use Social Distancing Practices
  4. Masks Required
  5. Wipe Down and Disinfect Touched Surfaces
  6. Sign In/Out Required

It is important that we remain diligent with social distancing and mask usage at work and in public to protect our team. Mask usage continues to be mandatory in Vortex Facilities:

  1. Wear a mask when leaving your isolated work area or if your work requires you to move throughout the facility.
  2. Wear a mask  if social distancing is difficult to attain within Vortex facilities.
  3. Avoid face-to-face meetings if possible. If not, wear a mask when speaking to others, even at a safe distance of 6 feet or more.
  4. If your job requires you to wear safety glasses AND frequent movement throughout the facility, Vortex will make a face shield available to you to prevent safety glasses fogging.
  5. If your job requires you to work less than 6 feet from others AND a mask or face shield creates a health and safety hazard, contact an EHS representative to help find safe alternatives.
  6. If you have questions or concerns about mask usage, contact an EHS representative.

It is also important that you do not come to work if you display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Keep your heads up and your hearts strong! #vortexstrong

Bryan Herwig

DIRECTOR OF ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

bherwig@vortexglobal.com

Cell: 785.416.9102

Office: 785.825.7177

www.vortexglobal.com

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

7/27/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

There are currently 327 confirmed cases in Saline County, with 120 active, 203 recovered, and 4 deaths. Vortex has 2 confirmed cases, with 0 active, 2 recovered, and 0 deaths.

We have seen an increase in household members getting tested for COVID-19. It is important that we remain diligent with social distancing and mask usage at work and in public to protect our team.

Please notify your manager whenever you become aware that someone in your immediate household is being evaluated or tested for COVID-19, or has been advised to quarantine by a healthcare provider. It is important at the onset to know from the provider if household members also need to quarantine or take any other precautions.

The Vortex Gym has been re-opened with the following guidelines:

  1. Employees Only Until Further Notice
  2. Limit Four People in the Gym
  3. Use Social Distancing Practices
  4. Masks Required
  5. Wipe Down and Disinfect Touched Surfaces
  6. Sign In/Out Required

Masks usage continues to be mandatory in Vortex Facilities:

  1. Wear a mask when leaving your isolated work area or if your work requires you to move throughout the facility.
  2. Wear a mask  if social distancing is difficult to attain within Vortex facilities.
  3. Avoid face-to-face meetings if possible. If not, wear a mask when speaking to others, even at a safe distance of 6 feet or more.
  4. If your job requires you to wear safety glasses AND frequent movement throughout the facility, Vortex will make aface shield available to you to prevent safety glasses fogging.
  5. If your job requires you to work less than 6 feet from others AND a mask or face shield creates a health and safety hazard, contact an EHS representative to help find safe alternatives.
  6. If you have questions or concerns about mask usage, contact an EHS representative.

It is also important that you do not come to work if you display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Keep your heads up and your hearts strong! #vortexstrong

Bryan Herwig

DIRECTOR OF ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

bherwig@vortexglobal.com

Cell: 785.416.9102

Office: 785.825.7177

www.vortexglobal.com

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

7/20/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

We have recorded our second positive case amongst our team since the beginning of the pandemic. The case was at 1725 and the person has been in self-quarantine awaiting the results. We have conducted contact tracing and it appears the virus was transmitted outside of our facilities and working hours.

There are 268 confirmed cases in Saline County, with 120 active, 45 recovered, and 3 deaths. Vortex has 2 confirmed cases, with 1 active, 1 recovered, and 0 deaths. It is important that we remain diligent with social distancing and mask usage at work and in public to protect our team.

Our policy on social distancing and mask usage is critical to preventing a spread through our population. If you feel you have been in close contact with a suspected or positive case in or outside of work, please contact your supervisor and/or a EHS representative as soon as possible.

Masks usage is mandatory in Vortex Facilities:

  1. Wear a mask when leaving your isolated work area or if your work requires you to move throughout the facility.
  2. Wear a mask  if social distancing is difficult to attain within Vortex facilities.
  3. Avoid face-to-face meetings if possible. If not, wear a mask when speaking to others, even at a safe distance of 6 feet or more.
  4. If your job requires you to wear safety glasses AND frequent movement throughout the facility, Vortex will make a face shield available to you to prevent safety glasses fogging.
  5. If your job requires you to work less than 6 feet from others AND a mask or face shield creates a health and safety hazard, contact an EHS representative to help find safe alternatives.
  6. If you have questions or concerns about mask usage, contact an EHS representative.

