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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Check out this Inspiring Story of Leadership

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

As everyone knows, we had one heck of a storm in Texas. People were without power and water for days. We had freezing temperatures INSIDE homes and businesses. People were left to their own devices to combat the elements. There were stories of families melting snow to flush toilets, warming rocks in gas fireplaces to heat sheets at night and using the snow to refrigerate food. There were more dire situations where people’s homes were completely uninhabitable and businesses were severely damaged.

Now given all of that...Quick...Without thinking...Answer this question:

If you were a business owner, out of town when the storm hit, what is the first thing you would do?

Meet Denis and Sonia, co-owners of Alpha Granite a stone fabrication company in Austin, Texas. Their business needs a lot of power and water on a daily basis. They employ about 50 people who live throughout the greater Austin area.

When the storm hit, the streets were impassable and the city was not equipped to clear roads or restore power and water. Sonia and Denis were out of town with their son and wouldn’t be able to get back any time soon.

What do you think they did?

“The biggest challenge was making sure our team was okay. We had at least seven employees with no power. We managed to find generators at an out of town Lowes. We got Chris, an old employee, to get them and some extension cords and then delivered them to each employee. He was our hero.”

Denis and Sonia spent every morning making sure that their employees had what they needed before they turned to the needs of the business.

Things were a mess at Alpha Granite. There were burst pipes everywhere and they had to cut off water at the main line, stopping all production.

They scrambled to get back to Austin as soon as travel was safe. Things began to thaw out and power was returned to their business, but the power grid was still tenuous. Again they demonstrated thinking of their business in the context of a greater community.

“The other dilemma was even though we had power, was it right to just crank it all up as normal? We didn’t think so, so we rented a huge commercial generator to run the plant for at least a week.”

Let’s recap: before they addressed the repairs to their business, Denis and Sonia :

-Made sure their employees were safe and sound.

-Worked to assure that they were not draining resources from the community.

But wait, there's more.

While still out of town, they found out that one of their employees with twin baby boys had lost power and water. Denis and Sonia’s own home had been spared, with power and water intact. They offered the use of their home to this employee. The employee’s family was able to relocate to comfort and warmth until their own home was habitable.

When Sonia and Denis returned, they reached out to friends and were able to house two other families who had been without power and water for days.

Times of trial shine a light on the values that people hold. One of Alpha Granite’s company values states “Success is built by supporting an environment of mutual commitment, teamwork and appreciation for one another.” Denis and Sonia certainly embodied that value. May we all be inspired.

Tell us a story of how you modeled your values!

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