Rochester man receives IBM Volunteer Excellence award for emergency communications service
Robert Andrews receives IBM Volunteer Excellence award for emergency communications service
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KXLT) -- In light of extreme weather week, we take a look at a local man who is on scene providing emergency communications for events spanning from RochesterFest, to Hurricane Sandy.
For his work, he has been awarded the IBM Volunteer Excellence Award. Robert Andrews is one of 12 global recipients out of more than 260,000 IBM volunteer employees.
"When there's a weather emergency or other type of disaster that we might need to respond to, we'll generally get on air from wherever we're located," says Andrews.
Robert Andrews' day job is being an IBM consultant, in his spare time, he sits on the front lines of chaos like Hurricane Sandy, providing emergency response communications from this chair, operating from a radio the size of a toaster oven.
"I was responsible for setting up some of the offices and communication infrastructure after the event happened," Andrews says. "This involved creating data networks, and voice networks that really allowed the other first responders to serve the citizens of the New York greater area."
For the times he does have to be where the action is, he needs to be there virtually at the drop of a hat.
"We have two hours to be ready to go," says Andrews. "From there, within 12 hours of the original call we need to be on location anywhere in the continental United States and within 18 hours, we need to have our first reports filed."
While off the clock at IBM, Andrews has punched in 5,200 hours of volunteer service in times of need. Hours mostly unseen by those he's serving, yet he wouldn't have it any other way.
"What gives me the most satisfaction is when people experience an event, and they really don't notice us," he says. "It's when we go so smoothly and so well, that the communications in the background wasn't a problem."
Someone who has noticed, is Big Blue itself. Andrews has been awarded the Volunteer Excellence Award, one of the highest honors in the company.
"To have someone that recognizes me for that work felt very good," he says.
Andrews will keep on working to provide his country's needs no matter how big or how small. The next planned event Andrews will be volunteering for is this year's Med City Marathon over Memorial Day weekend.
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