Property manager reflects on frantic time after cyclone
AS far North Queensland braced itself for Cyclone Nathan to hit its coast, it was the strength of the Ray White Central Queensland network that was tested most recently when Cyclone Marcia tore through the region.
One of the region's most experienced property management principals, John Fieldus from Ray White Gladstone, wasted no time when the Category 5 cyclone knocked out power and communication lines in Yeppoon and later that day in Rockhampton.
"You know the cyclone is coming but you can't do much until it hits," he said.
"Once the cyclone came through it was all hands on deck.
"I contacted principals David Bell at Ray White Rockhampton and Britt Wheeler at Ray White Rockhampton City to see how they were.
"The next morning I packed the car at 7am and made the 110km trip to Rocky to help out."
With 500 rentals and exposure on all sides, Rockhampton city experienced significant damage as Marcia's 180km/h wind gusts blew through the town.
Reminiscent of the 2011 floods, Mr Fieldus worked with and supported the Rockhampton City property management team through making calls to landlords, relocating tenants, and connecting displaced people with support services.
"The team is a mix of youth and 'old-school' experience which worked well, as the young people were tech savvy sending text messages and emails out while the old-schoolers set up structures and systems to manage the influx of issues," Mr Fieldus said.
"The entire team jumped on the phones and made around 1000 calls that day to tenants and landlords.
"We set up a triage system and worked out where the problems were, which helped us prioritise each individual problem.
"One of the most amazing aspects of working with the Ray White Rockhampton City team was the willingness of their sales team to make calls to distressed tenants and landlords, and then deploy to the rental properties to make onsite inspections and take photos."
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Mr Fieldus said these types of incidents were never resolved overnight.
"I will call the Rockhampton City team regularly just to check that they are going okay," he said.
"It was a character building experience for the team and remarkable team effort. But that is the spirit of the Central Queensland offices."