Shortly after Hurricane Sandy knocked out the power at his home in Westchester County, Milton Gomez did something that most of his neighbors could not — he went to work. Instead of risking the trek to the office, with roads and mass transit closed, Gomez hurried to a local coffee shop that still had power and Internet connectivity.
Gomez, an information technology manager at GSA’s Northeast and Caribbean Region, immediately began helping federal customers restore their voice and internet service, allowing the agency’s partners to continue their missions to serve the American people. Gomez and his colleagues were able to use available mobility tools including an IP communicator, Google Chat/Mail, WebEx, laptops, and mobile devices to kick-start restoration efforts for customers like the Justice Department’s U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
“Because GSA as a whole is used to working mobile, that experience helped us get straight to work,” he said. “This shows the resiliency of Region 2 and the agency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.”
This effort demonstrates the importance of a flexible and mobile workplace environment, and exemplifies the importance of GSA’s Workforce Transformation. Gomez noted GSA’s continuing leadership in workplace mobility over the past decade. He started working for GSA not long before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “In terms of mobility and responding to emergencies, we’ve come light-years since then,” he said.
Gomez, an active participant in GSA’s Workplace+ initiative — a program that helps other agencies improve their workplace mobility — said that having the right tools and experience to work from anywhere is a great benefit to the government and the American people. Customers expect and deserve a government that works immediately and effectively to natural or manmade disasters, he added.
Gomez’s dedication helped his federal customers get up and running long before the lights came back on at his own home. He and his wife along with their two children went nearly a week without power.
“That,” he said with a chuckle, “was rough.”