As I write this column, one week has passed since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. By the time this issue hits the streets, two months will have elapsed and I can't even gues...
November 1, 2001
As I write this column, one week has passed since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. By the time this issue hits the streets, two months will have elapsed and I can’t even guess at the state of affairs in which this column will ultimately be read.
Cabling Systems would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to all of those who suffered as a result of these tragedies.
As a media outlet, we have been hearing details of the events, almost as they unfold. And while most of the stories are of destruction and horror, we have also heard about many extraordinary acts of kindness. We have heard stories of brave individuals who risked their own lives to help others during the attacks. And we have heard about the heroic fire fighters and police officers who have been working around the clock in the clean-up and rescue efforts.
But we have also heard of another type of champion — the countless corporations, including many in our own industry, that have jumped in and offered their assistance. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize those cabling and telecom companies that have helped with the rescue, relief and repair efforts in New York City and Washington, DC — an utterly enormous undertaking. Independent research firm Computer Economics of Carlsbad, CA estimates that the cost of restoring IT and communications infrastructures in Manhattan and at the Pentagon could reach US$15.8 billion. To help in this arena, many companies contributed funds. For instance, Avaya pledged US$2 million across the U.S. to help with the relief effort. Tyco International set up a Heroes Fund to benefit the rescue effort and the families of New York City police and fire fighters who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. The company also made donations on behalf of every employee across all of its five business units. 3M similarly created a foundation grant which will match employee and retiree gifts, as did Anixter, which started a donation fund to match employee contributions.
Companies have also been generous in their offerings of technical assistance and expertise. Fluke Networks instituted a relief program aimed at helping to restore communications service to companies affected by the terrorist attacks. The company provided loaner equipment, technical expertise, expedited delivery and on-site assistance to companies in need. Avaya also mobilized its workforce in several ways, including putting many technicians in place in New York City to help customers reopen their businesses and at the New York Stock Exchange to help bring back trading.
Many companies donated or significantly reduced costs on products. For example, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) organized a drive for respirators, hard hats, work gloves, glasses and rain gear to send to New York. 3M also came through and provided the American Red Cross of the St. Paul area with office space and telephones, and donated such products as respirators, medical products and animal care products for search-and-rescue dogs.
Anixter enlarged its local stock to help companies in their recovery efforts. The company’s warehouse and operations personnel are working around the clock to ship and expedite mission-critical orders. In the early days after the attack, the company even delivered cases of food alongside its products to those in areas that were devastated.
Others are also doing their part, including Holocom Networks, which is assisting with efforts at the Pentagon. The company significantly reduced the pricing of its communication enclosures that will help assure the security of information at Pentagon workstations. Holocom is also working with companies in the New York City area to help restore critical communication infrastructures.
Many companies carried out some personal, internal endeavours to show their support — from holding moments of silence to setting up donation stations. The Siemon Company, for instance, held a USA Day during which all employees wore red, white and blue. The company also held a food drive for the workers/rescuers and victims’ families.
These are just the stories we have heard about. No doubt, there are countless others. But at a time of unspeakable horror, it is heartening to know that everyone is pulling together to offer their support. Perhaps Anixter’s Larry Spatz says it best: “First and foremost, our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” says Spatz, who is VP of Sales in the New York area. “But we know that it is now time to rebuild. Customers really need assistance in rebuilding infrastructure in order to do their jobs and continue pushing the economy forward.”
From donations of products and time, to company-wide fundraising efforts — these kind acts are crucial in restoring some semblance of normalcy and peace during a time when those words seem unfamiliar.