Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent tropical storm that dumped more than 50 inches of rain in areas of Houston left both plan sponsors and money managers scrambling to implement closures and disaster recovery plans.
Fixed-income manager Garcia Hamilton & Associates LP, located in downtown Houston, opened its offices Aug. 30 for the first time since the hurricane made landfall Aug. 25, with about 10 of its 32 employees present.
"We've been in our building for about 13 years, and so we have had our disaster recovery tested about two or three times," said Gilbert A. Garcia, managing partner, in a telephone interview. "We were prepared from that standpoint, but the devastation is just unimaginable."
"I live in the middle of town in a house that's relatively new and my house is very tall, but the other houses on my street, most of them had at least 3 to 5 feet of water in them," Mr. Garcia said. "I have a neighbor and it's a 4,000-square-foot beautiful red-brick home with 3 feet of water, and we saw him get rescued by a police boat. My street was a river, I mean a RIVER, for three days."
Mr. Garcia said his home was completely isolated for several days after the storm began. "It took a while to get up to speed. There was no internet, no radio, no TV. You couldn't leave your house." The business "never missed a beat" and never lost contact with any of its information systems such as servers, all located well off-site, Mr. Garcia said.
"We've had an outpouring of support from clients, consultants, brokers, and that's been beautiful," he said. "People trying to send donations, channeling it to different charitable organizations, people offering for us to work out of their offices."