Marlene Santos, Gulf Power
Managing through crisis comes with the territory
In September, as Hurricane Sally headed toward Northwest Florida, Pensacola-based Gulf Power set up a dozen staging areas to respond to expected power outages. Typically, the utility company’s hurricane-response plan would include fewer staging sites, but because of COVID-19 more room was needed to allow for social distancing among employees.
The hurricane ultimately made landfall near Pensacola as a Category 2 storm, bringing heavy rain and flooding. Nearly two-thirds of Gulf Power’s customers lost electricity. During the next week, Gulf Power CEO Marlene Santos oversaw the deployment of about 7,000 restoration workers, while also participating in daily news briefings and updating state and local officials on recovery efforts.
“Clearly, it’s been a challenging time,” Santos says, referring to both an active hurricane season and the coronavirus pandemic. “Hurricanes are a crisis, so we’re used to it.”
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