January 2024 | Issue #24

CONSTANT Connections Opening Photo

Happy 2024! This year marks CONSTANT’s 20th anniversary, a monumental milestone for us. To that end, I want to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for being a part of this journey.

 

Together we have shown passion and dedication to our mission of making the world a safer place while fostering a vibrant community built on our core values of team, integrity, service, quality, and gratitude. Our hard work and sheer grit have been the engine propelling us forward and for that, I am truly grateful. Speaking of gratitude, I’m especially thankful that we are rolling out 2024 with a new broadened healthcare benefit for our team. This is huge for CONSTANT, and a further demonstration of the growth and overall trajectory of our organization.

 

Looking ahead, I am brimming with optimism at what we will achieve together. We have exciting projects on the horizon, an amazingly talented group of team members, and the caliber of creativity, innovation, and commitment to excellence that will continue to take us to the next level and beyond. From the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone a New Year with abundant happiness, good health, and continued success.

 

Pictured above: The littles and I up early to sit on the Rose Parade route!

 

With heartfelt gratitude,

 

Michelle Constant

Founder + CEO

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CONSTANT's December Birthdays

Let’s cheers to 2024 and our January babies:

  • Sarah Novak – January 1
  • Michelle Constant – January 2
  • Lona Bryan – January 3
  • Michelle Klein – January 17
  • Shelia Sescoe – January 24

Happy Birthday to Sarah, Michelle C., Lona, Michelle K., and Shelia!

Congratulations!

Join us as we celebrate these team member work anniversaries this month: 

 

  • Jayson Kratoville – 2 years (January 18)

We also want to give a “shout out” to our amazing intern, Ana-Sofia Arena, who is stepping back from her internship on January 3 (her 1-year anniversary with us) to focus on wrapping up her master’s degree program. We will miss you Ana-Sofia and are so proud of the many accomplishments you’ve had during your time at CONSTANT. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors – we know you’re going to do amazing things!

 

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our mission!

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Unlocking Success and Growth in 2024: Our BD Team's Resolution 

Business Development by Jeff Philippart, Business Development Director

January is the start of the new year and a time for making resolutions. Along those lines, the BD team is resolved to winning more federal, state and local work for Constant in 2024. On the federal side, we have our eye on multiple opportunities across our three target agencies of DOD, DHS, and HHS. Many of you will help craft solutions to some of the most demanding challenges faced by our federal government in potential areas like continuity, disaster response and recovery, and CWMD.

 

On the SLTT side, we are starting to see a greater variety of potential projects for 2024 after pandemic-related work took precedence over the last several years. This includes post-COVID-19 work related to emerging infectious diseases and medical countermeasures, a variety of disaster behavioral health planning and training initiatives, continued updates to EOPs and HMPs, AFN and equity-related work, strategic planning projects, and more. We look forward to our team having ongoing opportunities to leverage past successes, build on capabilities, and support CONSTANT’s mission of making the world a safer place.

 

Thank you for a successful 2023 and get ready for more success in 2024!

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Grateful for Our Impact in 2023

Operations by Jayson Kratoville

CONSTANT is committed to making the world a safer place. This is a broad and ambitious goal. As we look back at 2023, we wanted to highlight some of the ways the CONSTANT team carried our mission forward in 2023:

 

  • Helping SoCal begin preparing for upcoming major events like the Olympics and World Cup, including ongoing County-level planning and a federal-level transportation exercise
  • Bringing industry-leading project management, psychometrics, and automation to training development for the FEMA Qualification System, prompting the client to engage us directly for follow-on work
  • Supporting a County-level full-scale exercise including an active shooter and chemical release, connecting the local jurisdiction with a federal client’s plume modeling capabilities
  • Completing the Bay Area UASI Pandemic Preparedness project—codifying lessons learned from COVID-19 across the region and securing significant follow-on work from local jurisdictions
  • Building inclusive evacuation guidance for people with access and functional needs, which the State of California presented as a new industry standard at the International Association of Emergency Managers’ annual conference
  • Updating Emergency Operations Plans for multiple jurisdictions, including the first EOP approved through California’s new process that highlights inclusive planning
  • Completing a Hazard Mitigation Plan for Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas), in the face of a significant shift in approval requirements from FEMA.
  • Writing five COVID-19 AARs, plus significant progress on the State of California’s COVID-19 AAR
  • Supporting evacuation planning and exercises for municipalities and companies along the West Coast, including a highly technical TTX for a utility client
  • Starting a new project on earthquake early warning, stretching our capabilities to help better connect federal programs with the needs of local communities
  • Taking on new work in cyber incident response for a federal client and local healthcare coalition

Across all these projects, our team was able to connect with these communities more effectively by building trust and connecting our expertise with their needs. Everyone at CONSTANT should be proud of the work we did in 2023 as we look ahead with anticipation to 2024. Happy New Year!

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People and Culture by Maggie Peters, Director of People and Culture, and Lauren Day, People and Culture Business Partner

Ring in the New Year with your P&C Team!

Important January Dates:

 

  • January 1: New Year’s Day Holiday
  • January 1: Benefits Open Enrollment Window opens (more info below)
    • January 3, 9 am PT / 12 pm ET: Open Enrollment meeting
    • January 10, 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET: Open Enrollment meeting
  • January 15: Benefits Open Enrollment Window closes
  • January 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
  • January 29-30: CONSTANT Associates Winter Summit

Professional Development: Now available on demand – Client Relationship Management Training. This CONSTANT University course provides tools and strategies for establishing and maintaining trust and camaraderie with the communities we support. The relationship with the client is key to smooth projects, healthy working dynamics, better outcomes for the community, and expanded business/impact.

