Channel Marker

Sep 16 2008   9:14PM GMT

After Ike: Houston VAR keeps on working

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

You think you’ve had a bad week? You should talk to Sam Haffar.

Haffar is the president and co-CEO of Computex, Inc., a Houston-based solution provider specializing. Yes. Houston. And he, like everyone there, is digging out after Hurricane Ike.

Last week, Sam took enough time out from securing his business in preparation for the storm to respond to a reporter’s request. That’s above and beyond..

On Tuesday morning, Sam called to say he’d ridden out the storm, but Ike was tough. He’s been in Houston since the 80s and Ike was the worst storm he’s seen. News footage of blown out plate glass piled up at the base of skyscrapers, downed trees, and a submerged Galveston bear him out. Bolivar Peninsula? “It’s gone. This is where we went to the beach,” he said.

There’s not much electricity. Haffar has running water “thank god.”

Computex is out of its building. But employees with power and connectivity are up and working. That’s no mean feat: Most of the area’s AT&T/Time Warner cable infrastructure hasn’t come back up.

Downed trees have pulled down power lines everywhere, so restoring power won’t be trivial. “There’s not a working traffic light in town,” he said.

There’s a 9 p.m. curfew, and Haffar for one, is glad. “You don’t want to be out anyway. You can’t see..”

Luckily the weather has cooled, so people can open their windows and catch a breeze.

Computex people are working with Outlook Web Access and wireless cards when there’s coverage. Surprisingly, that’s been pretty good.. “Its’ a good thing we have disaster recovery.” The Computex servers, e mail operational systems. are running.

“We’ve got OWA and mail and our BlackBerries are up.” Now Computex is helping customers get back online. “We’re up, taking orders,” he notes.

“Being a VAR means you’re resilient… People always kid me about being available.”

After the storm, there was all of that Wall Street mess to deal with. It’s tough but hey, that’s “only money,” he said. “There are so many more important things.”

“Being a VAR means being resilient,” he notes. “People always kid me about being available,” he noted.

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