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John Motazedi is standing on a large pile of rubble, looking for anything recognizable or salvageable in the wood and concrete and God knows what else that used to be the headquarters of SNC Squared, the Joplin, Mo.-based solution provider business he's owned since 2007.
It's been five days since a Class EF5 tornado carved a one-mile-wide by five-mile-long path of destruction on May 21, destroying an estimated 30 percent of Joplin, an estimated 8,000 buildings, 300 businesses and at least 140 lives. Looking over the debris that was his office building, Motazedi points to where his desk used to be. Nearby is a commode and a package of unopened toilet paper fairly close to where the bathroom used to be. But the desk? Nowhere in sight (click here for video of Motazedi surveying the damage) .
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The St. John's building has become an iconic symbol here for the destruction that Mother Nature can cause. What once served as a vital element in this close-knit community of 50,000 in Southwest Missouri is now just a lonely shell with blown-out windows eerily exposing its devastated innards.
"We could never see the hospital from here before. This area was so green and there were so many buildings," Motazedi recalls from SNC Squared's address. Now they're all gone. Many of those buildings housed doctor's offices and other health-care businesses, conveniently situated near the hospital. Many of those businesses were Motazedi's clients. They were part of the reason he picked this spot for SNC Squared's headquarters.
Of course, all that's changed now. The tornado, which occurred at 5:41 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, destroyed SNC's office, as well as everything else around it. Motazedi was still looking for a new office on May 31, as were some of his physician customers. Almost one-third of SNC Squared's 75 health-care customers were impacted by the tornado.
"We liked to be near our clients. The problem is everyone was around the hospitals. Now there is no [St. John's] hospital," Motazedi said.
One customer closed his shop to take employment at another facility, and a second customer is leaving town for good. Four of his five largest customers sustained tornado damage, and about 460 of the 970 workstations that he manages as an MSP went down, he said.
Yet, incredibly, Motazedi was back online himself by 2 p.m. Monday. After picking up the shambles of his own business first, he turned his attention to the clients that needed him most. He had 100 percent of his clients' networks back online by 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, thanks to some quick action, flexible suppliers, patient customers and a lot of help from some solution provider peers both near and far. Here's how he did it: