Mitch Patel, president and CEO of Vision Hospitality, said the COVID-19 pandemic is an “unimaginable challenge” but the company’s values would see it through. Photo contributed by Vision Hospitality to Edge magazine.

VISION HOSPITALITY GROUP has been named a “Best Place to Work” by Edge magazine, a business publication of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Vision is based. The company, led by Mitch Patel, president and CEO, received the award for its treatment of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Edge article specifically cites Vision’s long history of weathering storms, including 9/11 and the economic crisis of 2008. The company had to furlough 1,100 of its 1,500 employees companywide in March when the pandemic hit the U.S., but later sent each furloughed employee care packages during the Easter weekend containing non-perishable food items, paper products and items for Easter baskets.

Patel responded to the magazine’s tribute with an open letter.

“Today, we face an unimaginable challenge. The COVID-19 crisis has crippled the hospitality industry, with some analysts calling it worse than 9/11 and the 2008 recession combined,” he said. “However, in times such as these, the best places to work do not let a storm change who they are. Now, more than ever, our values and our mission are what will carry us through. Our goals are to bring back our team members who were furloughed, continue to open our hotels under development, and be stronger than ever before.”

Patel wrote that the company’s leadership is in constant communication with employees. Also, Vision is partnering with other companies to find job opportunities for furloughed employees and helped them file for unemployment and assistance with rent and utilities.

“We know the small things matter now more than ever, and we have not lost sight of the fact that so many of our employees are doing those small things that make a big impact,” he wrote. “Many things have changed, but one thing remains the same: the true-blue spirit and our values continue to bring us together. I personally would like to say thank you to all of our extended family for continuing to make Vision not only one of the best places to work, but a company that in the most difficult times has proven we care about people; the ones we serve, our neighbors and our communities.”