It is also important that you do not come to work if you display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Please contact your manager prior to coming to work to gain advice on the next steps. There are mechanisms in place to prevent loss of PTO in such circumstances. If you are sick, you will need to contact a doctor about getting tested for COVID-19 and/or to identify the need to self-quarantine. Emergency Sick Leave or ESL is in place to help cover you financially in such an event. If you come to work sick, you will be sent home and likely asked about others you have been in close contact with prior to showing symptoms. PLEASE DO NOT COME TO WORK IF YOU FEEL UNWELL

Keep your heads up and your hearts strong! #vortexstrong

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

7/13/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

We’d like to thank everyone for being diligent in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. At this time, we have no new positive cases amongst our team; however, cases continue to rise rapidly in Saline County.

Our policy on mask usage is critical to preventing a spread through our population. If you feel you have been in close contact with a suspected or positive case in or outside of work, please contact your supervisor and/or a EHS representative as soon as possible.

Masks usage is mandatory in Vortex Facilities:

  1. Wear a mask when leaving your isolated work area or if your work requires you to move throughout the facility.
  2. Wear a mask  if social distancing is difficult to attain within Vortex facilities.
  3. Avoid face-to-face meetings if possible. If not, wear a mask when speaking to others, even at a safe distance of 6 feet or more.
  4. If your job requires you to wear safety glasses AND frequent movement throughout the facility, Vortex will make a face shield available to you to prevent safety glasses fogging.
  5. If your job requires you to work less than 6 feet from others AND a mask or face shield creates a health and safety hazard, contact an EHS representative to help find safe alternatives.
  6. If you have questions or concerns about mask usage, contact an EHS representative.

I have attached a basic guidance on how to wear a mask and how masks prevent transmission.

It is also important that you do not come to work if you display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Please contact your manager prior to coming to work to gain advice on the next steps. There are mechanisms in place to prevent loss of PTO in such circumstances. If you are sick, you will need to contact a doctor about getting tested for COVID-19 and/or to identify the need to self-quarantine. Emergency Sick Leave or ESL is in place to help cover you financially in such an event. If you come to work sick, you will be sent home and likely asked about others you have been in close contact with prior to showing symptoms.

Keep you heads up and your hearts strong! #vortexstrong

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

7/6/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

Over the weekend we were able to confirm the first case of COVID-19 amongst our team. Fortunately, our new policy on mask usage has prevented a spread from this case into our population at this point in time. Cleaning procedures were implemented throughout the individual’s work center after they were suspected of having symptoms. With cases spiking in Saline County, it is important to be steadfast in taking preventive measures.

It is also important that you do not come to work if you do not feel well. Please contact your manager prior to coming to work to gain advice on the next steps. There are mechanisms in place to prevent loss of PTO in such circumstances. If you are sick, you will need to contact a doctor about getting tested for COVID-19 and/or to identify the need to self-quarantine. Emergency Sick Leave or ESL is in place to help cover you financially in such an event. If you come to work sick, you will be sent home and likely asked about others you have been in close contact with prior to showing symptoms.

Masks usage is mandatory in Vortex Facilities:

  1. Wear a mask when leaving your isolated work area or if your work requires you to move throughout the facility.
  2. Wear a mask  if social distancing is difficult to attain within Vortex facilities.
  3. Avoid face-to-face meetings if possible. If not, wear a mask when speaking to others, even at a safe distance of 6 feet or more.
  4. If your job requires you to wear safety glasses AND frequent movement throughout the facility, Vortex will make a face shieldavailable to you to prevent safety glasses fogging.
  5. If your job requires you to work less than 6 feet from others AND a mask or face shield creates a health and safety hazard, contact an EHS representative to help find safe alternatives.
  6. If you have questions or concerns about mask usage, contact an EHS representative.

We highly encourage individuals to wear masks in public, regardless of social distancing, as some people (outside of your control) don’t know how to do that. We also advise against large group gatherings outside of work.

Other COVID-19 measures:

  1. Social Distancing of 6 feet apart.
  2. Wear a mask at work and in public if social distancing is not possible.
  3. Wash your hands well and thoroughly.
  4. Stay home if you do not feel well or have a fever.
  5. Stay home if a household member is unwell and/or you have been in close contact with someone that is or suspected of being positive.

A spread of COVID-19 among Vortex team members could result in a temporary shut-down of operations and loss of pay. Please do your part in prevention.

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

6/30/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

We’d like to thank everyone for adjusting and adhering to the preventive measures we have needed to implement to keep us operational. Wearing masks and face shields when social distancing cannot be attained is a necessary inconvenience at this stage in the battle. The higher temperatures can make it even more aggravating. Please stay hydrated and healthy in these conditions. If you are having some challenges with masks or face shields, our EHS team is here to help out.

With the summer upon us, some of us are considering traveling out of state for vacations. It is important to keep up-to-date on KDHE travel advisories as it applies to COVID-19. Currently, those who have traveled to the following locations need to quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Kansas. This applies to both Kansas residents and those visiting Kansas:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • Cruise ship or river cruise passengers
  • International travelers

This list can change abruptly, so be cognitive of conditions in other states and how it may impact your situation upon a return to Kansas.

