Rob Thomson of Waterfront Properties Prepares for Hurricane Season, Looks Back on Last Season

Posted by — July 31, 2005

Rob Thomson of Waterfront Properties Prepares for Hurricane Season, Looks Back on Last Season

Speculating on the 2005 hurricane season, South Florida’s premier Realtor, Rob Thomson states, “I’m getting ready for the worst and hoping for the best!”

Hurricane Jeanne became the fourth in a series of powerful hurricanes to slam into Florida in just two months during 2004. With peak winds of 120 miles an hour, Jeanne made landfall at South Hutchinson Island, a barrier island on Florida’s east coast, almost the exact spot where Hurricane Frances came ashore just three weeks prior, striking on Labor Day weekend.

As Hurricane Jeanne quickly approached, with battered residents still numb from the near-constant pounding of storms, a special man stepped up to the plate on behalf of thousands living in Palm Beach and Martin Counties. Rob Thomson, partner at Waterfront Properties and Club Communities in Jupiter, Florida, was determined to help those who left town too weary or frightened to stay and those living in this “paradise state” on a part-time, seasonal basis.

“Overall, it was a devastating hurricane season," said Palm Beach County resident, Thomson. “Without downplaying the hurricanes’ devastation to our local neighborhoods, it’s clear the damage to our property could have been much worse.” Thomson states, “Fortunately, none of the homes in our area were leveled.” The majority of destruction inflicted during this horrific time included problematic flooding, torn and demolished roofs, shattered windows and screens and uprooted trees and shrubs. Hundreds of automobiles and boats were also afflicted.

From Stuart to Palm Beach, Florida, Thomson took matters into his own hands, stretching his time, resources and nerves to do everything possible to secure as many properties as possible in hope of insuring the safety of as many people as possible. For perspective, Waterfront Properties and Club Communities’ database of clients includes nearly 30,000 contacts in their neighboring communities. Many, of course, were available to tend to their own property, but for those unavailable, Rob Thomson was there to help.

Much of Rob’s staff in a position to assist his mission did just that once their own properties were secure. Thomson provided everyone whatever resources he could to help, including a $1000 cash bonus to each of Waterfront Properties’ staff for any unexpected hurricane needs or to purchase a ticket to get out of town.

Thomson and staff spent countless hours boarding up and nailing down their homes to provide shelter from the pounding they were soon to endure. Once done, Rob’s 10-vehicle convoy headed north, including Rob’s SUV towing Waterfront’s 18-foot trailer behind. It was transporting digital cameras and battery-operated computers plus everything needed to continually provide hurricane reports from the road. During the long and treacherous journey along Interstate 95, Thomson continually sent mass emails to Waterfront Properties’ client database to warn of flooded areas, traffic, downed trees, gasoline shortages and various wide-ranging conditions. Waterfront’s vehicles were equipped with remote radios to receive Rob’s "first-car-in-line” road reports and instructions. 

Thomson and company were an exhausted, yet keyed-up, group when they reached Atlanta, Georgia, after being on the road twice as long as is usually needed to make the trip. Fortunately for the travelers, The Red Roof Inn was able to accommodate their families which included their pets. What’s more, management was so willing to accommodate, Rob set up a computerized command base in the corporate business center where he reported to those waiting to learn the fate of their homes.

Most of the Waterfront Properties’ staff who remained in town also did their part to help. Whenever permissible, they ventured out to take photographs of clients’ homes, boats, cars, landscape, downed power lights, flooded roads, golf club houses, marinas and any views of interest throughout the community. These snapshots were emailed to Rob’s command center, then forwarded to owners of properties wherever they were around the world, with updates sent frequently. Having visual images of their property, many residents were put at ease while others immediately contacted their insurance agents. 

One of the amenities Waterfront Properties offers their clients is a professional home-consigner service.   Therefore, although winds had died down and the sun was shining once again, Rob’s team continued tending to a large number of homes: checking to see if the electric meters were running, emptying refrigerators, disposing trash, sawing broken trees and branches, finding repair people to fix broken windows and screens and assisting with anything they could do to clean up the aftermath of the high-category storms. 

Thank you’s in letters and emails of gratitude flooded Thomson’s mail for months. One in particular said the family was in Greece during the hurricane storms and found Rob’s email updates more beneficial then any information they’d received from watching CNN! 

Already preparing for the upcoming hurricane season, Rob Thomson purchased state-of-the-art databases for each community, power links, high-tech laptops and cell phones for best use. Waterfront’s technical staff is prepared to fly out of town to set up shop as soon as the weather demands. 

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