For Suburban Propane drivers and service techs in New England, New York, Colorado and the Great Northwest, coping with snowfalls of a foot or more is just part of the job. But below the Mason-Dixon line – in mild-weather states such as Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas – dealing with repeated storms that drop a dozen-plus inches of the white stuff is practically unheard-of…until this winter.
Three major snowfalls in January and February overwhelmed road crews and challenged Southerners that rarely have to cope with anything more than a coating of snow. At CSC 1162 in Winston-Salem, NC, CSC Manager Colin W. noted: "To date, we have had over 61" of snow, and it's still snowing! This is a serious trial for us, because the North Carolina DOT is not used to such conditions and simply cannot keep up. Inclines are so steep in these mountains – especially near our satellite facility in Boone, NC – that even our 4-wheel-drive vehicles cannot always negotiate the terrain."
But just because the going got tough, doesn't mean that Suburban Propane employees didn't keep going. "My team has persevered relentlessly," Colin adds. "They have been working very long hours and have been taking in temporary tanks when needed just to help our customers get through the worst of this weather. Often wading through waist-deep snow to get their deliveries made, office personnel manning phones on the weekend, and fighting all the challenges of the elements. We've brought in team members on many occasions from the more temperate areas of our market and these guys have willingly chipped in to assist in every way possible – and will continue to do so for some time to come, based on current weather predictions."
The same pattern was repeated throughout the South, as evidenced by a letter from a customer of CSC 1160 in Charlotte, NC. "I had a tank that needed immediate refilling for the Federal Aviation Administration," writes Terry Dransfield of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. "We had an extended run on an engine/generator that provides backup power for air navigation guidance and runway detection, and it used up all the fuel. I called Suburban Propane on a storm warning day for ice, sleet and snow, and everyone was very helpful and polite. The CSRs kept working the problem until a positive correction could be accomplished. I appreciate their efforts to getting an empty tank filled and my problem resolved."
Speaking for his own group, Colin concluded with words that apply to every Suburban Propane CSC that took on a winter that hit the South harder than ever before: "We have a team to be envied here at CSC 1162. I couldn't be more proud of them all. Well done!"