Cox and Employees Lend Support During Once-in- a-Generation Winter Storm
“Our pipes burst, leaving our family without water. We were so cold without power. It was scary. My manager, Tony Nicosia, reached out to let us all know that his home was open and that he had electricity and water and invited us to come there,” says Kristen Cone, Sr. Dealer Success Consultant at Cox Automotive.
Kristen was one of the many employees impacted during the devastating winter storm that swept across Texas and surrounding areas last week. More than 4.3 million homes and businesses were left without power, some for several days. The power outages, busted pipes, empty store shelves and many other catastrophic events that unfolded left many of our employees freezing and in distress.
One of Cox’s guiding principles is “Do the Right Thing. Always” … and that’s exactly what happened. Cox and employees rallied together to create a network of resources and provided an abundance of support for those in the affected areas of Austin and Dallas.
Read specific stories below about how both Cox and employees did the right thing and supported each other like family during this time of need.
Donation Supplies from Cox
While both cities of Austin and Dallas were affected by the winter storm, Austin was hit with a second ice storm mid-week, thus creating an even larger need for supplies – especially water, food and specialty items like diapers. Cox teams from across divisions rallied together to support. Thousands of supplies were sourced in Atlanta and packed on a delivery truck, which arrived in Austin for employees to pick up in a COVID-safe drive-through.Many Cox volunteers also organized and loaded materials into employee’s cars on Saturday and Sunday at the distribution hub. If employees were unable to access the drive-thru pick up, Cox volunteers delivered supplies to those employees’ homes.
“Everyone who asked for help received help. Many specific requests were accommodated, whether it was vegetarian meals, particular brands of baby foods, specific sized diapers, you name it.”
– Kurt Stonecipher, Sr. Director Product Management
The Cox Employee Relief Fund (CERF)
Employees not only received essential supplies from Cox, but also financial support. CERF provided financial support to meet the immediate needs of food and/or lodging to employees who experienced loss of power, loss of food and were unsafe in their homes. CERF assisted 18 employees with $7,675 to cover such needs. The CERF team remains on standby to provide ongoing support with immediate needs as well as long term needs such as home repairs, home insurance deductibles, moving expenses and more.
Support from Colleagues
In Dallas, the greatest need was to ensure that all employees were safe. Employees in this region created a community of constant contact using a Send Word Now alert/check-in process and a Teams channel. The employees used this communication channel to give their safety status, share news and updates and determine the needs of other employees.
While facing issues of their own at home, employees of the local Manheim auctions also stepped up to support. Five auctions in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio faced significant challenges with record low temperatures impacting the power grid and water services throughout Texas. From keeping the walkways and main drive areas clear to staying at the auction sites to prevent pipes from busting or other hazardous events occurring, these employees served as local heroes.
“Chris Ketter (Maintenance Manager, Dallas) and her team worked around the clock addressing multiple water pipes bursting, shutting off the water, cleaning up and keeping our facility safe. Chris and her team worked in very cold conditions late each night and very early every morning to ensure the facility was safe and de-iced for our clients and team members to arrive each morning.”
– Rich Curtis, General Manager
“Tommy Lamance (Operations Manager, Houston) stayed at the auction two nights in a row monitoring all pipes, generator fuel levels and the facility to make sure we were on top of all maintenance needs. He was able to shut off water as soon as pipes broke to eliminate flooding at the site and was able to get our diesel tanks refueled during a time that virtually no-one was delivering fuel. ensuring we had ample diesel for the generators.”
– Brian Walker, General Manager
It Doesn’t End There
Employees around the regions offered a variety of support to their communities and their colleagues. Some opened their homes to each other, helped move furniture from flooded apartments, and delivered supplies to doctors, nurses and other families.
Whether it was a colleague or a member of the community, Cox employees found a way to do the right thing. Always.
Click to learn more about #LifeatCox and how are people are a force for good.