Have a great week and 4th of July weekend. Stay safe and strong!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

6/26/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

We have been monitoring the significant spike in cases within Saline County and have determined to implement measures in our facilities to minimize operational disruption in the coming days and weeks. This decision is heavily based on consultations with local health officials. Our new guidelines will not necessarily be in-line with State and/or County guidelines, so it is important to carefully review Vortex’s new guidelines as it applies to preventing business disruption due to COVID-19:

Masks Usage is now mandatory in Vortex Facilities Effective June 29th, 2020:

  1. Wear a mask when leaving your isolated work area or if your work requires you to move throughout the facility.
  2. Wear a mask  if social distancing is difficult to attain within Vortex facilities.
  3. Avoid face-to-face meetings if possible. If not, wear a mask when speaking to others, even at a safe distance of 6 feet or more.
  4. If your job requires you to wear safety glasses AND frequent movement throughout the facility, Vortex will make a face shield available to you to prevent safety glass fogging.
  5. If your job requires you to work less than 6 feet from others AND a mask or face shield creates a health and safety hazard, contact an EHS representative to help find safe alternatives.
  6. If you have questions or concerns about mask usage, contact an EHS representative.

If you do not have a cloth mask, Vortex will have a supply of paper masks available as a stop gap.

Work From Home is back in effect starting June 29th, 2020:

  1. Managers will determine which team members will work from home on a temporary or rotational basis. It will likely be similar to previous practices.
  2. If your job does not allow you to work from home, you will be expected to report to work as scheduled.

Additional Measures:

  1. The gym will be closed starting June 26th until further notice.
  2. Non-essential visitors to Vortex Facilities are prohibited effective June 26th.
  3. Disinfecting/Cleaning procedures will remain.
  4. Social Distancing at a minimum of 6 feet apart is expected.
  5. Non-essential business travel is not permitted and all business travel must be approved by management.
  6. Stay home if you do not feel well or have a fever.
  7. Stay home if a household member is unwell and/or you have been in close contact with someone that is or suspected of being positive.

We have not had a confirmed case at Vortex; however, we are anticipating significantly higher infection rates in Saline County. If we do not take the appropriate measures soon, the company could be at risk of temporarily shutting down manufacturing operations. This must be avoided for our financial well-being and to protect the health of our team members.

Obviously this may be concerning to some. Statistically speaking, the mortality rate in the USA is 0.05%. This number is only based on those that have actually tested positive and does not take in account a significant amount of people that only exhibited mild symptoms or were asymptomatic and never tested. Obviously elderly people are more impacted, which is a heartbreaking circumstance.

What is a concern is the impact on our operation if one or many in our ranks do contract the virus. The protocol for having one test positive at work will be to ask those exposed to that individual also quarantine (14 days). This means one positive test could result in an estimated 6 to 10 other employees requiring quarantine. Many of the recent cases in Saline County have been “clusters”…so, if we had 6 test positive we could be looking at up to 60 fellow employees needing to quarantine. Missing one from our operation we can manage. Missing 60 is a different story.

With that in mind, we encourage our team to take preventive measures while in public or in gatherings. The next 4 weeks are going to be trying on everyone, with vacation travel, 4th of July, kids’ sports activities and other summer activities.

Thank you for your hard work, your diligence to stay healthy, and willingness of proactively doing YOUR part to aid in stopping any further spread of COVID-19.

No humor in this update. This stinks!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

6/23/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

We are now in our fifth day of Saline County’s “Phase Out” of the Covid-19  pandemic. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all is back to normal. The relaxing of the previous lockdowns has caused a spike in cases around the nation and here in our own community. This is why we encourage our team to continue to take the necessary precautions of:

  1. Social Distancing of 6 feet apart.
  2. Wear a mask at work and in public if social distancing is not possible.
  3. Wash your hands well – just like your mother told you.
  4. Stay home if you do not feel well or have a fever.
  5. Stay home if a household member is unwell and/or you have been in close contact with someone that is or suspected of being positive.
  6. Don’t listen to Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell album on full blast in the car with the windows rolled down. Rolled up is fine, but not as cool. This comes directly from the CDC and Dr. Fauci, if you were wondering.

So far we have not had a Vortexian test positive for the virus, but we’ve had a few folks that have required self-quarantine measures due to close contact with a known positive case. Let’s continue to have a goal of zero cases, even though that may not be a reality in the coming weeks and months. With that, no Joe Exotic unless we are at zero by July 31st! I have already inquired about hair extensions for authenticity purposes. The Rolling Hills Zoo nixed my request to pose with the tigers. Carol Baskin has not returned my phone calls.

