It's still far too early to determine what the final recovery costs will be for those impacted by Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey, which made landfall on southeast Texas on Aug. 25 and ravaged the region throughout the next week, dumping a year's worth of rain within a 3-day span. Early analysis predicts that Harvey will end up as the second-most expensive disaster in U.S. history — with Texas' governor saying that cost could be $180 billion, an amount that would eclipse Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Sandy (2011).
Obviously, that is besides the cost of lives, as Harvey's death toll had risen to more than 70 by Wednesday afternoon.
Houston and the greater southeast Texas region are a hotbed for U.S. industrial manufacturing, including a plethora of industrial distributors that have a major presence in the oil and gas markets. Five distributors on Industrial Distribution's 2017 Big 50 List are headquartered in Texas — MRC Global, NOW Inc., DXP Enterprises, SBP Holdings and Hisco — while many others have distribution centers, sales branches or other facilities in the area.
On Aug. 31, I was in Birmingham, AL visiting Motion Industries — No. 6 on our Big 50 List. The company has a distribution center and a number of other locations in the Houston area (see map below). I had a sit-down interview with Motion's president, Tim Breen, who discussed Harvey's impact on the company and its people.
"It’s a devastating situation," Breen told me. "Our heart pours out to not only our employees, but all of our competitors’ employees, our suppliers, our customers and just people in general. It’s still unfolding. Fortunately, all of our employees are accounted for. That’s first and foremost on our mind. Forget about the business.
"We have a complete disaster recovery team that spans all areas of the company. Whenever anything like this happens, the team kicks in gear. We have daily meetings with all our managers in the field and here, asking ‘what do you need?’ We’ve got trucks of water going all over, food, P-cards for our employees. We need to make sure that first — they’re safe, second – they’re taken care of. We’ll eventually get back to business. In the meantime, recovery efforts continue for the affected areas, and we want to encourage everyone to donate to a relief fund of their choice."
Breen said the company has anywhere from a dozen to two dozen employees who suffered some kind of water issue — some severe, up to six feet of flooding. For those folks, the full damage extent may not be known for a while.
"We’ve got a very generous family here at Motion," Breen said. "We have funds to help our folks out, both at GPC (Genuine Parts Company, Motion's owner) and here. Our employees are taken care of. They don’t have to worry about if they’re going to get a paycheck through this mess. We’re here to support them."
As far as the business-side, Breen said that Motion has had in upwards of 10 to 12 branches closed for at least one-to-three days, though some were coming back online by Aug. 31.
"It's hurt us from the customer side as well," Breen said. "A lot of customers are down, and that obviously means business will down. But it’ll come back. It will. I think this one caught a lot of people off-guard. It got stalled and didn’t move."
"Our focus is our people and certainly our customers and suppliers," he added.
Houston-based DXP Enterprises — No. 19 on the Big 50 — shared a company update Aug. 31 via a press release about how it has been affected. Here's what it had to say:
"DXP’s thoughts and prayers are with those that have been and continue to be affected by Hurricane Harvey and the devastating flooding in Houston and surrounding communities. We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern directed towards DXP and our employees. We have received countless calls, emails and texts from our fellow employees, business associates, customers and vendors. It has been truly touching to see the outpouring of support to ensure of the safety and care of our DXPeople. A majority of all of our employees have been accounted for and are safe. A number of employees have suffered significant material losses but nothing that cannot ultimately be replaced. Our corporate office is working with everyone to ensure that anything that can be done to help our employees and customers is being provided and getting done in a timely matter.
Our facilities have been extremely fortunate as we did not have any material flooding or damage. We are open for business! While there will be some minor logistical delays navigating inside and outside of Houston and the Gulf Coast region, our supply chain remains intact. For our customers, we will be notifying them if there will be any impact to their specific projects. We are currently projecting no significant delays. Our capacity has not been compromised and DXP will proceed with business as usual.
Thank you again for all your support. The Gulf Coast is resilient, DXPeople are resilient and we will come through this together. It will take all businesses, government agencies and volunteers working together to rebuild our Gulf Coast communities. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call your DXP contact."
Houston-based NOW Inc. — which does business at DistributionNOW and is No. 13 on the Big 50 — posted the following on Facebook:
SBP Holdings — No. 31 on the Big 50 and comprised of hose and accessories distributors Singer Equities and Bishop Lifting Products — shared the following statement on Tuesday:
We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to everyone that has been affected by this tragic event. SBP Holdings, parent company of Bishop Lifting Products, Delta Rigging & Tools, National Hose & Accessory, and Morgan City Rentals has several locations within the affected area — the following is an update for our group:
National Hose & Accessory — Prior to the storm making land a NHA text group was created to track all employees and their status. Several employees have been displaced and many have realized damage to their homes and vehicles. That said, by utilizing the text group, we were able to confirm that all team members were safe. NHA reopened for business on Wednesday, Aug. 30. In addition to reopening to customers in need, NHA is now working with local officials to utilize our location as a donation drop-off for supplies. We are currently in need of diapers, toys and non-perishable food.
“I can't express the pride I have in our team at National Hose! We were fortunate to only have minor damage to our Pasadena location. We are up and operational with employees that have already secured their family, friends, and homes. We stand ready to assist those in need and are very proud of all of our neighbors here on the gulf coast!” — Mike Johnson, NHA General Manager
Bishop Lifting Products — Prior to the storm BLP management implemented a thorough communication plan including a phone number to call for updates as well as constant updates to the company Facebook page. During the storm, a daily internal email was sent to update employees. We have confirmed that our employees are safe, however, many have water damage to their homes and cars and a few have lost everything. The Houston BLP office reopened for business on Thursday, Aug. 31. We are moving production to other locations and BLP locations are working together and utilizing inventory within our groups to minimize impact to our customers. Our goal is to do everything possible to help our customers meet project deadlines.
“Thank you for your patience as our company returns to normal business. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that have been adversely affected. Our group will be organizing a way to contribute/assist those in need in the near future.” — Harold King, BLP President
SBP has established a dedicated relief fund to support the needs of its employees who have been adversely impacted by Hurricane Harvey and will match all donations made by SBP employees through Sept. 22, 2017. To make a confidential donation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/sbpblp-employees-flood-relief . Donations made to this initiative will go directly to SBP Holdings personnel affected by the storm. Your donations will help support these employees and their families through the challenges of recovering and rebuilding.
Atlanta, GA-based HD Supply — No. 4 on the Big 50 — posted on its website that its Construction & Industrial locations in La Porte, TX (#717) and Stafford, TX (#701) closed at noon on Sept. 1. The company also posted separate pages on its website for its associates and customers, each providing links to emergency and donation resources, as well as other information.
Baton Rouge, LA-based Edgen Murray — No. 15 on the Big 50 — posted the following on Facebook:
Orange Park, FL-based Bridgestone Hosepower — No. 50 on the Big 50 — posted Sept. 1 on Facebook that its Houston branch was open for business as of Sept. 1 along with the following message:
Here's a collection of other social media posts by or on behalf of industrial distributors regarding Harvey:
Want to share Harvey's impact on your company?
I put together the above information and social media posts made by ID's Big 50 List companies, but surely there are many other distributors that have been impacted. If you are one of them and want to share any additional information, or just want to point me to your social media posts about it, let me know and I'll add them to this post. Contact me at [email protected] or 973-920-7701.