Two months after Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast, cleanup and rebuilding efforts are still ongoing throughout the state. The Category 4 hurricane went down as the fifth largest hurricane in U.S. history, with a death toll of more than 100 Floridians and upwards of $40 billion in property damage. The Gulf Coast sustained the most damage as Hurricane Ian tore apart homes and buildings, washed boats onto streets, and damaged vital infrastructure.
Construction companies across Florida stepped up to aid in relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. The following companies helped with rescue efforts, cleanup, rebuilding homes and businesses, and more.
Irby is also performing damage assessment, overhead and underground restoration, replacing poles, replacing/repairing overhead lines and cables, and replacing underground pad mounted equipment and cables. The more than 600 vehicles at work in Florida include pickup trucks, bucket trucks, digger trucks, track mounted bucket and digger equipment, pole hauling trailers, material hauling trailers, and portable fuel stations.
Over 600 employees are assisting in restoration efforts, along with corporate and regional employees coordinating efforts to provide equipment, tools, PPE, satellite phones, and other supplies. Additionally, Irby shipped food and resources out to its employees that were affected by the hurricane.
“Our group has pulled together as a family to do everything we can to not only restore power, but to help others impacted the greatest by this storm,” said Tim Halsey, Vice President of Operations for Irby. “We are committed to doing whatever it takes to support our employees, their families, and the community.”
“We feel like if we support the community, they support us and give us work,” Allen said. “This town has provided a lot of opportunities for our family. The best way for us to repay that and show that we are appreciative is to be available to help people when they need us. To do that, you have to be here during the storm, so we do not evacuate during the storms. … If you get the opportunity to help, you have to help. Sometimes that means we're able to be paid for the work, and sometimes that means we're just helping people that can't help themselves. I think that's just part of being a good Samaritan.”
After the hurricane, around 110 Allen Concrete employees worked for three weeks straight to clean up roads and give people access back into their homes by hauling away storm debris. Excavators were used during the cleanup, and rough terrain cranes were used to stand things like palm trees back up. Many waterfront homes had their yards washed away, so beach remediation work helped put the sand back into place. Beach remediation is still ongoing. Allen Concrete also worked on power generation, interior demolition of houses, and picking up boats that floated onto land.
One of Allen Concrete’s main focuses after the storm was to provide resources to its employees who had been impacted by the hurricane. The company also retrieved generators from Caterpillar dealerships in Illinois to rent out to homes and businesses.
A major hurricane relief project that Allen Concrete worked on was for HCA, a health care conglomerate. HCA called Allen Concrete for help at 5 p.m. on the Sunday after the hurricane, and by 4:30 a.m. the next morning they had hauled in 70-80 loads of lime rock, constructed a temporary relief city, and built a helicopter landing pad for one of HCA’s emergency room departments.
"We are here to help Fort Myers residents identify the right local contractors to rebuild their homes,” said Norman Simmons, Field Agent Supervisor. “Construction X also helps homeowners with challenges faced with insurance claims and FEMA at no cost to the residents. We provide systems dedicated to protecting homeowners against botch jobs and unreliable contractor relationships."
Construction X Agency is a full-service nationwide construction agency with thousands of general contractor partners. The company has been a vital part of the rebuilding process in Fort Myers, helping to restore homes and businesses that were lost in the hurricane.
“In certain areas, there are not enough trades people or contractors to meet the demand,” said Nathan Singleton, Chief Operating Officer of Guy Brothers. “So that's when communities rely on other people to come in and help.”
Around 30 Guy Brothers employees came out a week after the hurricane hit to begin covering homeowners’ roofs with tarps. Since then, hundreds of roofs have been repaired. The company plans on continuing work on homes damaged by the hurricane for two to three years.
“Your roof is the first line of defense; it protects your house from all the elements,” Singleton said. “So when storms come through and destroy people's roofs and if it rains a week later, then they're in a bad place. Having been through many storms ourselves, we feel like it's our duty to get down there and help.”