The Wrath of Sandy: Tales From the Frontlines
CNBC and YPO (Young Presidents' Organization) have an exclusive editorial partnership consisting of global Chief Executive Networks. These Networks are made up of a sample of YPO's top executives from who run companies that collectively generate $6 trillion in annual revenues. We reached out to some of these executives to hear how they've been impacted by Hurricane Sandy and how they are adapting their business during the recovery.
CEO, First Med EMS
"I operate the 3rd or 4th largest private EMS agency in the U.S. and we had 15 units deployed to assist FEMA (in New Hanover, NJ). Our offices along the eastern seaboard fared very well from Washington, DC to Charleston SC - luckily. Our private equity backers based in New York City have been in the dark for the last two days. Our company was lucky this time round and have been able to provide great assistance to FEMA. I believe this to be an important role which we are happy to assist in – it is not a small feat to rally the resources required to deal with a nature disaster such as this."
"We're in San Francisco but have been affected by New York technology outages due to east coast phone routing. Our 800 numbers are out and we live by them as most of our orders come through our inbound call center. It's a small thing compared to what's going on where the storm hit, but still a potential major impact on our business. We emailed our 550,000 customers to let them know our 800 numbers were out and we have received thousands of emails back of support and understanding. Americans know how to cope and survive a crisis better than anyone. "
CEO, Pilot Freight Services
"We started seeing airlines and trucking lines moving their equipment out of harm's way days before the storm. And they are still not back in place yet. It will be a few more days before commerce is truly moving again on the east coast. Couple that with the fact that the storm affected such a massive area, and we are looking at an extended period of supply chain disruptions. As for our operation, we moved freight as close as possible to storm-affected areas and are now able to get freight to our customers as they are reopening. To do this we had a team of 25 people check in to the corporate office for the duration of the storm, sleeping on cots and eating cold pizza while they routed freight. This, coupled with a regional handling of shipping issues for unaffected areas, allowed us to get through.
EO, Sunny Delight Beverages Co.
"Hurricane Sandy has crippled our manufacturing operations in New Jersey. Fortunately, the storm's impact was much less significant in Massachusetts where we have another plant --- as that plant lost power for about 12 hours and is now fully operational again. And, most importantly, all of our employees at both plants are safe as we shut down operations in advance of the storms and sent our employees home to be with their families.
We use a significant amount of electricity to run our production lines and to refrigerate a large warehouse at the New Jersey site. And the local utilities have told us that we will be without power until at least late this weekend and possibly into next week as they have a large number of downed power lines to repair. So, we cannot restart production and we have no power to run our chilled warehouse. (Think of that as a very large refrigerator with about $1 million of perishable food in it.)
The plant in New Jersey is also the sole source of juice concentrate for our other North American plants. We produce concentrate there and ship it to the other sites where they blend it with water and sweeteners and bottle the product. With our plant expected to be down until early next week, we have had to activate an emergency back-up plan where we produce concentrate in our plant in California on back-up equipment we installed several years ago for just this set of circumstances."
Chief Energizing Officer, TicketCity
"In the ticketing world, we definitely saw sales slow down for sporting events in the east and central U.S. including NBA basketball games in New York, DC and Detroit. NFL and college football games slowed down as well. People were also holding off from buying concert tickets along the east coast."