DEMCO uses ‘mobile hotel’ for workers

Wade McIntyre
Ty Bewely, owner of a mobile hotel that is housing electrical repairmen at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, in his kitchen that can feed 2,000 people per day.

A mobile hotel supporting 570 men and women contracted by Demco to repair its transmission lines downed by Hurricane Gustav rolled into the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center Thursday afternoon.

The mobile facility includes two hot shower trailers for 14 persons each, tent and trailer housing, and a mobile kitchen that can feed 700 people in an hour.

Owner Ty Bewley of Mobile Help for and Poor Boy Tree Service, Inc. said he and his entourage came 780 miles from Fair Play, Mo.

“We’ve got some crews who came with us who are from over a thousand miles from here,” he said. “We carry our own power supplies, fuel and provide all the food.”

Bewley last brought his mobile hotel to Louisiana for Hurricane Katrina cleanup in the Slidell area. His roots are in dairy farming and working tree cleanup after storms.

One of the first things Bewley discovered in his early days of storm work was the absence of logistics and services for available for his tree cleanup crews. From those experiences the mobile hotel concept was born.

A key component is the stainless steel kitchen that can feed 2,000 people per day. It features two convection ovens that can cook a roast in one hour, supplemented by an oven with steam and heat that can cook a tender roast in just 30 minutes.

Add a cooler and freezer, and “a professional chef from Florida” and the mobile kitchen is set up to be the envy of many restaurant owners.

“My tree crews need a place to sleep, get their laundry done, eat and clean up at the end of the day,” he said. “On the way down on a long trip we need a place to stay and eat.”

The contract electrical workers wake at 5:30 a.m., eat breakfast at 6 a.m., take a prepared lunch with them into the field, and return sometime between 7 and 10 p.m.

“They are prepared for 16-hour days,” Bewley said.

Air conditioned tents brought to Lamar-Dixon Expo Center by Ty Bewely are part of a support hotel for 570 electrical workers contracted by DEMCO to repair transmission lines down by Hurricane Gustav.