PCTI Overcomes Flood, Keeps Projects On Track

Because it is located close to the Connoquenessing creek, PCTI has an action plan for when the water gets high. Nobody was prepared for what was to come on the night of May 28th, 2019 when a flash flood ravaged the small town of Zelienople.

“Everything on the floor up to two feet was lost. Every bottom file drawer in the office, and electric components on the floor. Even today, (almost two months later) we are finding flood water in things,” said Cathy Chis, President of PCTI.

The flood waters from the Connoquenessing and heavy rain rose to 15.33 feet and stayed there throughout the entire next day. Because of this, PCTI was inaccessible until the flood waters receded. When the team was able to enter and assess the damage, they saw that mud and debris were left covering the company.

“It was very traumatic. People were very emotional regarding the lost files because it represented a lot of work and dedication. It was in a emotional process to clean up and throw away things that represented years of work. Although all critical files are backed up electronically in the cloud, a paperless office is not a reality, and being that the company is 28 years old, many historical files were all paper,” said Chis.

Although there was a rocky road ahead, everybody worked together to clean up and get back to normal. The first day back was so overwhelming that a cooler was stocked with beer for team members to boost morale.
The goal was to clean up and get back to an environment where production could resume. Despite the chaos, emotion, and loss that everyone had experienced, some PCTI workers were working in production within 3 to 4 days of the flood. It took an enormous amount of effort, teamwork, and extra time poured into cleaning to get the company back on track.

“The workforce was determined to meet our customer needs and went above and beyond in every way,” said Chis.

Due to the lease of the building expiring 3 days after the flood, the drywall has not been repaired. From 4 feet down, there is no drywall due to water damage. There are no rugs or tiles, and the air-conditioning has been down during record breaking heat of the summer. Evaporative air coolers will be cooling the manufacturing area and high CFM equipment cooling fans fitted with cords provide a personal cooling fan for each team member.

“The restoration company boxed up the office items, furniture and other items and moved everything into the manufacturing area. Things are still boxed up and it is often difficult to locate things we need,” said Chis.

Despite 2 feet of water in the entire building, unusually, PCTI’s servers never went down. Phone communication temporarily stopped but gradually started to work again within a few days.

It is remarkable that despite the working conditions, teamwork and determination over and above the call of duty prevailed to bring the 27-year-old defense contractor back to normal business within a short time. The flood was definitely a testament to our employees’ dedication to our customers and their passion for the company’s mission of excellence in power electronics.

Video footage of flood damage


Click here for local news article on more damage caused by this storm

Connoquenessing Flooding, Photo Credit: NewsChopper 2/KDKA

About PCTI

Power Conversion Technologies, Inc. is a certified DBE woman-owned business. PCTI designs and manufactures leading edge power electronic equipment in the highest power ranges. PCTI’s engineering staff has in-depth knowledge in the key areas of power conversion such as power semiconductor analysis and application, thermal exchange, magnetic design, packaging, DSP (digital signal processor) control for inverters, frequency converters, DC power supplies, battery chargers and dischargers. Contact us for more information on our products, applications assistance, or pricing. If you already know what you are looking for, use our easy, online form to request a quote.

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