So everyone is aware, we are allowing visitors to the facility by appointment only. Visitors must wear a mask at all times throughout their time in the facility and sign-off a declaration regarding COVID-19. If you are uncertain about the protocols surrounding this, as there are always unique situations, please reach out to your manager.

In other news, we are wrapping up Safety Month here at Vortex. Like COVID-19, our goal at Vortex is ZERO injuries. This requires everyone to have a safety conscious mindset every second at work, whether it is safety month or not. Please protect yourself and protect your colleagues at all times. For a bit of fun, you can vote for your favorite Vortexian-made safety poster on Facebook by liking your preferred at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2706077396383790&type=3. The winner will be announced on June 30th.

Keep your heads up and your hearts strong!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

6/8/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

Our COVID-19 Response team is now only meeting on Monday, so updates will come earlier in the week. With Phase 3 now in place, please do not become complacent or unnecessarily expose yourself and your colleagues to a potential spread of the disease.

  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Wear a mask if social distancing is not possible.
  • Continue to wipe down common touch surfaces.
  • Respect those that wear masks by wearing your own mask when speaking/approaching them.
  • Check your temperature before coming to work and stay home if you have a fever.
  • Do not come to work if you feel ill or have been in close contact with somebody that is suspected of or being tested for COVID-19.

These guidelines are particularly important, as more team members report to the offices.

Here are some of the guidelines to Saline County Phase 3:

Gatherings:

  • No more than 50 individuals in a mass gathering where 6-foot social distance cannot be maintained between the individuals

Individuals:

  • Masks are strongly encouraged in settings where 6-foot distance cannot be maintained
  • Adhere to personal hygiene guidelines and remain home if ill
  • High-risk individuals with underlying medical conditions may resume public interactions but should practice social distancing and minimize exposure to situations where precautionary measures may be difficul

Employers:

  • May begin reducing telework and start bringing employees back to work in office settings
  • Employees exhibiting illness should be required to stay home and encouraged to seek medical care as necessary
  • Avoid gatherings greater than 50 where social distancing protocols cannot be maintained and continue to maintain 6 feet of distance between workstations as employees return

Travel:

  • Non-essential travel may resume
  • KDHE travel-related quarantine mandates are still in effect for high-risk areas

High risk areas that currently require self-quarantine:

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Been on a cruise ship or river cruise (Smokey Hill River in a Kayak is ok, but miserable in this heat)
  • Traveled to another country
  • Tatooine
  • Cybertron
  • Asgard
  • Fhloston Paradise
  • Rivendell
  • Castle Grayskull
  • Narnia
  • Quahog

Keep your heads’ up and your hearts’ strong!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

6/4/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

Saline County will move into Phase 3 of its reopening plan at 12:01 a.m. Friday, three days earlier than outlined in the original statewide Ad Astra plan. The county plan would allow all activities and establishments to be open, with a mass gathering limitation of 50 people. According to the plan, Phase 3 is intended to last until June 19, depending on metrics.

With the re-opening of the county, we are all starting to see new faces in the office areas. Welcome back! You may need to reintroduce yourself. We still need to maintain a level of caution. Please keep up with hygienic practices and minimize close contact. It is common to have a surge in cases as restrictions are eased. Though we have not had a case at Vortex, we want to keep it that way.

It has been a rough three months for the company and our people. The level of uncertainty can be straining financially and mentally. 1725 bookings and invoices are down 15% year-to-date compared to 2019. We can contribute this to the pandemic, especially when you see our 12-week booking average is down 30% percent. 304 invoices are also down, putting us at 85% of our 2020 goal. If there is a “bright side” in our numbers, it would be 1725 quotes. Year-to-date we are 106% of our 2020 goal, and only 2% off of goal on our 12-week average. Hopefully these quotes covert sooner than later, allowing us to rebound in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2020.

Management is constantly monitoring the federal programs made available to businesses and employees during this time. These programs have helped take the “sting” out of decreasing revenues, but as with most things in politics, it is a moving target. We will do our best to leverage such assistance as long as it is available to support the company and our team.

This is the third “black swan” event in the company’s history. The first was 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis was second. Basically, nobody saw these events coming. In our prior experiences, Vortex has come out stronger. It may take some time to recover, but we end up more resilient. Let’s take some lessons from this event and find ways to be better than before, individually and as a team.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to have our traditional Vortex Pool Party this year, due to the closure of Kenwood Cove. We asked Kyle Langley if we could have it at his house, but have not heard back. Despite all of this, we’ll find a way to have some fun this summer.

Keep your heads up and your hearts strong!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

5/28/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

We have a few updates this week to share with you.

