As new owners of the Crelicam mill, Bob Taylor and Vidal de Teresa confronted many issues that needed urgent attention. The buildings and equipment at the mill were in disrepair, a fact that became even more apparent during Yaoundé’s seasonally frequent rainfalls. Between faulty electricity, a lack of training, and poor sanitary conditions, it was nearly impossible for employees to properly process wood. As a result, there was considerable waste and compromised safety. Employees were not paid well. Most didn’t have lunch to eat, and there was no access to clean water.
Bob and Vidal laid out their vision for improving the working conditions to employees. They announced that everyone’s wages would be doubled. They developed an action plan for upgrading working conditions. They explained how the wood processing skills they were acquiring would make more from less. They shared plans to build a cantina to provide free lunch and drilled a well for fresh water — water that is also piped outside the walls of Crelicam, providing a source of free clean water to the community of Odza, where the factory is based.