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|By Kevin Tampone||November 23, 2012|
SALINA — In the week following Superstorm Sandy, JGB Enterprises, Inc. worked around the clock to produce about 3,000 hose assemblies that helped clear water from flooded buildings across the East Coast.
It’s a business the Salina-based company, which produces industrial and hydraulic hoses and fittings, has been building for the last several years, says Steve Starrantino, JGB vice president. Ron Ugalde, based at JGB's Charlotte, N.C. location as its southeast regional manager, first recognized the opportunity.
"He was heavily involved in day-today business with these pump contractors," Starrantino says. "He identified a major market and the rest is history. It's grown significantly and he has since passed that wisdom onto other parts of our company."
JGB knew Sandy was coming so it began working with its clients in the "dewatering" space ahead of time, Starrantino says. The company reached out to let them know JGB was positioned to provide the hose they would need.
The products ranged in size from 2 inches to a foot. JGB had worked with most of the customers it dealt with in the wake of Sandy in the past, Starrantino says.
The company was able to become more entrenched with a few thanks to its strong response time. During the aftermath of the storm, a team at JGB was working 24 hours a day to fill orders.
Customers relied on JGB more heavily since the firm was demonstrating a strong turnaround capability, Starrantino says. Many of the hose deliveries took place in the middle of the night, he adds.
JGB has worked on other disaster-response projects in the past, including storms in Florida and Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast, Starrantino says. Usually, it’s the company's Charlotte office that is most heavily involved in the work, he adds.
But because of Sandy’s unusual focus on the Northeast, the Salina location was also a part of the effort.
Starrantino adds that the Sandy-related work finally started winding down Nov. 9. The company's customers have said JGB hoses helped clear subway tunnels, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and major commercial buildings throughout New York and New Jersey, he says.
The Sandy-related work took longer than an average disaster operation for JGB, Starrantino says. Most of the time, dewatering does not take weeks.
But the high concentration of people and buildings so close to the shore in Sandy's target zone meant more work for JGB and its clients.
About 60 percent of JGB's regular business is with the military. The company provides hoses for fuel and water. Its products are used to refuel tanks and other military vehicles and to help purify water, Starrantino says.
The company's commercial business includes a number of markets, he adds. One of the busiest recently has been oil and gas.
The firm has benefited from the resources boom in various parts of the country that has been brought on by new drilling techniques like hydrofracking, Starrantino says.
"That has been one of our fastest growing commercial markets," he says.
JGB employs 230 people companywide at locations in Salina, Buffalo, St Louis, Mo., and Charlotte, N.C.