**UPDATE**6.12.18 Learn more about Barbara Stokes in this Ideamensch interview.
From its Huntsville headquarters and manufacturing facilities, GSH of Alabama, LLC (GSH) reaches out to those in the most desperate need with temporary housing that can be erected within just a few days of delivery, often right in a displaced resident’s driveway. It can also provide temporary commercial structures to help businesses quickly reestablish themselves, preserving the economy, jobs and vital goods and services.
When disaster strikes, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is boots on the ground with expertise and resources. The Agency gets involved when the disaster overwhelms the local and state resources to effectively respond. Every situation is different, from the type of destruction to immediate and ongoing needs. Procedures need to be flexible and resources reliable. Count GSH OF ALABAMA among the latter. Barbara Stokes has established GSH on the FEMA Register as a Disaster Relief Construction Contractor prepared to assist, upon request, during an emergency situation caused by natural disaster.
About a month after Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas late last August, causing massive flooding, GSH OF ALABAMA was on contract and engaged in support operations using its proven capabilities and rapid response. GSH doesn’t slap roofs over heads but provides housing in a safe, sustainable way that keeps victims moving forward in their recovery.
We’re talking weeks, months, even years for homeowners to wade through the process of insurance claims, funding requests for the uninsured and reconstruction. Substandard housing and emergency shelters are not viable long-term options. Neither are expensive motels or rentals.
In support of GSH’s $28 million contract, most of the temporary housing GSH delivered to FEMA by March of 2018 was directed to the Houston area. The city was particularly hard hit, blamed in part on uncontrolled development in recent years. While the initial focus was on restoring commerce in the inner city, a massive number of outlying residential areas would initially see only the very basic of relief measures.
GSH takes on every step of the design to the manufacturing process to exact specifications and takes it a big step further with its ingenuity. One of the manufacturing aspects Stokes is most proud of are the fully automated fire suppression systems included in each MHU, or manufactured housing unit, as they say in the business.
Consistent, standardized manufacturing by GSH means affordability, and this is a massive win for the US taxpayer as they receive more value for the FEMA budget allocated.
Since these homes can often be erected on the homeowner’s property, impacts of relocation, such as jobs and schooling, can be reduced, neighborhood support systems can remain intact, and families can easily be a part of cleanup and rebuilding.
For communities rebuilding themselves, GSH hires from the local workforce, injecting a significant portion of the federal contract funding back into the local economy.
Extending its arc, to meet the demand of the FEMA contract, GSH built relationships with existing manufacturing facilities in seven additional states, significantly increasing its workforce and positively impacting those communities.
— HsvMayorsOffice (@HsvMayorsOffice) March 14, 2018
Barbara Stokes majored in biomedical engineering and physics at Mercer University in Georgia, where she added manufacturing, management, and structures of properties and materials to her studies, providing her the tools she would eventually need to be a successful entrepreneur. While interning for The Boeing Company, Barbara Stokes developed the expertise in government contracting procedures that give GSH a competitive edge. GSH has proved itself time and again, from contracts for bollards at Eglin Air Force Base to navigating the complexities of planning, engineering and permitting for large-scale construction. Both she and Scott Stokes, a project manager and former corporate pilot who is now GSH’s chief operations officer, work tirelessly to provide the best overall value for GSH’s customers.
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