Re-Opening of Saline County/Kansas

We are currently in Phase Two of reopening, which limits gathering to 15 people, provided social distancing is maintained. Phase Three is tentatively scheduled for June 8th, but that depends on health statistics in the county and state. The key point of Phase Three is that businesses are longer restricted with having personnel telework. If Phase Three is implemented, it will be up to individual managers on how and who needs to physically report to work. At this time, our goal (barring any changes in guidelines) is to have everyone back at work by July 1st, 2020.

You can read the details on each phase here.  If you want to watch a Japanese Pug ride a skateboard in a sweater click here.

Gym Re-Opening

For all of you “Hans and Franz” buff bodybuilding types out there, we are planning to open the gym starting next Monday, but there are some rules of engagement:

  1. Employees Only Until Further Notice
  2. Limit Four People in the Gym
  3. Use Social Distancing Practices
  4. Masks Recommended/Not Required
  5. Wipe Down and Disinfect Touched Surfaces
  6. Sign In and Sign Out Required
  7. No Disco Dancing

Sorry if you are too young to know about Hans and Franz.

Other News

Vortex was chosen as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas’s Ad Astra Strong Star. We will be featured in BCBSK’s media next month, including the digital billboard at the Evergy Center in Topeka. Well done team! #vortexstrong

Please keep practicing safe measures to keep you, your family and the compay SUPER STRONG!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

5/21/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

I am sure you have been waiting in great anticipation for this week’s COVID-19 update! You can now relax, sit back, and enjoy. I’ll try not to disappoint.

If for some reason you haven’t noticed, things are getting a little closer to normal. Those of us in Kansas can actually have up to ten people over to the house and get legal haircuts by licensed professionals. Just in time for Labor Day weekend! Or is it Memorial Day? What month is it?

Of course, we still need to be diligent and limit exposure as much as possible. You don’t want to be that football player who celebrates too early and gets denied the TD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o_-GGDNIVg. Let’s get this thing across the line and get a win for the Team! With that, I have attached the State’s “Safe Memorial Day Guidance”

For those of you who’s arms are getting super flabby, we are looking at opening the gym up in early June as long as we have the wash down chemicals and equipment needed. We’ll let you know when we have a date.

Keep washing your paws and don’t drink the Lysol! Have a great long weekend!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

5/14/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

Not a lot to report this week, as there are no changes in our guidance as it applies to COVID-19. Attached is our overview on the guidance.

Some have wondered about the gym opening up, as gyms in the county are due to open on May 18th(barring any changes from the State of Kansas). To err on the side of caution and to make sure we have enough disinfectant on hand, the gym will remain closed for the time being. You may still use the showers in the facility. Sorry about that, but we need to still protect the company by making sure our team members are not a part of a viral spread.

Since we could not participate in our normal Project Salina food drive, we have launched a campaign to raise money for the cause. I am pleased to report that we’ve raised $680 so far. Vortex has matched up to $500, so that is $1180 in total. If you want to donate, please visit the Vortex Strong Facebook page or see HR on how you can help. #vortexstrong

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

5/7/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

I hope this update finds you well. As of now, all measures and policies we have implemented (see previous updates below) remain intact. We have ZERO positive or suspected COVID0-19 cases at Vortex. I can now see my hair on the back of my head, but am a long way from a Joe Exotic. Keep up the good work on keeping us safe and healthy.

We are still figuring out the self-temperature check stations, but need to get the necessary cleaning agents and procedures to make it safe. At this time, please self-check at home or stay home if you do not feel well.

Demand seems to remain steady for now, but not at the levels we set out to achieve in 2020. Obviously, there is not much we can do about that, but I am encouraged how we’ve managed to get through the past few weeks with a lot of resilience. Fortunately we have a diverse portfolio of products and customers that allows us to survive in extreme circumstances. It is important that we learn from this experience and make sure Vortex continues to remain focused on going from strength-to-strength as it applies to our portfolio and business practices.

The state has issued a plan to reopen (https://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Reopen-Kansas-Framework-043020.3.pdf). We are in Phase One now, but the guidance is set out to define milestones, not a timeline. In order to get “back to normal” progress will be measured by monitoring the State’s testing rates, COVID-19 hospitalizations, ability to contact trace, and availability of personal protective equipment. At this point in time, the work from home rotations will remain in place for those that can. All non-essential vendors are still prohibited from entering either facility.

Here’s what you can do to help reach reopening milestones:

  • Follow your county’s restrictions. Not all counties may choose to open at the same time.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Wear masks in public settings.
  • Maximize physical distance (6 feet or more) in public settings.
  • Avoid socializing with large groups.​
  • High-risk individuals should only leave the house for essential needs.
  • Minimize nonessential travel.
  • Check in (via phone/letter/text/email) with friends and family who are isolated.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • No Square Dancing, even if there is only eight of you.
  • No Dirty Dancing, but never leave Baby in the corner.

