Ward uses COVID-19 downtime to create $5-m gym for employees

Regional

Ward uses COVID-19 downtime to create $5-m gym for employees

BY MARK CUMMINGS
Editor-at-Large
cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 02, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James -While many businesses across western Jamaica were downsizing amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, prominent Montego Bay businessman, Howard Ward, was busy converting a section of his Ironshore offices to a gym for his over 30 employees.

The founder and managing director of the western Jamaica-based Ward's Power Tools and Supplies, admitted that although, up to recently, there was a fall-off in revenues, the wellness of his workers was of paramount importance.

This, he told the Jamaica Observer West, resulted in his roughly $5 million spend to create the gym, which was opened last week.

“We used the time during COVID, although it's slow, to think about our staff and invest in our staff, so we came up with this state-of-the-art gym,” Ward stressed.

“We really saw the need for wellness because it's important to keep the body at a certain level. The gym is just a part of the staff wellness programme.”

Ward said the employees who use the facility are doing so in accordance with the guidelines set out by Government to mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus.

Apart from the gym the prominent businessman, who chairs the board of the Providence Basic School and the Flanker Skills Training Institute, has also created a space for outdoor physical activities on the property, for his employees.

“We have also established an area where they can participate in a wide variety of games and other activities,” said Ward, stressing the importance good health.

Tracey Baugh, head of marketing and human resource at Wards Power Tools and Supplies, said the employees are appreciative of the efforts being made by Ward to cater to the well-being of workers.

“ The Ward's Power Tools and Supplies gym represents not only the company's commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle among its employees, but also the importance that its CEO, Mr Howard Ward, places on health and wellness,” said Baugh.

Ward, who is not ashamed to say that he is a risk-taker, is fast becoming one of the most successful businessmen in the western region of the island.

“I am a risk-taker; I get bored quite easily, so I tend not to focus on one thing for too long, but whatever I do, I do it with a lot of passion and then move on to something else,” said Ward, who spent most of his childhood days in the rural community of Bunker's Hill, Trelawny, with his grandparents.

Ward's Power Tools and Supplies Limited is one of the leading dealers in western Jamaica in heavy-duty generators, industrial tools, welding equipment, landscaping tools and supplies, plumbing, electrical, and hardware supplies.

The business also sells and rents cranes, forklifts, light towers, compressors, and generators from 5 KVA to 1 megawatt and provides outside lighting plants and generators for several events across Jamaica.

Ward said his company has provided power for a number of major events across the island, including Soul in the Sun, Reggae Sumfest, Rebel Salute, Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Rainforest Seafood Festival, GT Extravaganza, and Hague Agricultural and Livestock Show.

The company does not rely on the Jamaica Public Service for electricity as it generates its own.

“We don't get our supply of water from the National Water Commission, as well, as we do water harvesting,” the businessman shared.

As a result of its contribution to the business sector in Montego Bay, Ward's Power Tools and Supplies Limited received the award for being the best new business in 2004 from the influential Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Four years later, the company was also recognised by the chamber for being the best exhibitor at its annual exposition.

A dedicated philanthropist, Ward, is passionate about giving back to his community and is an avid sports fan.

In 2018 he was awarded the Order of Distinction for his work in business and the community.

The successful businessman also finds time to participate in the annual Reggae Marathon, numerous cycling events, and works out at the gym at least four times per week.


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