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.”