A better idea

The importance of contingency planning

As an auto dealer in Victoria—a south Texas town of about 68,000 people—Mac Haik Ford sells over 200 cars a month.

While the dealership was mostly spared the wrath of Hurricane Harvey with minimal damage to new cars, it was still without power in the wake of the storm.

“Like everyone else, we were without power,” says sales manager Greg Gunn. “We didn’t know when the power was going to come back on.  Some people didn’t get power for up to three weeks. So we had to look high and low and far and wide to try to find power source.”

A rental generator from another source quit working, forcing the auto dealer to search again. By mid-week following the storm, Mac Haik Ford found a generator through Holt Power Systems in San Antonio. A local electrical contractor helped connect the generator to the auto dealership and restore power.

“Once we got it set up and going, we had enough fuel to keep it running consistently,” Gunn said. “There were no disruptions during the time we had it—it held up real well. The generator was able to operate our main building and two secondary buildings.

“We actually started selling some cars on Thursday,” Gunn said. “So it was really nice to be able to get up and going and have power even though businesses around here didn’t get their power turned back on for another four or five days. A lot of people needed vehicles to get back and get going. So we were very fortunate to be able to help them.”

The next time a major weather event strikes, Gunn says the auto dealer plans to be ready.

“We have protocol that details what to do before a disaster hits, and that involves protecting the store and doing certain things such as moving vehicles,” he says. “I know our corporate office is taking a hard look into a protocol for power, to ensure we’re prepared so that whenever there is loss of power, we can have power and be ready to roll. Having a contract in place beforehand with the company that can provide us with a rental generator if a storm is going to hit is essential.

“We need to get that plan and that relationship established with Holt Power Systems, because we forget how much we need the power.”  

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