Parker: Recent storms will have continued economic impact

Many Dayton-area families and businesses were lucky when the tornadoes hit on the late evening of Memorial Day.  But … many others were not.

Thanks to first responders and many brave and selfless neighbors and friends, we got through those first few days of shock, trauma and for many, survival.  We are now in stages 2 and 3 as we all help to respond to not only the massive clean-up, but also assessing the damages, submitting claims (if we have insurance … many do not), or seeking help from organizations like the American Red Cross or governments that may have resources or contacts for many to use as they rebuild.  And rebuild we

Phil Parker, president & CEO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce


However, rebuilding our properties is only part of the efforts needed in rebuilding our communities.  The deep worry and mental anguish must be considered, too.  And many will need help in days and months to come in dealing with these issues.

But as we move on to stage 4, the actual repair and rebuilding of structures and especially homes, we must all understand and agree that this will not only take time … for many it will be months … for others it might be a year or more, but it will take huge amounts of resources. Not just money, but also human capital … people, construction workers, builders, remodelers and more with important skill sets.

One of my greatest concerns is how fast can we get these many skilled workers in place to help rebuild our structures.  Even before the storms, the construction industry was busy and doing well.  Some had future projects already in the pipeline to fill 6 months to a year or more of work.  But what happens now when you add the desperate needs of those afflicted by the storms?  Well, the answer isn’t easy and may not be quick to assess.  For some contractors under current contracts, adding new work will be difficult and could come at a cost.  Access to materials could also be delayed.

So what are we to do?  First, let’s look locally to our area professionals who could help us.  Organizations with a strong, pro-community reputation should be your first choice before agreeing to outside or unknown help.  Organizations like:

  • The Home Builders Association (HBA) of Dayton
  • Miami Valley NARI – The remodeling association
  • The Dayton Area Board of REALTORS
  • Association Builders & Contractors (ABC – commercial builders)
  • Dayton Builders Exchange
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Area chambers of commerce

These are just a few suggestions for trusted, local professional informed help and contact information for all can be found on websites or cellular information services.  But I implore you to be watchful of scams or fraud.  This is one good reason to check with our local BBB (Better Business Bureau) who can help you with information concerning not only local businesses performing these repairs; but because of its nationwide network, could be of assistance if you are dealing with unknown out-of-town contractors.

One last point on this.  We will have outside help coming from Cincinnati, Columbus, Lima, Richmond or other areas that can help our citizens rebuild.  The vast majority are honest, forthright professionals.  But … there are some who may not be.  Here is where the BBB and others can be of great assistance.  Born in Florida, I was raised around hurricanes and was ashamed of the fraud that occurred when some preyed upon those most vulnerable … the elderly or those with no options.  My advice is … be careful.  Check out those who seem to be selling something too good to be true.  If you are able to stay local with your repairs, many of us can better control their actions or any problems.

The economic impact, once fully assessed, will be in the millions of dollars for construction repairs alone.  But what about job losses or layoffs?  What about businesses and their losses?  What about worker productivity or having to adjust to different family needs?  This is all encompassing when we look at the total economic and human-capital impact of these terrible severe storms.  This will take months, maybe even years, to resolve … but together we will.

Remember … we are Daytonians … no matter where we live in the region.  And we are DAYTON STRONG.  We have faced many other hardships together.  We will rebuild and we will once again get back to something that feels more normal.  God blessed us in that there could have been more killed or hurt during these tragic storms.  But stage 4 next steps will take time and economically impact us more than we are currently thinking.  That work lies ahead of us, so we might as well stand tall and get to it … together!

Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President and CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

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