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NEW ORLEANS -- "It's not a matter of preparations for 'if;' it's a matter of preparing for 'when,' " said Rick Schneider, general manager of asset development for Chevron North America Exploration and Production, at Chevron's Hurricane Preparedness Summit 2006 in New Orleans, La.
This theme ran throughout the summit held in the Katrina-stricken city of New Orleans. The two-day meeting, held July 11-12, educated marketers on the new plans that Chevron has put in place to prepare for a hurricane, as well as recognizing the things that Chevron had done well and those things it still needed to work on.
The summit was held in New Orleans to show marketers the effects a major hurricane can have on a region, and make marketers realize that "preparedness is the first priority," according to Danny Roden, vice president, North America marketing for Chevron.
"Last year's season forced us to raise the bar, this is a communications exercise to let them know there are plans in place … It's a call to action," he told CSNews Online at the event.
Keynote speaker and president of global marketing, Shariq Yosufzai, told guests "We must raise the bar, it's the smart thing to do for business and the country."
He added that marketers and Chevron all need to "commit to finding new ways to benefit customers and the communities we are so privileged to serve." He added that Chevron will stand behind marketers with their preparations.
Among the new aspects of the preparedness plan was the addition of 50 more generators to retail locations, bringing the number of stores that can still operate without power to 100. Also, marketers were given evacuation routes for all the states that could be susceptible to a hurricane, from Texas to Maryland.
Chevron noted that those stores along the evacuation routes have a "responsibility to the community" and would need to be open longer to facilitate residents that are leaving the area.
It also provided checklists for the marketers, outlining the processes that need to be done in the days before a hurricane as well as the day of the storm and in the days after. The checklist aims to reduce the amount of time a station is shut down, and to facilitate the re-opening process.
Another aspect of the preparedness plan is the contracts that have been developed between trucking transportation and Chevron. To ensure that stations will be able to open and supply customers with the fuel they need, 17 trucks from various areas have been signed up to deliver fuels to the affected regions.
For a complete outline of Chevron's Hurricane Preparedness plan, as well as what other companies are doing to prepare it's retailers, see Convenience Store News' August 28 issue.