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Florida on the observing end of Hurricane Harvey

September 6, 2017
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Few areas have experienced the devastation of a hurricane more than Florida where DTS is headquartered. Annual hurricane preparations begin in June and many residents remain on high alert until late October, when water temperatures cool and no longer propel storm development. We stock up on bottled water, flashlights, batteries and canned food, keep an eye on the tropics and fill up our gas tanks at any sign of a potential threat. These things are a way of life for many of us, and are not taken for granted.

This August, it wasn’t Florida in the path of destruction. Residents of the Sunshine State watched in horror last week as the Texas coastal bend braced for an impact that was, in many ways, reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With the second largest US population, Texas was not able to organize a mass evacuation and those who chose to remain in their homes were urged to write their name and social security number on their forearm for first responder identification. As we tuned in across the gulf for the weather updates, storm coverage and reports of flooding, we empathized with our western neighbors.

“We had two of our data collection vans in Houston last week that had to be diverted to Arlington to avoid the storm,” said Rafael Rivera, DTS Director of Asset Management Technologies. “We have clients across the country, but a lot of them are in Texas. It’s scary and sad to see them in this situation.”

From our office in Orlando, Data Transfer Solutions employees wanted to help. Our clients, our friends, our co-workers and our families are in Texas. So we decided to do something.

soap saves lives
Rafael Rivera, Director of Asset Management Technologies & Kathy Nelson, Marketing Coordinator

Little bags with a Big Impact

On Thursday, August 31, local humanitarian and environmental group Clean the World delivered essential daily hygiene items to our office, greeted by staff members who were eager to help in some way. These items were assembled by staff into kits that also contained a handwritten message of hope and encouragement from our team.

Clean the World provides these kits globally to those in low-income and impoverished areas, granting a little dignity to those in need. Their kits also minimize the spread of disease. In the wake of Harvey, Clean the World has refocused all of their efforts to assembling and delivering kits to Houston and its surrounding areas. Although it seems like a drop in the bucket, DTS is thrilled to be able to help in some small way.

hygiene kits
Completed Clean the World Hygiene Kits

“We’ve been in their shoes before,” says Cynthia Novoa, CFO at DTS. “It breaks my heart to know these people have lost everything. This is our first time working with Clean the World – we’re hoping to have them back for more events on a regular basis. We are fortunate enough to be on the giving end this time, and we just want to help.”

Clean the World rep Marcus Thomas arrived at our office with the supplies around 8:30 am and DTS staff jumped right in to help set up the assembly stations. While preparing the conference room for volunteer kit builders, Marcus explained the company history and how Clean the World came to exist fewer than 10 years ago.

Partnering with domestic hotel chains, the organization collects discarded soaps, shampoos and conditioners. Soaps are melted down, sanitized and reformed into new 3-ounce bars. Shampoo and conditioner bottles are sanitized and refilled. A new toothbrush, toothpaste, razor and washcloth rounded out each hygiene kit going to Houston.

These efforts have a global impact on our environment and the millions of wasted products that would otherwise be discarded in landfills here in the US. Far beyond that, these kits are distributed worldwide to impoverished areas, homeless shelters and victims of natural disasters. Once all of the kits were complete, they were taken directly to the airport and loaded onto a plane bound for Houston.

This week Florida finds itself, once again, in the path of a major hurricane as Category 5 Irma barrels toward our coastline. Storm preparations are already well underway as we brace for potential impact over the weekend. All we can hope is that our volunteer efforts to help Houston have brought a level of awareness to our own state to be safe and prepared. Clean the World will continue their assistance to Texas, until the organization is needed elsewhere.

If you would like to donate, volunteer or learn more about Clean the World, please visit: https://cleantheworld.org/
Data Transfer Solutions, LLC headquarters office is located in Avalon Park (Orlando, Florida). Services range from right-of-way data collection and pavement analysis to our enterprise asset management software solution, VUEWorks®, which manages and maintains the full lifecycle of any asset or inventory. DTS strives to give back to the community and do our part to help the environment.

If you would like more information about DTS and VUEWorks, please contact:
Kathy Nelson, Marketing Coordinator: knelson@dtsgis.com.

assembling kits
DTS Staff and management assemble hygiene kits for Hurricane Harvey survivors