By Pat Haffert
Recently, we decided to capture interviews with satisfied customers and turn them into product testimonials. We are very grateful to Bob, Barry, Susan, and Carlos for agreeing to speak with us on camera. For some, retelling their stories was cathartic, while for others, it was painful. While we were focused on the role of helical piles on their rebuild, they had all gone through a difficult and trying period: a real emotional roller coaster.
Everyone’s Sandy experiences were different, but the stories of the aftermath had a similar theme. Initial shock at the destruction gave way to frustration dealing with the process of recovery and repair. Dealing with the government can always be challenging, but federal (FEMA), state, and local code officials all had some jurisdiction and say in what could and should be done. Insurance companies and their local agents were overwhelmed and often exhibited bureaucratic indifference. Given the contradictions, it was difficult to determine which information from each of the various parties was accurate. After sorting out the information and regulations, came the task of finding a competent, knowledgeable contractor to complete the necessary repairs. And, not just one contractor, but a general contractor, house-raiser, and piling guy – all being supervised by an architect or engineer who also had to be retained as part of the process.
Is it any wonder that some frustrated folks threw up a “For Sale” sign on their distressed properties and decided to walk away and leave the mess to someone else?
The plucky group of homeowners we interviewed decided to tough it out and try to restore their dream of a “shore home.” Listening to their often-touching stories reminded me that business opportunities for some are real human tragedies for others. People were hurt by Sandy, emotionally and financially. Some, in particular the old and the poor, will never be able to rebuild to code in the new reality. The folks giving testimony recognized their good fortune in spite of their struggles.
The other takeaway is that people do business with people. Although everyone expressed confidence in the product, it was based on their overall confidence in the installer. They relied on their contractor and trusted him to bring a reliable product to compliment the contractor’s ingenuity and skill. DANBRO Distributors are no heroes. We sell a great product at a fair price that will get the job done and will outlast the life of any structure it supports. However, it is people like Art Koziol of South Jersey Helical Piers who represent and install the piles. Our interviewees could not say enough good things about him. The overwhelming sentiment could be summed up this way: excellent contractor and a great human being. He felt their pain and tried his best to work with them to restore their dream, so it could withstand whatever nature has in store for the future.
Good products are wonderful tools in the right hands, but they can never compensate for a competent and caring professional who understands what it means to put people first. Art Kozoil from SJHP is a refugee from communist Poland and a family man. He understands what it means to start over and try and build a better life for his family – and, maybe, yours.
Pat Haffert is the Seminar and Training Manager for Danbro Distributors. He has been working with Danbro helical piers for 15 years. If you or your company is interested in a lunch-and-learn presentation on the use of helical piers, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.