Fred Wallin, vice president of marketing for AFG Industries Inc. in Kingsport,
Tenn., told USGNN in an interview that Hurricane Katrina had no direct effect
on any of the company's primary facilities.
Three of its fabrication and distribution facilities, however, were affected.
The Apelousas, La., operation, which was west of the hurricane line, had utility
problems. The company estimates that 15 percent of the customers served by the
Apelousas location were affected by the storm.
"Reaching them was the biggest problem, so everyone used cell phones,"
AFG's Baton Rouge facility had some minor roof damage, as well as utility and
fuel problems. Wallin said that they estimated 80 percent of its customers were
affected by the storm. At the Birmingham, Ala., facility, 15 percent of customers
west and south of the location were affected by the hurricane.
"Other than the devastation to the population in those areas, there were
also our direct customers whose businesses were destroyed," Wallin said.
On the primary side, that included fabricators and distributors, and on the fabrication
side, the contract glazing companies.
In the long term, Wallin sees the effect in the areas on building materials
delayed because it will take a while to get into the construction cycle, and then
to go from what is salvageable to what has to be completely rebuilt. "The
first priority is going to be to reestablish the infrastructure (phones, electricity,
water) and then they'll start assessing what the rebuilding effort is going to
be," he stated.