Local Industry Plays Role In Restoring Power To Gulf Coast

There's a harsh reality to disaster. Someone usually gains from someone's loss. That can be said of the manufacturers of many kinds of products now needed in the Gulf Coastal region.

Exactly one year ago Cooper Industries was sending its electrical transformers to Florida after a series of hurricanes. Today the story is much the same, but this time the needed replacements are going to Louisiana and Mississippi.

Plant manager Brian Schaezler has dejavu. "We've received orders for several thousand units over the last few weeks inquiries for several thousand more."

Cooper understands the loss. A sister plant in Lumberton, Mississippi stopped production when utility lines were scattered. "We are looking at several months of a little higher production rates to respond to our customer needs. We have hired a team member from Mississippi who was affected by the storm and moved here locally with some family."

Daily production is up by 20 %. Three shifts are running seven days a week. Yet there's no worker shortage nor the need to participate in a future evacuee job fair. Schaezeler said, "We have increased our team count by 10 members over the last few weeks. Probably have another 15 or so team members to increase over the next couple of weeks."

How long the increased production will continue will depend on the time frame of the rebuilding effort. By all indications the Gulf Coast is anxious to start right away.