News from our National SRM Team!

May 22, 2012   ·   By   ·   No Comments   ·   Posted in Blog, Disaster Cleanup, News

When Disaster Strikes, ServiceMaster Recovery Management Responds.

In the fall of 2011, heavy monsoons and successive typhoons killed nearly 800 people and affected more than 8 million others across Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines, according to the United Nations. In Thailand, the most devastating floods in a half century resulted in the most expensive natural disaster ever, impacting more than 14,000 factories, displacing more than 600,000 workers, disrupting global supply chains, destroying farms, and driving up worldwide prices for computer hard drives and rice. In Thailand alone, where floodwaters covered an area roughly the size of the state of Florida, insured losses are estimated at more than $15 billion and total damage is expected to top $45 billion.

Following the devastating floods that ravaged Thailand in the fall of 2011, ServiceMaster delivered on its disaster relief promise and deployed recovery management teams to restore Aytthaya Hi-Tech Industrial Estate facility in Thailand.

Randy Hedden, owner of a ServiceMaster Clean franchise with three Minneapolis-area offices, mobilized the project management team to support ServiceMaster Recovery Management’s (SRM) deployment to Thailand. Upon arrival, Hedden and his team were met with the overwhelming aftermath of the storm.

Mark Fischer, SRM managing director, who developed his expertise through 20 years of disaster response in the U.S. and a dozen other countries, was asked by Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company to assist their client whose Thailand plant was under water. It was then that Fischer turned to Hedden trusting that he and his team could successfully manage this large loss mitigation assignment halfway around the globe.

“There was some trepidation among our folks before we got over there. But I think everyone of our people would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Hedden. “It was just an unbelievable experience both in terms of the exposure to the Thai country and culture and the opportunity to set up a business operation overseas.”

Once the waters receded, the teams banded together in tireless precision to clear the plant of muck and debris and clean the building and everything in it, restoring equipment to nearly new operating condition. Close to four dozen local laborers were organized into three-person teams. All teams received cheat sheets with common English and Thai words to aid everyone understanding the different languages.

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” said Greg Elmer, a ServiceMaster general manager from St. Paul, who led the 10-member project management team to Thailand on his first overseas assignment in seven years of disaster recovery.

“We came with open minds. We overcame the language barriers. And we worked together with our local crews to do what we needed to do to get the job done, just like at home, “Elmer said. “We developed friendships with our Thai crewmates. Those are life-long relationships.”

As the Minnesota team returned home from Thailand, more teams from Kansas City and Chicago traveled to help a multi-unit operator with 40 stores in Thailand. General Manager for ServiceMaster Catastrophe, Craig Borowski ran the job and Steve Wills, ServiceMaster of Norwich/ New London, supported Borowski’s efforts.

When the opportunity to work internationally presented itself, these ServiceMaster Clean franchises really stepped up to the plate. They helped shoulder some of the devastation of this record topping natural disaster, all while staying true to ServiceMaster’s commitment to care about people, to value teamwork, to operate ethically and to delight client.

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