Hurricane Harvey has thrust a Minnesota power supplies maker into overdrive as workers scramble to manufacture and ship enough power cords to help restore electricity to flooded Houston and its surrounding communities.
Trystar’s 150 workers in Faribault have been working around the clock — three shifts a day — since last weekend, when Harvey first slammed into the Gulf Coast, flooding neighborhoods and causing massive power outages.
“We’ve had workers running 12- and 14-hour shifts. We have produced 300 miles of cable so far this week and shipped it down,” said President Chris Dahl. The workers have produced a month’s worth of product in six days.
Orders for Trystar’s products have poured in from equipment rental companies that service cities, emergency responders, health care and charity groups.
Trystar’s cable and generator products are already approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), so the truckloads of supplies it is sending down are being escorted into the city of Houston by police and other emergency workers.
“It’s physically taxing but we just look at the pictures on the news and keep going,” Dahl said. “We’ve got to help get power back to all those hospitals, grocery stores and 911 call centers.”
While business often gets busier following a disaster, Hurricane Harvey has pushed Trystar to a level “unprecedented in scale,” said founder and Chief Executive Rick Dahl.
The goal is to help get the tools to hospitals, 911 call centers and shelters so they can power up generators and distribute power.
Trystar doesn’t make generators. However, it does make generator-docking stations and heavy-duty power cables that can disperse the electricity from one backup generator to equipment and machines throughout a factory, hospital, school, store, shelter or city hall.
As the floodwater recedes, Trystar’s power cables, connectors and electrical cabinets will soon be encased in trucks along with generators.
The trucks will be parked in neighborhoods, allowing homeowners without power to get the electricity needed to run fans, laptops and other key equipment.