Hurricane Sandy Keeps Integrators, Consultants Busy
Now is not the time for sales pitches, it’s about getting businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy back on their feet.

Article


The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Breezy Point section of Queens, N.Y. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
November 02, 2012 By D. Craig MacCormack

The key to recovering from most life-altering events is being prepared for them in the first place. Such was most certainly the case for those in the crosshairs of Hurricane Sandy.

“You hope you’re not going to need it, but you have to be diligent about planning,” says Paul Cronin, senior VP at Atrion. The company saw about 10 percent of its customer base - mostly in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island - facing power outages and network connectivity problems in the wake of the so-called super storm.

“We have no option but to be ready. As much as we rely on our utilities, it’s still a pretty weak point for a lot of people and in a lot of places,” he says, calling the network “the fifth utility.”

Mid-Atlantic Control Systems, a consulting company that once worked as a systems integrator in residential and commercial spaces, has found itself exceptionally busy since Hurricane Sandy hit, with a handful of jobs carrying response times of 24 hours or less.

That means the Mid-Atlantic AV SWAT Team - an emergency response unit that includes a programmer, lead technician and rack fabricator - has been working overtime, says Glen Kaufman, director of systems integration. While the company prides itself on taking a process-driven approach to everything, that’s not always possible in the wake of a disaster.

“Deadlines don’t change for these projects, so when an integrator needs us, we need to be ready,” he says. Among the new work was a call from a customer in New Jersey who had a looming project deadline in Baltimore. “We have to be willing to step up as a partner.”


At Mid-Atlantic Control Systems, while their other teams are in the field, they always have an AV SWAT team at the ready for “On-Demand” service and support for integrators. They help integrators and project managers make tight deadlines, “rescue” jobs in distress, complete system programming, handle system commissioning and just get installations done.

Plan Ahead, Be Prepared
About 10 years ago, Atrion developed what they call a pandemic planning process, adding an incident management team in the last five years, says Cronin. Those teams cover various geographic areas as needed in widespread outages and include members of Atrion’s top-level management, he says.

Atrion, which recently became one of about 40 Managed Services Cisco Partners, talked to many of its East Coast clients in anticipation of Sandy’s arrival, talking to them about what to do in case of an outage and trying to help them anticipate where problems might arise and take precedence after the storm was over.

“We saw this was definitely going to be a devastating blow to some of our clients so we reached out to them up front,” Cronin says. Since the storm ended, Atrion has been helping clients with phone lines and finding power sources, among other tasks. Atrion has helped those with backup systems to switch to those to allow them in many cases to have uninterrupted service and help them reach out to utilities to alert them of damage.

“That allows our clients to communicate with their dealers and that’s an important piece of this too,” Cronin says.

Don’t Chase Ambulances
While certainly there are more customers who need help after a natural disaster, that doesn’t mean it’s the time for integrators or consultants to walk around with dollar signs in their eyes.

About the author

Craig MacCormack is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering local and national news and sports as well as architecture and engineering before moving into his current role. He joined Commercial Integrator in January 2011. Follow him on Twitter: @CraigMacCormack.
View all posts by D. Craig MacCormack
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources
Why These 3 Hiring Methods Fail and These 5 Succeed

In order to find, and keep, good talent in the integration field, integrators need to find the right combination of personality traits, work ethic, and measurable skills in a job candidate and avoid making common hiring mistakes.

5 Ways to Deliver a Deeper Dive Into Access Data
Gefen Adds 4K, HDR Support to Video over IP Product Family
Why Expand to Germany? AVI-SPL’s John Zettel Explains
This Golf Tournament Will Look a Bit Different than Most Thanks to GoVision
View more news
Why These 3 Hiring Methods Fail and These 5 Succeed

In order to find, and keep, good talent in the integration field, integrators need to find the right combination of personality traits, work ethic, and measurable skills in a job candidate and avoid making common hiring mistakes.

5 Ways to Deliver a Deeper Dive Into Access Data
The Top 3 Challenges AV Integrators Are Facing Today
7 Commercial Market Takeaways from CEDIA 2016
Here’s How Cisco Is Helping to Push AVB Forward
View more blog posts


Recent comments

good product

Posted by ledyuchip on 2016 09 18 · commented on
'How to Overcome USB Limitations in Conference Room Audio Systems'.

Excellent summary Mike.. in particular that the size and prominent placement of video walls and tiled displays…

Posted by LyleBunn on 2016 08 22 · commented on
'Q & A: Mvix Explains Why You Should Choose Video Walls Over Digital Signage'.

IMS Technology Services has the privilege of making the list for the 5th year in a row.  This year #4532. …

Posted by Michael Shinn on 2016 08 21 · commented on
'Herman Integration Services Named No. 110 on the Inc. 5000 2016 List'.

Congrats to the entire 40 Under 40 Class of 2016.

Posted by Christopher Neto on 2016 08 17 · commented on
'40 CI Influencers Under 40: Class of 2016'.