Hurricane Sandy Coverage: Kunz-Powell's Bob Powell

Bob Powell, Kunz-Powell, Malvern, Pa.

Bob said his independent rep agency in suburban Philadelphia got a fair number of orders on Monday and Tuesday, particularly for Reliance manual transfer switches. Some parts of the local area near his office were without power for about 40 to 50 hours, but it’s back on now. “Most of our distributors from Philadelphia east and north closed by Monday noon if they opened at all and opened Wednesday,” he said. “We did not ask anyone to come in on Monday or Tuesday, but Wednesday we had everyone in for product training for a new manufacturer-- we had a pretty committed national sales manager who flew in Wednesday morning.

“There was not a whole lot moving around the area until Wednesday. Delaware had issued a state of emergency keeping people off the roads. The area’s barrier islands are a real mess, but 10 miles inland it is hard to believe that there was a storm except for an occasional downed tree. Away from the coast, we had aggravation. Along the shore, some of the towns had devastation. We were lucky to have the eye hit just north of us. That allowed a wind shift that forced water out of the bay ahead of the surge and high tide, unlike the north Jersey towns.

“I don't think that the electrical repairs will start until the towns are able to get power back and debris off the roads. Wednesday was the first that folks could get in to assess the damage. The answer is probably way different for anyone supplying cable, poles, transformers or hardware to the utilities.”

Side note: This was Kunz-Powell’s year to host the annual meeting of the SERA rep networking group, which includes more than a dozen independent manufacturers’ reps, and in late September Bob and his son Brendan held the meeting at the Seaview Hotel and Golf Resort in Galloway, N.J., just a long three-iron from the causeway linking the mainland to Atlantic City. The SERA members wouldn’t have ever let Bob and Brendan forget if they held their meeting a few weeks later in a hurricane.

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