In 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston and surrounding areas. Harvey is actually tied with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record. The storm created $125 billion in damages across Houston and surrounding areas, mostly from rainfall-induced flooding throughout the Houston metro area and south-eastern Texas. In just four days, many areas received 40 inches or more of rainfall which led to otherwise unprecedented flooding. The flood displaced over 30,000 people, including several Hartman employees.
Our people are our most important asset
At Hartman, we know that it is our people that set us apart from other companies. We care for our people, and in return, they care about the success of our business. So when Harvey came along, it created willpower and determination within our team, even as our people were fighting to save their own homes and families. Through this amazing dedication and commitment, we were able to generate added value for our investors through our crisis management response.
The Hartman team had procedures in place that were precise and in place, ensuring a timely and thorough response to all situations. Our team’s follow-through and focused attention on both our investor returns and our tenant relationships helped to minimize the financial impact to owners, tenants, and our investors.
Hartman’s hurricane procedures
Just as any company should do as storm season approaches, Hartman put some critical procedures in place to ensure business continuity.
1. Daily Companywide Calls – Throughout the duration of the storm, Hartman facilitated morning and evening calls with 20 to 30 team members participating on the line. The goal of the call was first to ensure our employees were well and accounted for, but also to discuss our various tenants and the kind of assistance that they needed. During these calls, we reviewed known damage to the properties and what type of support or reinforcement would need to be sent out to those buildings. Action plans were created coming out of each call, and our employees worked through whatever could be done to lessen damage or halted business operations.
2. Employee Assistance Committee – Our team members in non-impacted hurricane areas (Dallas and San Antonio) spent several days booking blocks of hotel rooms across the city – a very difficult task, as most of Houston was under water and without communication. This allowed us to leverage our benevolence fund to provide immediate shelter to those employees who were displaced. We helped team members register for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEM) assistance and also scheduled pet pickups and relocations across the city to shelters and foster families that could ensure that our employees’ furry family members would be well cared for until they could go back to their families. In addition, we provided our people with 80 hours of paid time off (PTO), as well as cash to help them cover essentials and repair their homes after the storm.
3. Community Involvement – Hartman is a faith-based organization, and we honor God in all that we do including operating our company in a manner consistent with biblical principles. As such, our team members volunteered at churches across the city of Houston, helping to provide food and shelter to those in need. Our team of dedicated employees worked around the clock with little to no sleep to help rebuild the community and businesses. Many team members reported to their properties even though their own home, or their family member’s homes, sustained serious damage. In some cases, employees relocated their families to Hartman properties and used air mattresses to try and get rest at night. Some employees even rented 4×4 vehicles, with their own money and without being asked to do so, to move from Hartman property to property to assess damages and create individualized recovery plans for those buildings.
Throughout Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Ike in 2008, Hartman employees lived the company vision by delivering exceptional investor returns through an empowered team that provides unparalleled service to tenants in an environment of belonging and purpose. At Hartman, we care about our customers and bend over backward to ensure our customers are always well-taken care of.
At Hartman, we also recognize and celebrate our achievements, and in appreciation for all the support of our employees, we hosted an awards ceremony to celebrate our Harvey Heroes. While we look to appreciate others more than to be recognized ourselves, we are exceptionally proud of our team at Hartman and thank each and every one of them for their dedication to our company and to our customers.