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US business leaders in Ireland give thanks to the workers

Paying tribute to those who kept the country going during the most challenging of years

It has taken workers from a broad spectrum of industries to keep Ireland moving since the pandemic made its way to our shores at the start of 2020.

From healthcare professionals to those working in retail, people selflessly put the needs of others ahead of their own and went to work every day, with little clue if it was safe to do so or not.

We chatted to some US business leaders in Ireland who wanted to pay tribute to frontline workers, their own, and others and thank them for the efforts made.

Aramark chief executive and region president Frank Gleeson said, "This year, I'm proud to give a special message of thanks to our dedicated and resilient frontline employees across the country. Throughout the many challenges this pandemic has presented, our people have worked tirelessly on the front lines of healthcare, Government services, hospitality, property, business and industry, energy, retail and more.

“In direct Covid response, I’d like to give a special mention to our hospital service and healthcare teams across the country, our workers on the front line of nursing and care homes, our award-winning cleaning and facilities teams across the island, and our entire team in Croke Park who responded to the use of the grounds for Covid-testing. Aramark people also responded to offer food donations and volunteer their time to those who needed it most, and to minimise food wastage in our own supply chains.

“2020 brought company-wide innovation and adaptation to circumstances that nobody in our industry could have imagined. Through collaboration with our colleagues around the globe, our Irish team pulled together, bounced back and continue to shape the experiences and solutions for each of our clients’ ‘new normal’.

“On behalf of Aramark, thank you, again, to all our people, customers and clients. We look forward to supporting each of you for the year ahead.”

Vistatec: ‘We have been overwhelmed by the genuine acts of kindness that we’ve seen’

Patrick Kelly, director at Vistatec, says, "From the very beginning Covid-19 caught our attention. Vistatec has a global footprint that we are very proud of and we're very dependent upon having employees, contractors, suppliers and clients in every corner of the world. We knew the threat of a global pandemic posed a serious risk. So, back in January when the WHO started to talk about coronavirus, we set up a taskforce to help us assess the risk and put a strategy in place to minimise any risk posed to our staff and allow us to keep working.

“From March 13th, ahead of the Government lockdown, we asked our global staff to work from home. It was a mammoth task to make sure continuity of service was achieved for our clients and credit goes to our fantastic IT team who worked tirelessly to make that happen.

"We have been overwhelmed by the genuine acts of kindness that we've seen. Our team in Italy, during the most difficult of times, made videos to encourage their colleagues who were starting to experience what they had been through; to learn from their mistakes. Parents were sharing information to help with the challenges of juggling home-schooling and working from home.

“From a personal viewpoint, we have many friends who have been working on the front line for the last 10 months dealing first-hand with Covid and its impact; healthcare workers, guards and teachers to name a few. Their dedication and bravery has been nothing short of inspirational. Vistatec has made donations to several organisations to show our appreciation for those workers. As we are a global organisation, we wanted to say thanks internationally – The Italian Red Cross, Feed the Heroes Ireland, St James’s Hospital and Chefs of America (World Central Kitchen).

“Unfortunately, we have some way to go with Covid and we continue to rely on those heroes to guide us through these difficult times. Vistatec has and will continue to play its part to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our global team.”

PepsiCo Ireland: ‘Giving thanks couldn’t be more relevant in a year like 2020’

Giving thanks is good for us, says John Meany, vice-president, supply chain with PepsiCo Ireland. "Research shows that reflecting regularly on what you are thankful for will boost your emotional wellbeing and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take a moment to reflect on what you are thankful for, and celebrate the simple things including family, friends, health and happiness.

“Giving thanks couldn’t be more relevant in a year like 2020 where all in society have faced unprecedent challenges and have had to adapt to many changes. The pandemic has presented all of us with new challenges, both personal and professional. We here in PepsiCo are working to meet these challenges in order to continue delighting our consumers with every sip and every bite. We could not do this without the help of our associates, partners, suppliers and many others across the globe.”

PepsiCo has been working hard to help those affected by the pandemic. “While the scale of the global challenge is immense, in an effort to help those hit hardest by the pandemic, we at PepsiCo and our employees have raised approximately $45 million [€38 million], with the focus on providing meals and other vital resources to communities around the world,” says Meany.

“In the spirit of Thanksgiving, on behalf of PepsiCo, I share our best wishes, in particular to those who have been affected by Covid, personally or through loved ones.

“Finally, to our PepsiCo associates who have worked so hard this year, thank you for your dedication, resilience, professionalism and innovative problem solving,” he concludes. “From myself and the entire PepsiCo leadership team in Ireland, we wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.”

Barry McCall

Barry McCall is a contributor to The Irish Times