The polar vortex that plunged Texas into record low temperatures last month left local agencies struggling to keep their businesses going and, in some cases, a roof over their employees’ heads. With outages leaving basic services like water and heating suddenly cut off for millions, offices became temporary shelters while some coworkers became housemates, opening up their own homes to fellow staffers.
“Texas may be 50/50 on politics, but they were 100% for Texans that week,” says Crystal Anderson, partner and strategy director at Dallas-based 3Headed Monster. “Those with power and heat were quick to offer up their homes to their friends, coworkers and strangers. One friend made hundreds of tacos and collected blankets to distribute to the homeless.”
Anderson says restaurants offered free meals, while retailers like Houston’s Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale opened their doors to provide shelter. Still, the storms took their toll on local businesses, including the ad community, some of whom saw their offices decimated by flooding caused by burst frozen pipes. But they also saw people rally together like never before—in part out of necessity, without swift enough action and support from the Texas government.
Amp members based in Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth shared their stories, takeaways and perspectives following last month’s devastating storms.