LIB: Paula Leslie

Owner Mankel Mechanical

COVID-19 has changed the way businesses operate. Paula was fortunate to have a business that was considered essential and remained open with changes. Masks, gloves, booties, sanitizer and temperature checks all became part of the norm service call. Business orders slowed down a bit but as more people worked from home, more calls came in for remodels.

Even with precautions in place, they were not immune; in June one of their employees tested positive. Paula and her partner, Eddie Mankel, made the decision to close the business to quarantine. Then, almost six weeks later, Eddie started feeling ill. He was quickly admitted to the ICU. Fortunately, since he had been working from home, no employees had come into recent contact with him.

Paula was preparing to leave on a much-needed vacation and was unsure whether to go or cancel. Her sons, Vaughn and Shea, agreed there was nothing that couldn’t be done by phone or email. They wanted to take more responsibility with the daily business activities and now they had no choice. They divided the operations with one entirely responsible for new construction work and the other responsible for the service work. The recently hired office assistant held the office together for the two weeks Paula was away and Eddie was recovering.

Sometimes we set out to be leaders but fail; sometimes that leadership role is thrown at us, but we don’t want to play batter. According to Paula, “My boys stepped up to the plate willingly, and knocked one out of the park.”