2018 was a busy year across the United States for the disaster restoration industry. Locally, Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration saw a heightened volume of calls year-round for natural disasters and other typical day to day emergencies. “This year felt like it was one natural event after another within our service areas”, said Josh Contraguerro VP of Marketing for Panhandle.
In January, our entire region felt a strong dip in temperatures which lead to hundreds of water losses. At one point during the freeze, Panhandle’s emergency services teams had 17 active water losses on 9 different college campuses spanning 3 states. As February approached, the temperatures warmed up and the rain began to fall. The rain caused flash flooding events in the Wheeling and Pittsburgh markets. Just days later, the Ohio River crested above flood stage. Panhandle employees worked long days making sure every commercial and residential customer received the best possible service. The spring and summer months brought intense isolated thunderstorms to the region. At this point, it was almost a weekly routine that a neighborhood within the company coverage area was getting hit. As the valley approached the “end” of storm season, the Ohio River again came out of its banks. “Our employee dedication to helping people and businesses recover from these events is remarkable. Most employees had many hours of overtime on a weekly basis to make sure jobs were being done correctly. We are fortunate to have some of the best employees in the industry” stated Contraguerro.
Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration’s growth was organization wide. The Corporate Headquarters in Wheeling, WV added more staff in all areas of the company. Panhandle’s Morgantown, WV office saw its full-time staff double in a years’ time. Not to be outdone, the number of employees working within the Pittsburgh, PA location nearly tripled in 2018.
Panhandle’s growth did not stop with the addition of employees. In the fall of 2018, Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration announced 2 more buildings for their South Wheeling Campus to be constructed in 2019. “After these 2 additions are complete, Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration will operate out of more than 200,000 square foot of properties” said Contraguerro. Additionally, in 2018 Panhandle’s fleet of vehicles grew by more than 30, giving a total of 150+ vehicles on the road around the region.
In addition to highly trained and skilled employees, Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration has always separated itself by continuing to reinvest in the latest technologies and equipment. In 2018 this was no different. “This year we added over 750 pieces of brand-new restoration equipment. This includes dehumidifiers, air movers and HEPA air scrubbers”, said Contraguerro. Panhandle also added multiple brand-new truck mounted extraction units used for professional carpet cleaning and water extraction during emergencies. “Adding brand new equipment to our ever-growing inventory ensures our employees have the best tools on the market to be able to save more building materials after a loss than ever before. Being one of the largest owners of this specialized equipment in the country helps give our customers the peace of mind that we will never have to turn down a job because we don’t have enough equipment.”, explained Contraguerro.
On a national scale, the United States saw 2 major hurricanes pummel the East while wild fires tore through the West. Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration typically deploys Catastrophe Response Teams nationwide but chose not to leave their standard coverage area this year. “Many people have asked us why we hadn’t responded to any of these major events this year. The answer is simple. We have always said that we would never put our home customers in danger of not receiving the ‘Panhandle Standard’ to out of town. With the volume of work in our 3 main markets we made a company decision to make sure our customers were #1. Our employees were working so hard in our own coverage area all year and we did not want to make them pack up and leave town for an extended period.”, clarified Contraguerro.
About Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration
Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration is the region’s leading provider of disaster recovery services. Panhandle was founded in 1977 by Robert C. Contraguerro, Sr., whose commitment to fairness, honesty, and quality work helped the company quickly establish a reputation for the quality of its services and the professionalism of its team. Operating out of offices in Wheeling, WV – Morgantown, WV – Pittsburgh, PA Panhandle covers all of West Virginia, Eastern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland and responds to catastrophes nationwide. Learn more at www.panhandlecr.com.