One of the most important things in our business – or any business, for that matter – is responsiveness. When a customer calls and needs something fast, you have to be ready to meet that need, or you may lose that customer.
When Hurricane Irma hit Florida recently, Pike called us with an urgent need, and we were able to meet it. If you’re not familiar with Pike, they are one of the country’s largest providers of storm response power line construction services. Their linemen are usually the first to arrive and the last to leave in areas where damaged power systems require repair. So, when the power was knocked out for most of Florida, Pike was sent in to help restore it.
They could see that restoring power in the Florida Keys was going to be especially difficult because of the massive devastation on those islands. They called and asked if JKS could create a Mobile Command Center, a place that could serve as both headquarters and living quarters for their Response Task Force. We said we could, and two days later it was ready to roll. It left for Florida while the hurricane was still churning up through the state.
We were able to get Pike what they needed so quickly because we have multiple pieces of equipment that can be used in that type of setting, including trailers that we originally built for ServiceMaster Clean to use in disaster settings. We worked with Pike’s engineers to outfit one of these 53’ trailers with everything their Mobile Command Center would need:
- A satellite hook-up so the command center can stay in communication with crews out in the field, no matter what the circumstances
- A generator so it doesn’t have to have a power source connected to it
- Mobile offices, with computers, printers, workstations and even a coffee maker
- A conference room that seats 10 for strategizing, looking at maps, and discussing how to attack that day’s problems
- A kitchen where the men can eat meals when they get a chance
- A bathroom
- An area that sleeps 15 people, bunk bed style, because when the crews go into disaster areas to restore power, they don’t want to take up hotel rooms the local residents need
Of course, a piece of equipment like this isn’t just for disasters. Many of our clients use these trailers at sporting events as hospitality suites, using the 20′ x 50′ awning that comes off the side to create a shaded area for feeding large groups of people. Sprint also used one at the NASCAR races as a mobile command center when they were the sponsor of the Sprint Cup series. Which points out another important thing you have to have in business – adaptability. You always have to be ready to rethink or repurpose what you do or a piece of equipment you have on hand when a client comes along that has a different kind of need.
As I write this, the Pike Mobile Command Center is still in Florida, working on restoring power to everyone in the state. To see some great photos of their crews in action, visit their website. They’re doing the hard work of putting up new poles and replacing power lines to get the lights back on, and here at JKS, we’re just proud we were able to play a small part in helping them do it.