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Looking Forward to a More Normal ‘New Normal’

Leader Board: Jeffrey C. Hampton

For some time now, the promise of an end to this “new normal” we’ve endured for nearly a year was beginning to sound a lot like the old “the check’s in the mail.” But as I write this, there is encouraging news about the progress being made with the global distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Dare we hope that the end of this pandemic that has brought so much economic misery to businesses and individuals is in sight?

Though the initial roll-out of the vaccines has been hampered by issues pertaining to manufacturing, supply chains, and other logistical challenges, we are starting to see progress as those involved adjust to take advantage of better methods for streamlining distribution. We all had hoped for faster results on that front, but it perhaps should not be surprising that an undertaking as enormously complicated as distributing temperature-sensitive vaccines on a global scale would encounter a few snafus along the way.

Despite all of that, we seem to be inching toward what we’ve all been hoping for during the past year— tangible movement toward a return to a more normal new normal, whatever that may turn out to be. As I’ve said before, “new normal” has been one the most overused phrases of the past 12 months. But then again, when in our lifetimes have we been forced to adjust to such dramatic changes to what had passed for the “old” normal?

As the world begins to reopen, what all this means for restructuring professionals is still difficult to say with certainty. The pundits I want to believe continue to predict a steady increase in workload for the professionals in our industry while the global economy begins its long road to recovery.

While many have been saying that for some time—which may give you pause in assessing their credibility—I think most can agree that many, many industries and companies are awakening to the grim realities they are in and face numerous significant hurdles as they attempt to transition to this next, more normal, version of our world. Secondary education, oil and gas exploration and production, restaurants, hospitality, travel, healthcare systems, retail, manufacturing, lending, and so many others seem poised for continued turmoil in 2021, no matter how successful social distancing, vaccines, and pandemic protocols are and continue to be.

All of this rolls up to now being among TMA’s finest hours, a time in which you cannot afford to allow your membership to lapse or your engagement with your fellow TMA members to wane. It will be TMA professionals, often working in concert, who will respond to help guide these businesses back to profitability. As the world starts down the road to a more normal new normal, make sure the power of TMA is part of your new start.

Though most of us continue to stay in touch with each other virtually for now, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to seeing you all—in person—soon.

Derek Meek

Derek F. Meek

Burr & Forman

Derek F. Meek is the 2020 TMA Global President. He is a partner at Burr & Forman in the firm's Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama offices with a focus on bankruptcy and commercial litigation matters. Derek regularly represents debtors, creditors, committees, asset purchasers and other clients in matters related to insolvency, financial distress, and bankruptcy, both in and out of court. Derek also regularly advises clients in and around the automotive manufacturing space, including OEMs, tier-suppliers, financiers, and transportation providers.

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