In other news, we have launched Shields for Salina https://www.vortexglobal.com/shields-for-salina/.Shields for Salina is an effort by Vortex to support the healthcare needs for local businesses and institutions, while providing needed funding to local charities. Vortex Face Shields are cleanable, reusable, and designed to meet various applications in this state of national emergency. For businesses or institutions interested in face shields, the cost is $21.50 per unit. All profits raised from the sale of a Vortex Face Shield goes to support local charities involved with feeding those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout Saline County. Eligible purchasers must be from a business or institution from Saline County. Lead time and availability is subject to change based on demand and Vortex’s supply chain access to raw materials. Thank you to everyone that has contributed to making this happen.

Thanks to all that participated in Viral Week. You can see the recap video here https://youtu.be/vY1KWywniw8. In the meantime, keep up the good work!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

4/30/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

Another week passes and we continue to operate without any suspected or positive cases here at Vortex. Like many of us, my hair continues to grow out of control, making me wish I had invested in a Flowbee during the 1990s. Thank you for keeping safe, healthy, and vigilant.

From a Company Policy point-of-view, the measures we have put in place still remain intact (see company updates below). We have received thermometers, which will allow us to set up self-check stations accompanied by cleaning protocols at those stations. It will not be a mandatory self-check, unless we get a suspected or positive case within the workforce. We’ll keep you advised of when and where those stations will be available.

We still ask that all of our team members do a health check prior to coming to work (Symptom Checklist: https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/224/What-to-do-if-you-think-youre-sick). Again, we want to do everything we can to protect you, your colleagues, and the company from a viral spread. We expect to keep current policies intact through May, even if the State of Kansas loosens lockdown orders. We encourage our team members to maintain social distancing practices outside of work.

We are still working on acquiring disinfecting wipes and an adequate amount of hand sanitizer. It has been difficult to procure, but we do have some on order. In the meantime, we have been using a mix of water and bleach to wipe down surfaces, which is a very effective way to disinfect areas according to the CDC.

As the COVID-19 pandemic peaks here in the United States, we have seen demand soften. With the Paycheck Protection Program loan in place from the Cares Act, we plan to keep our workforce employed by executing special projects throughout the company. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for businesses, with less than 500 employees, to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Our hope and expectation is that business, and the economy at large, will rebound from this low after May.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of our operations at both 1725 and 304. Our sales team engages with a lot of customers on a day-to-day basis, and they have the opportunity to see how Vortex makes a difference in our nation’s supply chain. Below are a few examples to share with the rest of our stylish, intelligent, and good-looking team:

  • Kimberly Clark reached out to Vortex to solve some efficiency concerns they have run into, due to the increased demand for their diaper and paper business. By working with their engineers, we were able to modify some of our standard designs to speed up and create more capacity for their process. This has resulted in a win-win outcome for both companies, and the customers Kimberly-Clark serves.
  • ADM has experienced similar capacity uses to keep up with increased demand. In one case, we replaced troublesome non-Vortex diverters in a blow line. In another instance we developed a custom rectangular Roller Gate to help direct flow to conveyors to increased flow rate.
  • Oregon Potato sent us an urgent order to keep up with increased demand. They were using non-Vortex cast flapper diverters above hoppers, which created extreme product carryover. They could not keep running that way to meet the required demand. Vortex helped solve the capacity issues with Fill Passes Diverters on a short lead time. 
  • Norwood Contracting reached out to Vortex Fab to produce block cubes for attaching sensors in the concrete boots of bucket elevators for grain. The President of the company sent this message to Jeremy Pierce and Darren Heitschmidt “I wanted to tell you both that the rub block cube turned out really good. It is very clean and well-built and I am very happy with it. I am going to send photos to a few to my hazard monitoring sensor vendors and several of our customers! As always, y’all knocked it out of the park!”

Thank you for all of your efforts in keeping us safe and delivering to our customers in these challenging times. FYI, you can still buy a Flowbee on Ebay. #vortexstrong

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

4/22/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

Thank you again for staying “Vortex Strong” and doing what needs to get done to keep us safe and healthy. We have no positive cases to report here at Vortex, but that can quickly change if we do not follow best practices to lower viral spread.

Our team has developed further procedures on isolating and cleaning areas where a person suspected of having COVID-19 at work may have been. This is a precautionary measure until a test result is in, so don’t be alarmed if you see an area taped or closed off for 24 hours prior to a cleaning procedure being implemented. Vortex is being proactive as possible to avoid a spread amongst our team.

As reminder, it is very important to complete a self- health check prior to coming to work:

  1. Take your temperature prior to coming to work. If you have a temperature above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, please call you manager, stay home, and seek the advice of your physician.
  2. Stay home if you do not feel well and contact your physician if you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. (Symptom Checklist: https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/224/What-to-do-if-you-think-youre-sick)
  3. Stay home if a family member in your household exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 and/or is informed by a physician to self-quarantine.
  4. Do not stay home if your house is on fire and/or infested with rabid animals. Do call the fire department and/or animal control.

