hurricane photo

CommunityWorks, Corporate Responsibility, SustainabilityWorks

CSC Teams Support Each Other and Communities After Harvey and Irma

September 15th, 2017

The company’s priority is always making sure team members in the affected areas are accounted for and safe, and these unprecedented events are no different: We have accounted for all our team members and are assuring that they remain supported in their personal recovery. We are incredibly proud of our team members in the impacted region and those who have rushed to provide assistance. 

After ensuring our team is cared for, we turn our focus to our customers and our business recovery: we are restoring full capacity across all our Laundry & Air business units throughout the region as quickly as possible and where conditions permit.

Because of CSC ServiceWorks’ large presence in the region, many of our clients and team members have been affected. As we continue to move forward, we want to share a few pieces of information about our collective response throughout the Gulf Coast region and some specific details from Houston.

Our Route Laundry & Air operations across the impacted communities have largely been restored with some limitations. Our Appliance Warehouse operations have been restored outside of Florida, while we may remain in recovery over the next few days in Tampa, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, and Miami primarily due to power and other storm-related issues.

Planning and using our collective experience 

As storms of this magnitude form, one thing becomes clear immediately: recovery efforts don’t wait for a storm to pass. In the case of Harvey and Irma, planning began well before the storms made landfall, with management and local leadership conducting calls well in advance. 

Brian Cates, branch manager in Houston who has been leading CSC’s recovery efforts in the region, says, “There was so much news about how bad it was going to be, and the team came online quickly.” 

Lessons CSC learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita were invaluable in knowing how to prepare and what to expect, and the New Orleans staff was always sharing their experience. Having that institutional knowledge helped get CSC back up and running quickly, while also setting realistic expectations.


Supporting ourselves & others 

In the many impacted communities that were under a state of emergency, CSC supported team members both locally and at the company level, providing temporary housing, buying food and cleaning supplies, and working with affected team members on needed time off. 

Others have and are still taking care of family, friends, and neighbors. Brian says he’s “proud of the people who went out and helped others.

I talked to a tech who went out on a kayak and helped evacuate people from his old neighborhood. He found a young mother with no place to stay and hosted her and her kids for a week. So many of our people have helped others.” 

And throughout CSC our teams stepped up in too many ways to mention. CSC Dallas collected a truckload of items for a nearby shelter that was providing relief to 300 displaced families; across the organization, team members have made financial and in-kind donations to nonprofit agencies that are involved in the relief effort. CSC and our vendor network remained in contact with authorities and industry associations to determine how we could best leverage our collective resources.

Getting back to business 

Once the immediate threat passes and our local team members are looked out for, CSC teams are quick to respond. In Houston, by Wednesday, August 31, conditions and personal situations enabled 30 to 40 percent of our local team to report in. By Thursday, that increased to 70 percent, and 90 percent Friday. 

Others around CSC have stepped up to help each other. Teams in the nearby regions, including Dallas and New Orleans, were quick to respond with supplies, donations, and crews. This week, a team from Chicago is pitching in. In the coming weeks, teams from Memphis, New York, Columbus, Boston, and Hartford are expected. Colin Chui, who was with the New York branch during Hurricane Sandy, is also bringing his recovery experience from the East Coast to our teams in the Gulf area. 

Our local teams have continuously noted their appreciation for the outpouring of support that has occurred throughout the recent weeks. 

Client recovery and looking forward 

Getting business back to normal in the Gulf Coast area will be a long-term effort. Many of our clients have extensive repairs to make to laundry facilities. In anticipation of the large number of temporary removals and eventual short-and long-term replacements, local and corporate teams began to line up additional machines, vehicles, fuel, and storage spaces in the first days after the storm.

Brian Cates commented on the Houston situation, “It’s a very stressful time for the area multifamily business. Flooded properties have that damage to deal with. Those that were not flooded are being inundated by people who have lost their homes. That’s impacted us as far as service and collections. It’s affected everybody in the city in our business.” 

And on looking forward with what we learned, he said, “Just get ready early. When you know the storm is coming, start making plans. People have to focus on their family and making sure their home is safe first, and when you can get back to work, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you reach out to another.”

CEO Mark Hjelle commented, “What I have seen over the past few weeks is nothing short of amazing and speaks to our ability to step up against any obstacle that we face. I want to thank our entire organization and especially our local management teams who lead in a way that we should all be proud of.”

In closing, CSC and our teams will continue to support our communities, and in recognition of the incredible contributions of our CSC team members, the company will additionally be making a $10,000 contribution to the American Red Cross, which is directly supporting the communities impacted by the recent storms.