After hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Garret Mallonee, a superintendent for Wilson Electric, knew he had to do something to help.
“It was just watching the news a couple weeks ago, seeing how much stuff was going on and how tough it was for people down there, that’s what kind of sparked the idea” Mallonee said. “The next day at work, I pitched it to four other guys.”
Mallonee, along with Wilson Electric employees, and their family members will be traveling to Houston and partnering with a local organization to help them with the cleanup efforts in the aftermath of the storm.
“This is going to be a great experience for my son,” Mallonee said. “Hopefully he carries this with him and does something like this when he gets older.”
Todd Klimas, vice president of Tempe-based Wilson Electric works as a volunteer firefighter, and Mallonee said that when Klimas found out employees were traveling to Houston on their own time, he wanted to have Wilson Electric help.
Klimas has used his volunteer skills to help Mallonee plan the trip’s logistics and Wilson electric has donated its tools, company vehicles and bought cots, shower tents and supplies for the volunteers to use.
“We are 100 percent prepared,” Mallonee said. “We’re going to do this as if we are doing a $10 million job,” Mallone said.
The company also collected supplies to donate, had a luncheon to raise money for the cleanup effort and started a GoFundMe that has raised over $4000.
“Everybody was just real open to helping out,” Mallonee said. “I mean nobody’s going to lie, it sounds like an awesome time: we’re going to go help out, we’re going to do something cool. Wilson is like a big family team, so not only do we work together, most of us are close friends.”
Mallonee said it’s important for outside help to volunteer during disaster cleanup because local contractors get overwhelmed with the amount of inquiries they receive.
On a day-to-day basis, Mallonee simultaneously manages three to five construction projects, coaches foremen and organizes a job site.
Lisa McFate, marketing manager for Wilson Electric, said Mallonee will be able to use the same skills he uses for his job at Wilson Electric in the cleanup efforts.
“Just being a superintendent, his job is to make sure that the project is planned, that schedules are met, organizing groups, communicating, and I think all of that lends itself to being able to go in and do a really good cleanup effort as well,” McFate said.
Once their team is on the ground, Mallonee said they will be “demucking” houses and doing some electrical work. He said they are looking to work on at least 10 homes in their three days in Houston.
“Hopefully we can just cheer them up a little bit,” Mallonee said. “Once the house is cleaned up maybe they can start storing some of their new stuff back inside. Even if they can’t live in it, it would be just nice to have a place to put your stuff moving forward.”
McFate said after the company collected supplies for the volunteers to use, they realized that they could use these in future volunteer cleanup efforts.
“(The) vision is to be able to do this again,” Mallonee said. “Like if there is a wildfire up north we would just be ready to support the community.”
Wilson Electric has previously volunteered for neighborhood cleanups, the Phoenix Heart Walk and UMOM. Blank said these volunteer efforts are reflective of the larger culture at Wilson Electric.
“I think the construction industry as a whole has a big heart, and they give a lot,” McFate said.
If you would like to donate to Wilson Electric Employee’s Harvey Relief GoFundMe it can be found here https://www.gofundme.com/wilson-electric-employeestx-relief.