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CEO, despite crisis, refuses to run $37M company scared

Ted Bill is focused on his employee's health and safety — plus conserving cash.

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 12:10 p.m. April 8, 2020
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
File. Ted Bill is the CEO of Naples-based Pelican Wire.
File. Ted Bill is the CEO of Naples-based Pelican Wire.
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Company: Pelican Wire, Naples

Revenue: $37 million

Employees: 80

Executive: Ted Bill

Title: CEO

Work situation: Working out of the company’s Naples facility, which is still operating at regular capacity.

Biggest challenge with the current work setup: Sending the 35 or so office employees home over mid-March was initially complicated. “We had some fun surprises,” Bill says, “like who has a laptop and who doesn’t, and who has home internet and who doesn’t.”

Crisis management: One employee at the company’s Loveland, Colo., facility recently tested positive for COVID-19. “We did a super-deep clean there,” Bill says. And the Naples facility, although it hasn’t had any personnel testing positive, is also getting deep-cleaned often. 

How far out into the future are you looking? The company, with clients in the aviation, defense, medical device and automotive sectors, has, so far been on its normal long-term plan. There haven’t been any canceled orders, Bill says, though some clients in California have postponed orders. Demand is back in China, he adds.   

On the flip side, Bill is cautious: The company has applied for relief under the federal CARES Act and has canceled capital projects for the rest of the year. “Right now, our main focus has been cash preservation and preparing for any downturn,” Bill says. “We know at some point the other shoe will drop, … but you can’t run a business scared. You have to figure out a way.”

Last trip out of the house: Not including the office, his mom’s house. Bill and his wife have been getting groceries delivered to their house then delivering them to family across town. At the last visit to his mom’s house, Bill dropped off food and fixed a tire on her tricycle, so the 78-year-old can get out and about the neighborhood. “The most important part,” Bill says, “is we got to see each other — and we kept our social distance.”


Click the links below to hear how more regional executives are handling the shutdowns.


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