Masks have been distributed to both facilities. Again, we do not mandate the use of masks, but highly recommend using them to prevent the spread at Vortex. A significant spread amongst fellow Vortexians will have a severe impact on the company’s ability to provide critical equipment and parts to our customers in a timely fashion. Thank you to those of you that have worked so diligently to make masks for the team. Below is our recommendation on when to use masks:

  1. Wear a mask when in any public interior space outside of work. This includes grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.
  2. Wear a mask if social distancing is difficult to attain at work or in public.
  3. Avoid face-to-face meetings if possible. If not, wear a mask when speaking to others, even at a safe distance of 6 feet or more.
  4. Wear a mask when leaving your isolated work area or if your work requires you to move throughout the facility.
  5. Do not wear a mask, while showering, bathing, and/or shaving.

If we get a case or suspected case, masks will be made mandatory per the CDC and KDHE guidance.

On a more positive note, I’d like to thank everyone at Vortex that has gone the extra mile to help with developing face shields for Salina Regional Health Center. I received numerous messages from Doctors and Nurses on how much they appreciate the effort. By adhering to best practices, we are helping them avoid a nightmare scenario at SRHC.

Also, attached is our virtual/viral flyer for our Essential Worker Events next week. Time to put on a cape, eat a burrito, cut a rug, and have a laugh!

In the meantime, my Joe Exotic bet is still on!

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

4/18/20 Official Statement: COVID-19

Dear Vortexians,

I am sure most of you are feeling bewildered by the events crossing our planet and impacting our lives. These are truly extraordinary times that many of us will never forget. We can expect more disruption in the coming weeks, which will likely be a painful exercise for our shareholders, our people, and the communities we serve.

With these extraordinary times, where our livelihoods are temporarily threatened, we must take extraordinary measures. Vortex is prepared for the ensuing disruption and the company is deploying all of its resources to protect you and your fellow Vortexians, not only from the spread of the virus, but your financial well-being too.

Fortunately, our shareholders have been very prudent in preserving a certain amount of liquidity within the company. This is normally earmarked for capital investments, like production equipment, expansions, and/or acquisitions that facilitates growth to benefit us all. This circumstance will allow us to weather this storm; however, could possibly deplete funds to take advantage of future opportunities. Not all companies are set up to survive this event, so we are blessed in many ways.

As of today, Vortex has implemented the following measures to help deal with this pandemic:

  1. We’ve quarantined a few who went to the CDC hot spots over spring break.
  2. Banned all non-essential travel.
  3. Installed hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility.
  4. Communicated the actions needed to reduce viral transmission.
  5. Currently disinfecting handles and doors several times per day.
  6. Installed foot plates on bathroom doors.
  7. Reduced meeting frequency, and meeting sizes.
  8. Prepared those who can work from home to be able to do so for the sake of minimizing density. This will be an inevitable situation, that will likely happen sooner than later.
  9. Implemented policies for PTO and VTO to address illness and quarantine.
  10. Offered flexible working hours to those faced with childcare burdens.

As things materialize, we will continue to adjust and adapt. Most importantly, we need to get through this together. You can be assured Vortex has your back as we fight through this unprecedented situation. The most important things you can do to make sure we prevail are:

  1. Do not go to work if you do not feel well, regardless of symptoms. People will get sick, and we need to minimize the spread.
  2. Do not go to work if you have been exposed to somebody that is symptomatic (dry cough, fever, trouble with deep breaths).
  3. Continue delivering to our customers, in any way we can.  This is essential to keeping the company strong, thus making us all strong.
  4. Embrace and practice social distancing.
  5. Use the hand sanitizer that has been made available.
  6. Take the advice of our management team whole-heartedly (they are looking out for you).
  7. Think about how your actions and decisions impacts the whole.
  8. If you are unsure or have questions, just ask.

Hopefully the government will give us more clarity on how it plans to address the financial impact we will all feel from this event. Until then, we must do our best in dealing with it as a family and not rely on outside assistance. As we have all seen, uncertainty can bring panic. There is no need for that in our collective situation.

Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I’ve always been a firm believer in that statement, which applies now more than ever.

Thank you for your dedication through this event. Like always, we can handle it.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

—-

Kind regards,

Travis Young

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

travis@vortexglobal.com

www.vortexglobal.com

Office: 785.825.7177

1725 Vortex Avenue • Salina, KS 67401

4/17/20 Update: COVID-19

As noted in the above announcement, they are recommending we adhere to the 15 days to slow the spread campaign.  As such, we will do our best to not hold any company meetings in groups larger than 10 people over the next 15 days (April 1st).  This may not be practical (morning huddles with larger work centers) in which case we ask you a) spread out the group as best as possible and b) keep the meetings short.

