Hurricane Matthew, one of the most feared storms in a decade, made its destructive way north along the Atlantic seaboard October 7 and 8, causing devastation from Florida to Virginia.
With 55 BrightView branches across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, teams took safety precautions in advance of the storm, preparing for likely damage to hundreds of BrightView clients’ properties.
The majority of the branches in Florida fared well, experiencing only minimal damage.
“There was no damage to speak of on our projects,” said Andy Johnson, Branch Manager at BrightView’s South Florida location. “There were a few trees that were newly planted that blew over on a couple of projects, but nothing of any significance.”
The South Jacksonville branch managed well, according to Branch Manager Scott Dalton, having to only deal with two days without electricity.
However, several teams mobilized in response to BrightView clients in the Jacksonville area that were not so lucky.
“The damage was severe along the coastal region to the extent that large trees destroyed buildings, blocked roadways, caused extended days of power outages, and washed away portions of scenic roadways along the coast,” Dalton said.
BrightView crews immediately stepped in to assist with the work ahead to restore the affected areas.
“Our team is assisting our clients in every way possible with clean-up efforts and we have completed numerous meetings with each and every client we service,” Dalton said.
The Sarasota area sustained little damage from the hurricane, but that didn’t stop Jake Rhines, Branch Manager at BrightView’s Sarasota Tree Care, from getting his crews involved.
“I sent a four-man crew with a bucket truck, chipper, grapple truck, and pick-up truck to Jacksonville to assist,” he said.
The Sarasota crew is joining other BrightView Tree Care crews from Miami, Orlando, and Tampa to help assist the Jacksonville branch, along with the entire maintenance, enhancement, and irrigation divisions in Jacksonville.
“We have approximately 400 employees working in the Jacksonville metro area on clean-up efforts so we can bring back a sense of normal living for our clients and their residents,” Dalton said. “It is truly an amazing accomplishment that we can bring BrightView resources from all over the state of Florida to assist in disaster response.”
BrightView’s North Carolina teams missed most of the storm but did experience plenty of flooding.
“We didn’t get too much of the storm itself but many clients experienced significant flooding and parking lot damage,” said Howard Price, Branch Manager in Durham, NC. “The storm hit us Saturday but we’re proud to say we had every client’s property cleaned up by Monday.”
BrightView’s Raleigh branch team responded immediately to help military families in need of assistance at a nearby military base.
“Homes were flooded and debris was everywhere,” said Brock Lavrack, Branch Manager in Raleigh. “We service over 6,000 homes for the military families in this area and began our clean up immediately following the storm and sent multiple crews and Production Managers from Raleigh to assist in the clean-up efforts that are still going on.”
“It was an awesome sight to see one of our team members ride into the yard on his bike with his vest on, ready to go at 6:15” said Ryan Maffei, Branch Manager at the Hilton Head branch. “In the dark with flashlights, our teams had to unsecure all the tightly-parked equipment the first day while managers formed a war room and made a plan to divide and conquer.”
Maffei’s teams have been working tirelessly to ensure the safety of our teams and our clients. His team cleared homeowners’ driveways in addition to the contracted areas in nearby communities. BrightView's client told the team, “We are remaining positive and confident because the BrightView teams are positive.”
According to Senior Vice President Michael Dozier, multiple branches along the Southeast coast experienced significant damage, but they immediately responded and got to work. “I am very proud of how our teams worked together to help each other and our clients,” said Dozier.
Just at the Hilton Head branch alone, the full staff, plus help from other locations, was back on the job just days after the hurricane, while the Florida and North Carolina teams experienced the same spirit of togetherness as the clean-up progresses.
“I could not be more proud of our BrightView employees’ resilience, motivation, and execution so far,” Maffei said. “They already give it their all every day, but this (clean-up work) is at a different level.”
BrightView takes pride in providing consistent, high-quality landscape and snow services with a dependable service commitment. As the nation’s leading landscape services company, BrightView’s more than 22,000 team members design, develop, maintain and enhance thousands of clients’ properties including housing communities, corporate campuses, healthcare facilities, universities, retail establishments, resorts and more. BrightView takes care of its teams, clients and communities while delivering exceptional landscapes that positively impact millions of lives every day.
Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs