From creating short term plans and long term plans to developing contingencies and work-arounds, Jeremy Ostrander and the team at AgriVision Equipment in Hamburg continues working toward normalcy in times that are anything but normal.
At current, Ostrander said the AgriVision team is working to refurbish a third of their building to make for reasonable working conditions for the upcoming winter months.
The business has been in a temporary office ever since flood waters came to Hamburg in March and hopes to re-occupy a portion of their Hamburg building in the next week to 10 days.
AgriVision had just 24 hours of notice before flooding forced them out of their location at Pacific Junction. They had a bit more time before having to leave the Hamburg site, but even that was just three days.
Ostrander estimates that the loss in just parts was in the $2 million range.
While the flooding issues were frustrating, Ostrander said the company is working to restore its operation with confidence that comes from having survived the floods of 1993 and 2011.
“I think we will get this business back over time,” Ostrander said. “We’ve been through this before in Hamburg. It just takes time.”
Of course, the AgriVision business would love to be back using the entirety of its building in Hamburg right now. Due to forecast models which indicate flooding to be likely in the spring, that might not be the best move however.
Ostrander said the plans for a higher levee at Ditch 6 are definitely encouraging for AgriVision, as the structure would provide a much better flood protection. Since the levee work has been delayed until spring due to water being on both sides of the current levee, the flooding prospects are at an increased risk level.
In addition, Ostrander said AgriVision must consider what type of insurance protection the business can obtain to protect investments in buildings that could be flooded again in 2020.
The short term plan for getting some of its space back and then hanging on through the spring season next year before committing to a bigger refurbishing project and a longer term plan seems to be the best way to go right now.
Ostrander said AgriVision’s intention is definitely to remain in Hamburg and to get the business back to where it was pre-flood, for its customers and also for its employees. Both customers and employees, Ostrander said, have been loyal in trying times.
The loss of interstate access cut Nebraska customers off from the Hamburg store. Other customers faced long drives around flooding to reach the business. Meanwhile, employees were dealing with the same kind of aggravation.
The good news is that the recovery process has been marching forward. There is a plan and funding for the new levee and all are anxious for that to begin. The road from Hamburg exit into the community appears to be getting close to re-opening as well.
“It will be a huge efficiency for our employees and for our customers,” Ostrander said of the road work.
The refurbishing work at AgriVision has been going well and Ostrander said he was very appreciative of local contractors working to meet needs while their time is in high demand everywhere. Ostrander further said that Hamburg Electric has been great to work with on the project.
“They have been absolutely phenomenal about coming in to do things when we need them to do things,” Ostrander said.
Being in Hamburg, Ostrander said, has been a great experience for him.
Ostrander started with AgriVision at the Hamburg site 15 years ago. Although he said the circumstances are unfortunate, he has enjoyed reconnecting with the customers and with the community of Hamburg while dedicating two days of each work week to spending time at Hamburg.