A week before Thanksgiving, a blizzard struck Buffalo, New York. An unprecedented six inches per hour fell for 24 hours, accumulating up to 70 inches of snow in some areas (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/19/nyregion/buffalo-ny-snowstorm-blizzard.html). By the end of the storm, six feet had fallen.
Anticipating these conditions, Long Island’s East End Group sent a team of 32 men nearly ten hours upstate to Buffalo to provide aid. The decision to go north was made only 48 hours earlier on Tuesday. By Thursday morning, the team was on their way. Jason Ostrander, COO of the East End Group, said of this plan, “This was perfectly timed because there was no sign of snow coming downstate so [ample] resources could be rerouted to the Buffalo area.” Knowing they were able to spare the manpower and equipment, the East End Group was more than happy to lend their professionals and state-of-the-art snow-removal machinery to the digging-out efforts.
The team cites their success in having a predetermined plan. Getting to Buffalo with all their equipment prior to the storm was essential. All the machinery had to be gassed up before the snow began to fall, as they knew gas stations would be closed later. The snow melters needed to be run for several hours beforehand as prep. Jason and the President of East End Group, James Funfgeld went with the team to manage the efforts onsite, while Managing Partner, Ryan Dempsey, and VP of Operations J.P. Sanieski remained on Long Island to head up a remote command center.
Arriving at their destination at 8 pm, the team immediately set to work preparing their equipment and procuring gas. Snowfall began at 9:15 pm that same night and continued to fall through the following Tuesday. The final snowfall was six feet. Lake effect resulted in uneven distribution of snow, so the team carefully assigned different machines to the various regions of Buffalo based on need. Melters, for example, were used where there was too much snow to plow. Taking into consideration these unruly factors, the team was able to adjust their initial plan to evenly remove snow regardless of the amount.
As the storm moved over the city, the team followed. Throughout the effort, the team stayed completely mobile. Their primary focus, however, was the commercial sections of the city and its surrounding areas. Thanks to their work, as the team left Buffalo, businesses were already beginning to reopen. Residential communities required undoubtedly require more time as local municipalities worked on primary, then secondary, and finally tertiary roads.
East End Group’s emphasis on flexibility and adaptability allowed them to provide the necessary aid to Buffalo during the city’s time of need. Planning and dexterity were the difference between success and failure. This blizzard was brutal, but the after-effects were lessened by the presence of East End Group’s team. Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel interviewed a member of the team on their work to dig out the city, a nice nod to the work of every man in the crew. We would be remiss if we didn’t note that the stress due to the storm occurring just before Thanksgiving. Many members of the crew were worried they may not make it home in time for the holiday with loved ones and friends. Ryan, James, Jason, and J.P. all took care to be motivational and supportive throughout the experience. In the end, the team supported each other and made it home for the holiday with a day to spare.
Looking back on the overall experience, Jason noted the meaningful lessons learned. He was thrilled with the team’s performance, noting, “I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with any company other than East End Group.”