 

2024 Benefits Open Enrollment: It’s time to complete Open Enrollment for the 2024 Benefits year! This is your opportunity to review your current benefits, explore new options, and make changes for the upcoming year. This will be an active enrollment period, which means that all team members will need to log in to Ease and either enroll in or waive each benefit offered to them.

 

  • The open enrollment window opened on January 1 and will close on January 15. Benefits will go into effect on February 1.
  • You should have received an email last week that contained a link to the Open Enrollment site in Ease, our benefits administration system. You can also find additional information in Ease about each benefit such as the Summary Plan Descriptions and other important documents/forms.
  • If you’re looking for more information on the 2024 benefit options, we’ve scheduled two meetings during which we will discuss each benefit in detail. These meetings are identical, so you can attend either one. If you’re unable to attend either meeting, don’t fret – they will be recorded and posted on the P&C SharePoint page. Here are the meeting links:
  • NOTE – For anyone who is currently enrolled in either the Healthcare and/or Dependent Care FSA plan, if you would like to participate in the FSA plan(s) for 2024, you will need to re-enroll during this enrollment window for the new plan year. Your selected contributions from 2023 will not carry over into 2024.
  • Our benefits open enrollment is a very intuitive process, however, should you have any questions, please reach out to P&C.

Benefits Highlight – 401k: If you have either reached or surpassed your 1-year anniversary at CONSTANT, don’t forget that you can always enroll in our 401k plan, even outside of the benefit open enrollment window. This is a great way to save for your retirement, and we have lots of investment options on our plan to choose from based on your future planning needs and goals. Also, if you are already a plan participant, now is a good time to review your current contributions and ensure that you’re taking full advantage of CONSTANT’s amazing company match. For 2024, the IRS increased the contribution limit to $23,000; for participants who are 50 or older, the contribution limit is $30,500. To view your contributions and/or make any changes, visit the Capital Group American Funds Participant site.

EAP Highlight – “Staying Health as You Age” Webinar: Available this month on our free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Uprise Health, the “Staying Healthy as You Age” webinar will teach you how adopting healthy habits and behaviors now will contribute to a productive and meaningful life as you age. To log in, use Employer Code 70101.

W-2 Forms Going Out Soon: We will be mailing out the 2023 W-2 Forms no later than January 31, so now is the time to log in to isolved and ensure your current mailing address is up to date. For quick and easy access, electronic W-2 forms will also be available for view/download/print in isolved no later than January 31.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

EDI by Co-Leads Lona Bryan and Maggie Peters

Thank you to everyone who participated in our December meeting. Those slides are now available on the EDI Page on SharePoint.

 

Next Meeting: Starting in 2024, we will be switching to quarterly meetings. Those invites will be sent out shortly. 

 

Reach out to Lona and Maggie, EDI Co-Leads, if you ever have a need to assist a client with their EDI efforts or how to incorporate EDI into our engagement.

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New Year, New Ledgers: Balancing Success in 2024!

Finance By Loretta Pascuzzo, Sr. Accounting Manager

What did the Calendar say to January? “New Year, new me!”

 

I would like to start 2024 by thanking all of you at CONSTANT for your patience and understanding through the transitions that occurred within the Accounting Department in 2023.

 

January is a busy month for the Accounting Department. We have the year-end review of our financial statements for the SBA reporting requirements and it’s time to start tax season!

 

Changes to Finance: CAVU has transitioned to a fractional CFO role, and I will be handling all of the day-to-day accounting activities. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to me directly.

 

Just as a friendly reminder that time needs to be entered daily and AMEX expenses will be imported twice a month (15’th and EOM).

 

January is a time of resolutions and wishes for a new year. The Accounting Department has the following wishes for 2024:

  • A year of happiness and health for all the CONSTANT Team.
  • A profitable year with sustainable business growth.
  • A year of individual growth and learning.
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New Year and New IT News!

Information Technology By Morgan Forrest, IT Manager

As we start the new year, we want to start a renewed focus on cyber security. In the coming months we will be discussing the following:

 

  • Cyber Hygiene
    • What is cyber hygiene?
    • What can we do to better protect our data at home and while traveling?
    • Policies and procedures to ensure CONSTANT information and equipment is protected.
  • Cyber Security Policy
    • CONSTANT’s policy on the steps we take to provide maximum protection against cyber threats.
    • Provides clarity and information on what to do before and after a security threat is defined.
  • NORD VPN
    • NORD VPN Layer installation instructions and walkthrough.
    • When do we use NORD?
    • What does NORD do for CONSTANT?
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Single Sign On (SSO)
    • Enabling more MFA features in Microsoft 365.
    • Installation and use of Microsoft Authenticator as policy.
    • Implementation of Microsoft 365 SSO.

We will also discuss a new process for submitting helpdesk tickets so be on the lookout for that. For any IT issues, please submit a ticket to helpdesk@constantassociates.com.

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We’re switching things up this start of 2024! This month’s brain games is a request to fill out the Q &A with Michelle form for Summit below. Brea will choose a random participant after January 12th, and send you a gift card!

 

CONSTANT Summit Q&A with Michelle: Call for Questions Responses Due January 12, 2024 (office.com)

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Our mission is to make the world a safer place.

It’s that simple, and that’s why we are here. We have a strategic plan for the next three years, called CONSTANT Strategy, which outlines what our biggest priorities are:

 

  • Take care of our people
  • Forward our mission
  • Respond to our clients’ most pressing needs
  • Expand strategically across markets
  • Build infrastructure for the future

To help us execute on our mission, we have developed the CONSTANT Credo and our aligned core values (see the graphic below). We live by these.

CONSTANT Credo

We appreciate all of your hard work as we continue to grow. We hope you enjoyed reading this issue of CONSTANT Connections! We are open to any ideas, suggestions, or feedback on CONSTANT Connections. Please submit your ideas to Brea Dees.