Todd Kolmodin: Gardien an Essential Business for U.S. DoD Work



Todd Kolmodin, VP of quality for Gardien Services USA, updates Nolan Johnson on Gardien’s operations. Specifics include Gardien’s certification as an essential business for U.S. Department of Defense work and an overview of the work and staffing policies in place at all of the company's facilities across the United States and the various work restrictions—all with the goal of “keeping the wheels turning” in the industry.

Kolmodin also notes that CISA supply chain manufacturers should access their latest requirements from the appropriate sources and reports that much of our industry supply chain is working close to business as usual and keeping the line of communications open.

I-Connect007 continues to deliver original reporting and coverage of the electronics design, electronics manufacturing, and contract manufacturing industries, including up-to-date information from the companies, associations, and supply chains globally. Find the latest news and information at www.iconnect007.com, and on our new topic bulletin board, “Industry Leaders Speak Out: Responses to COVID-19 outbreak.”

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Audio Transcript:

Nolan Johnson: Hi. I’m Nolan Johnson for I-Connect007, and this afternoon I am speaking with Todd Kolmodin, who is vice president of quality for North America for Gardien. Todd, welcome.

Todd Kolmodin: Glad to be here.

Johnson: So you’re currently located in the Oregon area, as luck would have it, so am I, and for all of us involved in this, there’s constant, ongoing change with federal, state, and local government orders and executive orders. How have all of these changes and adjustments affected your business model, your ability to do business right now, Todd?

Kolmodin: That question arises quite a bit with one of the central businesses and how we’re all handlingit. Gardien itself is part of the CISA government-mandated crucial manufacturing supply chains. So we are basically exempt to most of the city, state, local jurisdictional shelter shutdowns. So as long as we’re notified from our customer base that they are involved in the critical manufacturing supply chain, they notify us, and we continue to do business as usual, which is a big gray area that a lot of people are trying to deal with right now of what is an essential business or what is not. And as far as from a Gardien side, we’re still doing business with our Department of Defense manufacturing supply chain. So we’re still here for you.

Johnson: So you mentioned being authorized, and it sounds like you’ve had authorization in place before, rather than some manufacturers who might find themselves scrambling right now.

Kolmodin: Part of my job is to make sure I stay abreast of what’s going on with the Department of Defense because we are affiliated with the DLA, and we do a lot of help for a lot of the military contracts. So as soon as this started up, we started to look quickly at what restrictions and how they affected our industry real quickly, and as many other manufacturers did, we have made a statement to our valued customers of the things that we’re doing, how it’s affecting us, how we’re implementing social distancing, managing our employees. We put out a statement about that, which has about six or seven bullet items, including how we’re dealing with the essential business and service clause that we’re hearing in most of these stay in place or shutdown the central business orders.

Johnson: Todd, right now, what’s your greatest concern?

Kolmodin: Well, most of the greatest concern a lot of people are dealing with is all the retail level stuff of going out and trying to find stuff to maintain your households and such, but from the industry standpoint, right now our concern is just making sure that the manufacturers are flowing down their requirements or their CISA critical supply chain contract information to us or to other of their vendors to make sure that one of their vendors doesn’t shut down because that puts a strain on the supply chain for the defense for the U.S. government. That’s one of the things that I’ve been scrambling with a little bit today, once we got underway, is making sure with all these shutdowns in different states because we have different facilities in different states and also in Canada. So I’m juggling which state and which town or city is imposing what restrictions, and so we got to the bottom of it, and I spoke with Keith Powell at the DLA today and got the information from the Under Secretary of Defense of how the supply chain works, where we fall into that, and with our manufacturing base that we support to make sure that they inform us that they are indeed also involved in the supply chain so we can all keep the wheel turning during this challenging time that we’re in.

Johnson: From your perspective and the contact that you’ve already mentioned that you’ve had in our quick conversation here, what sort of a message would you share with the rest of us who are participating in this industry?

Kolmodin: I would say you have to keep your head up. Most of what we’re seeing out there is not changing a lot. A lot of communication is going on between the manufacturers and us. We’re not seeing any work stoppage. We haven’t seen any fringes in the supply chain. We’re still moving product, they’re still moving product, but I think the best thing is making sure that the communication channels stay open. Unfortunately, there’s probably going to be some manufacturers that are not going to find themselves able to continue to operate based on how these shut down regulations are going, but the main thing is to keep the communication channels open between the manufacturers and their supply chain and vendors. That’s the best thing I can say right now.

Johnson: Well, thank you for your time on this. That’s particularly helpful.

Kolmodin: I’m glad I could give you some input from our side of what’s going on, and we hope that everybody stays safe and healthy and practices all the things that they’re telling us to do to make sure that we don’t get sick, and if you do, stay home. But other than that, we’re going to continue to be here, so keep the wheels turning.

Johnson: Todd, thank you.

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