Bryan Hughes, Divisions’ Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager, called on Al Scunziano and Bill Robertson (his District Mangers in Richmond and Cincinnati, respectively) to tap their snow removal resources with heavy snow experience from Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana, and transport 65 tons of salt, 16 bobcats, 6 back hoes and 2 front end loaders before access to the area was cut off. “At one point, ours were the only vehicles on I-495” said Hughes. “Not only did we end up helping a few municipal plows that were stuck, we had to plow some of the PA turnpike just to get through. After we arrived it was a whole different set of issues – we knew we would need gas and food, and all of those resources were shutting down quickly.” Melvin Thomas, Divisions’ District Manager in the Washington D.C. area worked to coordinate placement of the incoming equipment and personnel while it was already on the way.
With district offices across the nation Divisions has resources from which to pull in events like these, but early on Jonas was having impact deeper into the country. Both the Cincinnati and Indianapolis offices were handling twelve inch snow events. The teams had to cautiously manage the resources and equipment at hand to balance with those that could be dispatched to Virginia.
Back at Divisions’ HQ in Newport Kentucky, the corporate team set up a communications process aimed at proactively reaching out to customers with status updates, and triaging inquiries to divert calls away from the Field team, allowing them to stay focused on moving snow. Meanwhile, Hughes and his team on the ground in Virginia held conference calls every three hours to assess the needs on site and react to the changing situation as the snow continued to fall.
The process proved effective, and the customers in the team’s care had clear lots two full days before other similar retail locations, and even before the airports were clear. One of Divisions’ customers, a single location of a regional supermarket chain, had to take delivery on seven surrounding stores’ merchandise, as theirs was the only dock open to receiving the shipments.
Winter Storm Jonas was logged as the fourth strongest Nor’easter since 1950. Based on the Regional Snowfall Index, Jonas ranked number 6 out of the top 200 Northeast snowstorms since 1900. “This is the biggest storm I’ve ever been a part of” said Hughes, “and I feel like we nailed it. Divisions as a company is big on having back up plans, and then having back-ups for your back-ups. This event really showed the value of partnering with a national service provider.”