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Cranston, R.I.-based Taco Inc. has been assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy since October when the company was just missed by the worst of the superstorm.
“It looked at first like we were the bulls eye, but as fate would have it, we missed the worst of the assault,” said Johnny White, Taco’s president and CEO.
“The next day, it was clear to us that we had a mandate,” added White. “We were spared by the storm’s worst, but there are huge areas, especially to our south and west that took the hurricane’s full hit, and they’ve still not recovered. Shortly after the storm, we met as groups within the company, and with our reps and wholesalers. It was immediately apparent that - because Sandy hit hard in hydronics country - we’d have to work hard to keep up with replacement orders.”
Among those eager to join forces with Taco to help with recovery and supply efforts was Greg Talbot, VP of sales for Wales-Darby Inc., an Islandia, NY-based manufacturer’s rep firm.
Taco’s Steven Pearson, VP, OEM sales, and Ken Anderson, VP of sales, Northeast region, joined a group of industry representatives and contractors at Wales-Darby’s location in Islandia for a meeting hosted by Kevin Rooney, CEO, Oilheat Institute of Long Island. Attendees included representatives from several oil heating companies and Hunter Botto, New York state PHCC president.
“It was a big meeting with a real sense of urgency and a lot of unanswered questions,” said Pearson. “The key items were: ‘How many homes are affected?’, ‘How many boilers need to be replaced?’ and ‘What’s the time-frame?’”
“We learned, among other things, that recovery efforts are now just the tip of the iceberg, and that more than 40,000 homes will require new heating systems - most of them hydronic. The meeting was helpful, but there were still big questions about how best to pitch in with the recovery,” said Talbot. “Obstacles are inevitable; our key task is to lessen their effect. Among the complications: there simply aren’t enough contractors, and homes need to be certified before they can be re-inhabited.”
“Our focus at Taco is to eliminate any bottlenecks in the pipeline,” said Anderson. “The focus is filling orders as quickly as we possibly can and to coordinate assistance wherever possible. The replacement work in Sandy’s wake has become a giant need, especially considering that winter is right around the corner.”
At Taco, the manufacturer’s employees are working overtime, and with overlapping shifts to meet the need for replacement products. Also, vendors were asked to expedite material and component shipments to meet the need.
The FloPro Team NeighborhoodWe set up a task force that meets daily to streamline the delivery of products into areas affected by the storm,” explained Todd Facey, Taco Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing. “We’re also working with many of our OEM partners to help them ramp up boiler production and shipments.”
Taco has also set a group on their FloPro Team Neighborhood to connect contractors affected by Sandy with other contractors around the country that are willing to provide assistance. Check it out at www.flopro.taco-hvac.com.
“The FloPro Neighborhood is all about one hydronic professional helping another hydronic “neighbor” - with education, practical answers or, in the case of the Sandy aftermath, with equipment, or offering to lend a hand,” concluded Facey.
If you are one of the contractors still affected by disruption from the storm, are having challenges meeting customer’s hydronic needs, or if you’re able to help others with needs like these, please visit the Taco FloPro Neighborhood.