Fluor: Mobilizing After Disaster to Serve and Supply

With $4.2 billion in federal contracts in FY18, Fluor rose 20 spots to land at #15 on this year’s BGOV200.

When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017, the storm left a wake of destruction, cutting power to nearly all of the island’s residents. Shortly thereafter, Fluor Corp. was hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore Puerto Rico’s electrical power grid. Within 48 hours of receiving the contract, Fluor engineers were on the ground to assess the damage while other personnel began coordinating logistics.

“The hardest thing is setting up logistics where you have no power, no internet, no cash,” says Katy Burnau, Fluor Government Group’s senior director of supply chain. “Everything was shut down. You had to find ways to communicate with suppliers.”

Luckily, Fluor already had business in Puerto Rico and relationships with local Puerto Rican contractors.

“We had the infrastructure with suppliers right there already,” Burnau says. “We already had an office.” Over the course of the project, Fluor awarded more than $185 million in business to more than 100 subcontractors on the island.

By March 2018, Fluor had installed nearly 500 miles of conductor wire and helped restore power to more than 250,000 customers. The company mobilized more than 3,300 people to work on the recovery effort.

“Every time I would go back I’d see more stoplights on,” Burnau says. “You could see the progress. It was devastating, but the people of Puerto Rico were a pleasure to work with.”

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Because of its great work restoring the power grid in Puerto Rico, Fluor was also hired by the American Red Cross to help install solar panels on schools and water treatment facilities around the island.

“It’s not their sweet spot to do construction,” Burnau says. “Their sweet spot is to run shelters.”

The ultimate goal is to complete 200 projects around the island to help make sure that critical infrastructure is protected in case of another major disaster.

Fluor is also engaged in countless other projects around the globe, and the logistics of it all keep Burnau very busy. Every year, the company awards about $13.4 billion to suppliers. As a supply chain director, Burnau is responsible for making sure that all of the materials get to where they need to be, whether that’s Puerto Rico, a U.S. Army forward operating base in Afghanistan, or a nuclear facility in Canada.

“We’re there to supply everything the project needs, whether that be equipment rental, all the way down to office supplies and specialty materials,” she says. “You name, it we buy it.”

Other companies on the BGOV200 interested in sharing their story can contact us here.