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A partnership powering service to the community

May 11, 2022 | Jodi Baker | community, partnerships, products & services
Charles Drew Health Center CEO Kenny D. McMorris, left, and OPPD President and CEO Javier Fernande. Photo courtesy of Charles Drew Health Center

A key support mechanism for Omaha and surrounding communities, Charles Drew Health Center (CDHC) now has some extra support of its own – in the form of backup power.

“CDHC provides care for the most vulnerable individuals and families, including those experiencing homelessness, residents of public housing, recently incarcerated and veterans,” said Tovey Goynes, manager of Environmental Health Service and Safety for CDHC.

The center provides integrated access to medical, dental, pharmacy, behavioral health and enabling services. CDHC fulfills a critical need in our communities, enabling access to these services in areas where economic, geographic or cultural barriers limit access to affordable health care.

“Services are open to all individuals regardless of race or ethnicity, insurance status, or ability to pay,” he said.

Providing crucial care

Losing power just isn’t an option with so many people counting on CDHC.

For many years, the health center at 2915 Grant St. relied on portable generators as a way to keep providing that crucial care in the event of a power outage. However, setting them up was time consuming and particularly difficult in the winter months with snow and ice, Goynes said. Realizing they needed an upgrade, something more permanent and reliable, they called OPPD.

“This was a great opportunity to partner with Charles Drew Health Center and work with them on a solution that would best serve the clinic and their patients,” said Debbie Langle, account executive with OPPD.

After meeting with the health center’s team, OPPD provided a bid for a standby generator. CDHC received several bids, but chose to rely on OPPD’s expertise to oversee a project of this magnitude. An experienced power equipment provider, Cummins, supplied the generator. OPPD collaborated with Cummins and Thompson Electric to complete project.

Meeting customers’ needs

“We strive to meet our customers’ needs, whatever they may be,” said Wyndle Young. Young is manager of Mid/Small Commercial/Industrial Sales and Service, who served as the project lead. “That’s really important to us.”

As a not-for-profit health center, CDHC obtained federal financial assistance, as well as additional grant funding, to finance the project. Work began in 2021 and completed, with the generator installed and fully commissioned in December 2021.

“It was a pleasure working with OPPD, Cummins during and Thompson Electric during this project,” said Goynes. “The level of support and attention to detail was amazing throughout the project which resulted in the overall success.”

He was particularly impressed by how the team held true to its timeline, without deviating from the overall goals of the project. Timing was important, as CDHC had pressing needs.

Standby generator protects data and supplies

The standby generator does more than allow the health center to continue to operate reliably. It also helps to better protect customer data and preserve medical supplies, such as refrigerated vaccines and immunizations.

“It also allows us to preserve the lines of communication and keeps crucial systems operational,” Goynes said. “The sense of confidence and security knowing that all alarms and safety systems will always be powered and operational is truly amazing.”

On May 6, executives from OPPD (including President and CEO Javier Fernandez and Vice President of Customer Service Tim McAreavey), Young and others joined executives from CDHC (including CEO Kenny D. McMorris, MPA, FACHE, CHCEF) and others at the health care center. They were able to see how the CDHC serves our community and how critical reliable electricity is to that work.

“This is an affirmation of the critical role OPPD and the energy we provide plays in our community in critical community infrastructure. We take that responsibility very seriously. I am proud of our Customer Sales and Service team and the way they partnered with CDHC on this project,” said McAreavey.

“It is an honor to partner with organizations like CDHC who share very similar values as we do at OPPD. We honor our community. We have a passion to serve. And we care about each other,” said Fernandez. “These core values are clearly reflected in this partnership to help CDHC deliver on its mission.”

This generator project had support from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award funded in part by HRSA/HHS and nongovernment source(s).

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About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. Jodi earned her degree in broadcasting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She's worked for news stations from her hometown of Omaha to sunny San Diego. She’s married with two bright and energetic children (a boy and a girl) and an allergy-ridden little Cairn Terrier. She and her husband enjoy catching up on some grown-up DVR time once the kiddos are asleep.

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