4/17/20 Update: COVID-19

Here is the new paid leave policy (called VTO for Vortex Time Off) that will be added to our Vortex Handbook.

Several things to note about this new policy:

  1. We are aware that the US government is in the process of issuing new legislation that may require us to adjust our new policy.  But, until they act (with clarity!) we will go with what we are issuing here.
  2. We will consider this policy effective immediately, but as of now we do not have the VTO category set up in Paycor.  Paycor corporate has to assist us in this set up and as such we are unfortunately at their mercy for time.  Until we have Paycor ready we ask that each manager/employee keep track of their time so we can adjust as needed.
  3. As you will read in the new policy we are trying to make it as flexible as possible.  This is due to the multiple scenarios that may apply.   Here are a few of those scenarios and how we will or won’t apply:

Quarantine – if an employee is required to adhere to a 14 day quarantine (as directed by KDHE, CDC or other directive).  This is covered in the example on the new policy (see attached).  And, here is the link to the most recent KDHE guidance for quarantine and isolation of travelers:  https://khap2.kdhe.state.ks.us/NewsRelease/PDFs/3-15-20%20Quarantine%20recommendations%20FINAL.pdf

Not feeling well

  1. If you don’t feel well then don’t come to work.  We would ask that you immediately contact your doctor to determine if a Covid-19 test is appropriate.
    1. If the test is not required by your doctor then you would not qualify for VTO and will be expected to return to work as soon as you feel better.  Essentially this is saying your doctor doesn’t think you have Covid-19 and you have something else (cold, regular flu, brown bottle flu, etc.)
    2. If the test is required then you do qualify for VTO.  You should get the test asap and then:
  1. If test is positive then you stay home per the guidelines of the CDC.   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
    In this scenario you will qualify for VTO.
  2. If the test is negative then you stop being eligible for VTO and are asked to return to work when you feel better.  In this scenario you are basically covered with some VTO between the time you are told to get the test until you get the negative test result.  We are going to respect your integrity in this situation and ask that you be in contact with your manager or HR.

Child is home because school is closed – this in itself is not a condition that would allow VTO to be applied.  Our objective in this (current) situation is to have you work with your manager to find a flexible schedule that allows you to get your Vortex work done.

Family member subject to quarantine or not feeling well –

  1. If a family member is being quarantined and you are obviously exposed to them then you too should be quarantined.
  2. If a family member is not feeling well and believes it may be Covid-19 then we would ask you to consider yourself in their shoes.  Have your family member follow the guidelines above for “Not feeling well”.  If they test positive then it seems reasonable you will need to be tested.  Please contact your physician for direction.

4/16/20 Update: COVID-19

Information and considerations:

  1. Vortex remains open for all employees with regular work schedules.  Consistent with our normal policies, we ask that all employees contact their managers if they need to miss work.
  2. One overall objective of the actions being taken are centered around the concept of social distancing.  This means keeping away from large gatherings and locations that have been exposed to large numbers of people.  As such, we are seeing school closings and several events being canceled.  As for work at Vortex, the current situation allows for us to continue work.  Most of us already work in settings that keep us 6 feet or more away from other employees.  If not, then work with your manager to create that space.
  3. HIPPA applies to Covid-19 and as such Vortex will respect the required privacy rules related to any illness including Covid-19
  4. With local schools closed, we are now actively in the process of trying to accommodate flexible work schedules for those impacted.  Again, the process here is to attempt to allow you to get your 40 hours of work in during a modified time schedule.  Department managers are empowered to define and work through what the appropriate schedules are for their areas of responsibility. (In the past we have allowed kids to come to work with their parent.  Given the current situation we will not allow your kids to come to the work area unless you have received specific approval from the Director of HR or a Vortex VP.)
  5. We are limiting visitors to Vortex.  There are some essential visitors/outsiders who keep our operations going.  Those essential visitors will be allowed to enter the facilities.  All other (non-essential) visitors will be encouraged to stay away.
  6. Travel – we are banning all non-essential travel until April 10th.  That date will be further evaluated as it approaches.  Essential travel (ie. deliveries, emergencies, etc.) will be allowed, but we ask you to get managers approval before such travel.
  7. Work from home folks – we have several employees with company laptops.  Those employees are a) asked to test your connection from home asap and b) asked to start taking their laptops home each night in the event we need you to stay home but still able to work.  We also have a smaller group of employees who may be able to work from home using their home computer.  IT will work with those home computer folks to allow access to the Vortex network.  Any work from home requires your managers approval.
  8. Paid time off.  In addition to PTO we have recently created VTO (Vortex Time Off).  Please refer to Jeff Thompson’s email generated on March 16, 2020 or the Vortex Handbook for more information.

For more information please visit: