What is in this article?:
- Hurricane Sandy Restoration Efforts
- SIDEBAR: Disaster Planning Works for New York Electrical Firm
New York electrical contractors continue to get the city back online after Hurricane Sandy
SIDEBAR: Disaster Planning Works for New York Electrical Firm
MTA/NYCT, the largest U.S. public-transit service, suffered $5 billion in damage and lost revenue as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
N.J. Transit, the United States’ second largest transit system, sustained $400 million in damage. RailWorks, North America’s leading provider of track and transit and systems construction and maintenance services, weathered Hurricane Sandy with minimal disruption due to contingency plans in place along with the extraordinary response by its employees, and was able to help get New York’s transportation services running again. This is the timeline of the company’s proactive action and responses:
Three days before Sandy made landfall, RailWorks’ Information Technology (IT) Department, led by Chief Information Officer Bob Cummings, verified that contingency plans developed more than a year ago were in place. The department began the first of 10 consecutive daily morning and evening calls to monitor the storm, its impact on critical business functions, and related IT support activities. Field and project offices in Sewell, N.J.; Worcester, Mass.; and throughout the Greater New York area, secured equipment in their yards, repositioned equipment and materials out of low-lying areas, and confirmed access to generators.
On October 27, Salvatore DeMatteo, general superintendent for RailWorks subsidiary L.K. Comstock, monitored flood zones and began sending alerts to project managers and general foremen on the status of project operations over the next five days.
On October 28 — a Sunday — Payroll Manager Fabi Mayor, Finance Manager/Payroll Controller Tom Lealand, and Controller Judy DelGizzo decided to begin running payroll early using available data. Mayor contacted Assistant Payroll Manager Linda Horan and Payroll Associates Kathy Calvente, Michelle King, Louanne Wilson, and Susana Wong, who immediately started processing payroll from their homes.
On October 29, the corporate and Farmingdale offices were without power and Internet. Services were out or intermittent over the next few days. MTA/NYCT construction managers advised N.Y. Transit that all project sites were shut down. N.Y. Transit leadership initiated ongoing communications with field personnel to coordinate Farmingdale office and project startup activities. The IT department maintained contact with departments throughout the week to support essential activities and to help coordinate getting employees set up to work from home. Telecommunications Manager John Barry and Director of Infrastructure Services Bob Hickey monitored and addressed infrastructure, network, and power problems and worked with the IT team to resolve them throughout the week.
Payroll employees continued processing payroll from their homes. Power outages began hitting one payroll employee after another throughout the afternoon. They used landlines and cell phones to notify each other when the power went out or was restored. Using a tag-team approach, they kept work progressing wherever they could find power. This effort continued the next day. Payroll Operations Analyst Fred Omar charged his mobile phone in his car so he could respond to calls from the field about the automated time-collection system.
On October 30, winds, rains, and flooding pounded New Jersey and New York throughout the night and through three cycles of tides, crippling transportation networks, downing overhead power lines, and flooding eight NYCT subway tunnels, as well as the Hugh L. Carey and the Queens Midtown tunnels. The Metro-North Railroad lost power in sections, and the Long Island Rail Road sustained flooding. As the day progressed, Sandy weakened as it moved inland over Pennsylvania.
N.Y. Transit personnel resumed limited work at some project sites. With all mass transit still shut down in New York, Staff Accountant Kevin Evangelista caught a ride from his apartment in Queens into the Manhattan office so he could get his computer. He returned home where he used his Wi-Fi to transmit the file of electronic ACH payments to vendors. He continued this effort throughout the week.
Corporate Cash Manager Trisha O’Donohue maintained banking throughout the storm by working off available hot spots in Westchester County, N.Y.
On October 31, the payroll department met at the Farmingdale, N.Y., office. They traveled with John Barry to an emergency back-up office on Long Island, where the IT and payroll departments had power and Internet connections to perform their work.
Work resumed at all N.Y. Transit project sites, including CBTC Flushing and the No. 7 Line Extension, which were flooded and had the most damage. The CBTC Flushing project office in Long Island City ran with a back-up generator for the next two weeks.
On November 1, the IT and payroll departments resumed operations in the Farmingdale office, even though most employees’ homes were without power and some were taking on water.
On November 2, Accounts Payable Manager Melissa Quinones used Wi-Fi at her home to transmit the file for check runs.
During the week of November 5, N.Y. Transit began restoration services for NYCT at South Ferry, to clean up and restore the station, and at Coney Island Yard, to overhaul water-damaged switch and stop machines. Work continued into December.