Four years ago tomorrow, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Morgan City, La. The storm actually had hit Adventura, Fla. a few days earlier as a Category 1 storm, but by the time it hit Louisiana, Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane.
The storm came just nine business days after Nextel and Sprint had closed the dealwith created our new company, Sprint Nextel Corp. At that point, we really had two of everything. Employees were worried about what the merger meant for them personally. Would I still have a job after the dust settles? Who would be my new boss? Who would be on my new team? Would the projects I was working on still be a priority in the new company? To be honest, it was a time of personal uncertainty for all us.
I was part of the small group of people from Nextel and Sprint who came together to manage our response to this catastrophic storm. Most of us had never met in person. We didn’t have time for any of the “us vs. them” behavior that it typical of mergers and acquisitions. We had to get our networks up and running to help our customers. (We joked that our Katrina response was the “mother of all team-builders”.)
This video tells part of our story of how we responded to Hurricane Katrina. But our response didn’t end there. We had to deal with Hurricanes Rita and Wilma after that. In fact, the 2005 storm season gave us the most named storms ever — so many they ran out of names!
One of the reasons I am proud to work for Sprint Nextel is how we manage our response to disasters like Katrina. And frankly, no one in this industry does a better job than us and no one has done this as long as we have. In recent years, our Emergency Response Team has worked hand in hand with emergency workers, first responders and law enforcement professionals to manage communications needs for 33 Presidentially declared disasters and 9 National Special Security Events. (That’s more than anyone else!)