A slow-moving motorcade winds its way down Old Bloomington Road to the Port of Victoria. Leading the way are two of the largest vessels built by Diamond Fiberglass.

Upon arrival to a newly paved dock, Diamond Fiberglass President Don Porr emerges from his vehicle, positions a hard hat on his head and gazes upon the fruits of his labor as they are readied to embark on a journey across the Gulf of Mexico to Port Fourchon in Louisiana.

Diamond Fiberglass has rebuilt their company from nothing but a concrete slab after suffering from a fire during the summer of 2017 and a mere two months before another unexpected disaster would strike the region – Hurricane Harvey. And that seemed to be only the beginning of a series of unfortunate events for the company.

Despite Porr spending months to find a new bank to do the loan for the company after the previous one backed out, hiring a new contractor, bearing the blow of an increase in prices and losing employees due to the difficult conditions of their temporary facility, Diamond Fiberglass pushed forward and opened their new building in October 2018 stocked with brand new equipment and designed to operate more efficiently.

An important aspect of recovering from a disaster is having an appropriate plan in place. Adversity never occurs at a convenient time, but being prepared can help employees feel supported, reduce recovery time and help a business bounce back.

Here are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s tips for small businesses recovering from a disaster:

  • Implement your disaster plan. Assess damage and consider if a backup location is needed.
  • Shift your team and leadership from preparedness to recovery.
  • Implement a communications strategy to ensure that the facts go directly to employees, suppliers, customers and the media.
  • Encourage employees to take appropriate actions and communicate.
  • Document damage, file insurance claims and track recovery.
  • Cultivate partnerships in the community with businesses, government and nonprofits.
  • Provide employee support and assistance.
  • Connect with chambers of commerce, economic development and other community support organizations.
  • Document lessons learned and update your plan.

Paul Cohen, co-owner of Diamond Fiberglass, attributes the company’s successful return to the relationships they had built with their customers and their ability to refer business to competitors while recovering.

Porr credits his strong workforce of 73 dedicated employees.

The orchestrated send-off of these two colossal vessels not only exemplifies the tremendous comeback of Diamond Fiberglass after hardship but also illustrates the strength and will of our community as a whole to recuperate after disaster.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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