Business operations return at Venture Creations
As part of Govenor Andrew Cuomo’s reopening plan, Rochester Institute of Technology’s Venture Creations business incubator has now resumed operations.
All Venture Creations staff, resident clients and resident graduate companies must provide administrators with a COVID-19 safe operation plan. These plans must be based on safety guidelines from New York state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Employees must clean and disinfect their work areas, and adjust their procedures and work habits to make their environment virus free. All common areas of the building, such as the lobby, mailroom, and copier room, must be cleaned and disinfected after every use, and personnel must sanitize their hands after contact. In addition, staff must wear masks in the building and personnel must be separated by at least six feet.
“Our resident companies and all employees have adapted their physical workspaces to maintain social distancing and keep work areas clean and sanitized,” said Peter Parts, Venture Creations interim director. “While we are all anxious to come together to continue to create the kind of excitement and synergy that Venture Creations is known for, the safety of everyone who enters and exits our building is our number one priority.”
Administrators have asked teams to declutter workplaces to facilitate cleaning. Whenever possible, Zoom conferencing will be substituted for face-to-face conversations. Common areas – such as stairs, elevators, mailroom, copier rooms and restrooms will be cleaned frequently.
Any visitors will be greeted at the entrance and escorted to a designated meeting area. Visitation must be kept to a minimum and is limited to those who have direct business that cannot be conducted virtually. All visitors must comply with New York state and CDC safety guidelines.
Co-founders of resident company ThermApparel, Kurtis Kracke ’15 (industrial design) and Bradley Dunn ’15 (industrial design), have said that they are proud to have helped flatten the curve by working from home. They feel fortunate to have been able to ship their UnderCool cooling vest to customers who need relief from heat stress.
It is thanks to the Venture Creations staff and Pete Serrano from RIT’s Facilities Management Services, that they feel safe enough to return to the office. The office floor is marked off every six feet and they have spread out to multiple offices to maintain social distancing. Masks, gloves, and sanitizers are available at ThermApparel’s main entrance for use in common areas.
“Making the transition back in the office has taken some adjustment to make sure everyone can follow the state recommended guidelines and create a space that feels comfortable and safe,” explained Kracke. “We are still keeping all meetings with vendors and customers virtual for their safety and ours. The more we all feel happy, healthy and safe, the more we can get back to our mission of helping people get the most out of life, especially in the heat.”