HOUSTON -- Its been
an extremely challenging week for Judy Peblinski.
Based in Houston,
Peblinski, or J.P., is director of TQ3Navigants oil and gas and
marine services division, a business travel unit within Navigant
that specializes in moving people in the energy
At a time of crisis
like that of Hurricane Katrina, Peblinskis agents are among the
ones in the trenches who help keep things moving, and even save
operation moves thousands of people all over the world, between and
among Indonesia, Brazil, West Africa and other points, including
locations where no one in their right mind would go except theres
oil there, she said.
Its a huge
operation with complicated logistics and very high stakes. But at
the root of it, Peblinski is a travel agent, and shes proud that
her clients can always pick up the phone and talk to their
If youre used to a
full-service agency, to hearing Jackies or Bobs voice, the
dedicated teams that handle your account, that has value to these
clients who do this type of business, she said.
Full service, in Peblinskis
division, includes emergency management. We have contingency plans,
emergency response drills we go through, such as What if theres a
coup in Gabon? We have dedicated teams for large clients moving
masses of people. Were able to react very quickly to
Katrina was approaching the Gulf coast, JPs team went into
emergency-response mode to evacuate thousands of people from oil
rigs and area offices. In many cases, the workers could not go
home, so the agency went to work to accommodate them.
We pulled our
emergency response teams together, working in tandem with clients,
using Sabre to pull down reports about who would be affected and
who we would have to move, she said. We had everyone evacuated off
the rigs Saturday.
After the storm,
the team shifted modes and began to move utility workers into New
Orleans to start the long task of restoring power to the area. At
the same time, they helped accommodate people who were left
homeless after the hurricane passed, and also went to work moving
people back to the oil rigs to restore the flow of oil.
You can imagine
from our perspective how important it is to be proactive, to get
everyone back to work because it affects everything, said
Peblinksi. Look at the stock market.
They also had to
move people to check on the status of refineries and chemical
plants along the gulf.
The whole region
outside New Orleans and Biloxi is a corridor of major oil companies
that have oil refineries or plants, said Peblinski. We had to get
personnel back into those regions as soon as possible to
re-establish power. We also work for the utility companies. Part of
the urgency and the value we can bring through technology and
services is that we can help them get into those areas quickly
after the fact.
This week it was
all much more complicated than usual. We were chartering planes,
she said. You can imagine what a challenge it is just to find
rental cars. Its one thing to fly [the clients] in, another to get
cars. Ive been doing this type of travel for 25 years, and Ive
never seen anything of this magnitude.
its clients from various offices throughout the region, as well as
with home-based agents. The offices in New Orleans were shut down,
but the agents were able to conduct business as usual from Houston
using Sabre remote-access technology, which allows them to gain
remote access from anywhere they can get an Internet
On Monday, we
shipped laptops by Fed Ex to our agents who were displaced so they
could continue to operate without missing a beat, said
reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].