Remembering Douglas County’s Snowmageddon – 1 year later.

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By Jim Teece

Greg Henderson (Southern Oregon Business Journal Founder and Co-Publisher) and I met with Todd Way, CEO and GM of Douglas Fast Net (DFN) and Keith Brooks, General Manager of Douglas Electric Cooperative (DEC) in the DFN board room, on a nice clear and cold winter day 11 months after the storm. 

I wanted to do an anniversary story on the Douglas County Snow Storm of 2019 that took at least 10 thousand people and businesses offline in some cases for up to three and a half weeks. 

I wanted to tell the story from the point of view of the power company and internet company. 

Can you imagine not having power or the internet for weeks? 
No power. No Internet. No way to do business. What would you do?
It was a fascinating interview because I was asking two business leaders to relive the stress and pressure of the event that would last over a month until 100% of their customers were back online. 

They sat across from us and calmly relived the harrowing and stressful weeks that followed the storm. 

One thing that was clear was the feeling of brothers-in-arms they have for each other and their teams. The respect they had for their teams and their community was clear, but so was the respect they had for each other that came from how they helped each other work insanely long days for many weeks to restore service to their customers. Many times their job was driving pizza out to crews that were out in the field. Keith told a story about having to drive 3 miles in reverse because he couldn’t turn the truck around. 

Because of social networking and the electric co-op’s use of it during the storm, we have an added bonus. We have a detailed breakdown of communication that we will include so you can see the actual communication they shared with customers. 

We also have photos. They documented everything. For the education aspect of it and also the insurance aspect of it. 

In the end, this is a lesson learned article, for all of us. What are our business contingency and continuity plans? What are our plans to house the contractors that show up to help, feed our troops, keep everyone safe and still do our jobs? 

What we do in a crisis is defined by not only our preparation but also our character. How we respond and how we handle insurmountable odds is a test of human strength to work together and overcome the crisis.

I also own a company in Roseburg as well.

Umpqua Broadband is a small ISP that serves the rural customer with wireless high-speed internet. We also had outages and I’ll share a small sidebar on what that was like for my team as well. 

Greg lives north of Roseburg and was personally affected as well.

After you read through and for some relive the storm and the long weeks that followed, let us know what you think. How are you prepared to handle long term outages.

Jim Teece owns Project A as well as Ashland Home Net, Rogue Broadband and is a partner in Art Authority and Co-Publisher of the Southern Oregon Business Journal.

Remembering Douglas County’s Snowmageddon – 1 year later.

Restoring Service After the Storm
Social Media Posts 
 – The Black Box of Incident Management
Staff Stories

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