February 21, 2021

CEO Message: When Times Get Bad, Our Community Inspires

It’s happened again. Unprecedented and unforeseeable events continue to shape our world – or at least shape the state of things in the great State of Texas.

I am not an energy generation and transmission expert, but I think it is safe to assume that when utility providers planned for infrastructure and emergencies, they did not foresee a storm system that began with ice followed by record snow, and ending with six days of below freezing high temperatures throughout nearly the entire state. That would have been a feat of planning bordering on clairvoyance. The damage and disruption caused to so many families has been heartbreaking.

Yet again, the rise of “quiet heroes” brought us through it. The people that found a way to get to work. Neighbors lending a hand to clean up branches. Utility providers out in the worst of conditions so they could bring everyone’s standard of living back to some level of normalcy.

I watch Round Rock in these times with a sense of awe, and huge amount of pride. That is probably unusual for someone who’s only lived here for a year and a half, but the Round Rock response to events like this is truly inspiring.

Just two examples:

Healthcare professionals who braved the outdoor conditions to get to the hospital where they work, completed their shift, then slept in make-do accommodations onsite – all to ensure they could provide continuous service to the community. Keep in mind, these are all people who had the same kind of home and family concerns the rest of us did during the storm, and are still fighting a pandemic twelve moths along.

The first responders (police and fire), transportation, and utility teams with the City of Round Rock are another shining example. The team effort they organized across departments prevented significant and wide-reaching damages that would have been catastrophic to families in our city. Their efforts kept basic public utilities working in Round Rock for thousands of residents in spite of other outages and shortages in the area.

Quiet heroes working in the background to help prevent and minimize as much damage and disruption as possible. It really amounts to neighbors helping each other. I find that profoundly inspiring.

Is this inherently a business issue? No. I’ll be back in this space soon to inform the Chamber and the community about issues and concerns facing businesses.

Policy makers have already begun the work of reviewing what happened, and are considering options of what to change to prevent this kind of disruption in the future. That is appropriate. I encourage them to take a business-minded approach and focus less on placing responsibility and more on increasing the reliability of the whole system.

Our families deserve that kind of clear-eyed approach. And so do Round Rock’s quiet heroes who again answered the call of a community in need.

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