Business as Usual, In Unusual Circumstances


A story of a company and its people supporting emergency response

With the unsettling grim statistics and unprecedented changes in our lives caused by the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, it is reassuring to relate stories about some of the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to support emergency response during the upheaval.

Curtis Engine has always been an essential business because it’s our mission and commitment to be the one-stop provider of power generation equipment and services for our medical, government, and other mission-critical customers in the greater Baltimore-Washington, DC region. Our partnership with customers helps them maintain critical business continuity every day and during disasters—and most recently through the unparalleled COVID-19 crisis.

Powering temporary medical structures to fight COVID-19

Curtis Engine has recently been selected to work with the Maryland Department of General Services to provide normal and emergency power to temporary triage and ICU structures at six hospital locations throughout Maryland to help fight the spread of COVID-19. We will provide 17 150 kW generators, automatic transfer switches and fuel tanks along with maintenance for each unit, which will be running 24/7 for the duration of this pandemic.

Confronting challenges in a time of need

All of the temporary structures are required to be constructed and fully operational within four weeks, which will require a monumental effort for everyone involved. Time is critical in the fight to save lives, and the Curtis Engine team is stepping up to the challenge.

According to Vice President of Sales and Engineering Alan Koch, “In four weeks, these hospitals will go from having parking lots with cars on them to having operational ICU rooms in the same spot.” Koch notes that one of the first challenges for Curtis Engine has been obtaining rental generators for the structures. “Our region is only weeks away from the beginning of hurricane season, so extra generators were difficult to locate,” he says. “But we were able to come through, and in only three days have been able to get all of the generators delivered.”

That hurdle being overcome, allocating field technical staff who are already dedicated to existing projects to handle installations, maintenance and weekly inspections of the pop-up structures is another challenge. Typical of the character of our field staff, those who heard about the new project volunteered to work seven days a week if it meant helping combat COVID-19 to save lives.

Business as usual

“Because we are an essential business and despite the constraints caused by the pandemic, it’s business as usual at Curtis Engine because we already have in place an in-house call center that has an on-call team 365/7/24. Our service team members are experienced in quick thinking and rapid response to service issues and disasters. They are adaptive, agile, well-trained and already conditioned to work around the clock, if necessary,” says Vice President of Service Michele Kratz.

As part of the Curtis Engine business continuity strategy during the pandemic, administrative and sales staff work from their homes and staff is in continual contact to manage business process and systems. Our warehouse continues to serve our customers with a streamlined staff.

According to President and CEO Trip Harrison, “We have and will continue to take steps to protect our employees, customers, business partners, and the public, while minimizing the impact of the consequences of the pandemic on our business operations and supply chain. No one has the crystal ball that will reveal when life will return to normal. We do know that Curtis Engine’s people have the heart to do the right thing, the courage to do difficult things, and the technical experience to be there for our customers and communities when disaster strikes.”

See the latest COVID-19 Updates at Curtis Engine

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