CoolSys Heroes in Florida Take on Hurricane Ian
When Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28 with 150-mile-per-hour winds near Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, Florida, most of us witnessed the storm’s fury through photos, videos and reports on the news or social media. But for a handful of CoolSys employees in locations on or near the central and southern Gulf Coast of Florida, it was a firsthand experience.
In true CoolSys fashion, many of those local team members sprang into action to help each other and our customers prepare as the storm approached the Florida coast then returned to assist in cleanup efforts. That included our 27-member team in Ft. Myers, many of whom were forced to quickly evacuate the low-lying region when the hurricane’s path shifted south from its original forecast landing near Tampa. But as soon as the storm moved northeast out of the area, says Bob Thomas, senior vice president of CoolSys Commercial and Industrial, the team reassembled and got to work helping their customers, including Sam’s Club and Publix grocery stores.
“The team secured rack houses and doors that had blown off during the storm, helped with flooding cleanup and worked to get their customers’ systems back up and running,” Bob says. “The first stores to get their doors open would be the first to be able to help the public and start collecting revenue again, so they were in a hurry, and our team was there to make that happen as quickly as possible.” To expedite the recovery, CoolSys employees from Miami, Tampa and Orlando joined the Ft. Myers team.
Bringing Relief to Vulnerable Retirees
Two hours north of Ft. Myers, CoolSys team members in the region around Tampa breathed a sigh of relief that they were going to miss the brunt of the storm — but they knew from experience they weren’t completely out of harm’s way. In nearby Bradenton, winds reached 98 miles per hour and the area received 18 inches of rain, says Jamey Wyzgowski, account manager, CoolSys Energy Solutions.
As the storm approached, six men from Jamey’s team volunteered to help Freedom Village in Bradenton, a 34-acre retirement community and a longtime customer of CoolSys. “The community was really short-staffed at the time, and a lot of the residents were panicking,” Jamey says, noting that the facility is only three miles from the coast and four feet above sea level. He and his colleagues helped move residents and their belongings from outlying buildings to the main building, boarded up windows and placed sandbags. After the storm, the team returned to assist in cleanup efforts.
Aid in the Aftermath
In Pinellas Park, another city in the Tampa region, Steve Boose, vice president of the Southeast Region of CoolSys Light Commercial Solutions, kept an eye on his customers to the south. As soon as Ian passed, four members of his team made their way to Ft. Myers to aid in the recovery efforts of their customers, mostly retail and big-box stores. Among their efforts, they placed plywood on missing panels on about 100 rooftop units and assisted in fixing leaks. Their experience, Steve says, left quite an impression on the team. “One of the techs said being there was like walking on the moon,” he says.
We’re proud of all of our CoolSys team members throughout the Southeast Region who have worked many volunteer and overtime hours to help our customers recover from this historic storm. Your commitment to serving our customers — even in the most difficult conditions — is inspiring, and it sets CoolSys apart from other companies in our industry. Thank you!