Global Vacuum Systems still serving customers as rebuild continues following tornado that ripped through the manufacturing facility


Just three weeks after a tornado slammed through a portion of Global Vacuum System’s manufacturing facility, staff are still putting the pieces back together, but are keeping up with production.

The Navasota, Texas-based company, founded in 1985, was hit by a tornado in the afternoon hours of Thursday, May 26.

“We were looking out the window and it came in pretty fast,” says Ryan Goodman, sales consultant for the company that custom designs and builds vacuum trucks and trailers. “We had no idea a tornado was coming. We all got into the server room and had to put a table in front of the door. We heard glass breaking and everything banging outside.”

The facility includes a fabrication shop, rigging shop, and paint shop. The paint shop was leveled by the tornado.

“Luckily our general manger sent the painters home 30 minutes before the tornado hit,” Goodman says. “If they would’ve been in the paint shop, there absolutely would have been no way anybody would have survived that. So that was a blessing.”

Both the fabrication and rigging shops also suffered extensive damage, but the paint shop was brought down to the ground.

“We also had the power lines come down across the top of our office building,” Goodman says. “After the tornado came through we had to wait for emergency crews to come and release us from the building.”

There were 27 employees on site when the storm hit and no one was injured.

“It was kind of surreal, everything was moving in slow motion like it was a dream or something,” Goodman says. “When it was done and all the commotion was over, we looked out the window and you saw what happened. It was crazy.”

REBUILDING AT WORK

The Tuesday after the storms, company owner L.C. Sutton called a meeting to let the employees know what the next steps were.

“For the past weeks we’ve been picking up and rebuilding,” Goodman says. “The guys are motivated. There’s lot of downsides to this, but there are also positives too. It’s helping build moral because everyone is ready to build and get back going.”

Subscribe: If you don't want to bring your iPad into the bathroom, we can send you a magazine subscription for free!

Employees have been part of the cleanup effort.

“Everyone’s willing to get their hands dirty and build this back up again and get where it needs to be and that’s been exciting,” Goodman says. “Seeing the employees out there and working and not worried about their jobs, that keeps moral high.”

STILL SERVING CUSTOMERS

Subscribe: Save the trees for beavers, sign up for our E-Newsletter!

There’s hasn’t been much of a slowdown in serving its customers and Goodman still making sales calls daily. While the paint shop is being rebuilt, the company is subbing that work out, but expects to take it back on once the building is rebuilt.

“We have a smaller shop that we’re able to work out of,” Goodman says. “We had jobs in progress when the tornado hit and we’re finishing those out now. There’s some minor cosmetic stuff we had to fix when the tanks were hit and things like that. We’re adapting, overcoming and succeeding.”

Goodman is looking forward to when the rebuilding will be completed, but can’t put an exact time frame to it.

“I know our company is going to be stronger after this,” Goodman says. “That’s the plus side to all this. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to come out and everybody is going to be better and the company is going to be better.”


Related Stories

Like this story? Sign up for alerts!