From left, Irma Olguin, Mayor Lee Brand and Jake Soberal
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
As Fresno prepares to reopen more businesses on Tuesday, one of Downtown Fresno’s highest-profile companies will keep its doors closed for the time being.
According to Bitwise Industries cofounder and CEO Irma Olguin Jr., her company will maintain the shelter-in-place directive, saying that since the order was given in mid-March, they’ve observed no policies implemented that make the Fresno or its community any safer. As such, they believe that this is the only policy that has worked so far.
It has cut into productivity, however. Events, for example, have been cancelled in the wake of the pandemic.
“Bitwise has done the really hard job of pivoting to working from home as a lot of people have,” Olguin said. “It’s working for us. It’s difficult — there are a lot things about our business that don’t work any longer — but we’re focusing on the things that do and we will do this as long as we have to.”
Bitwise currently employs 200 people — only a third of these working in the tech sector. This means that in order to keep the roughly two-thirds of their team working, they’ve had to find new duties and jobs for those previously working in places like the front desk or the café.’ These employees have been utilized largely for community outreach jobs, such as the distribution of food and other essentials.
Olguin added that their Ordrslip app has been made free to local restaurants and their employees have contributed to recovery with the OnwardCA.org and OnwardUS.org websites.