Friday, March 9, 2012

A Big Week at SBP, Part 2

… And now, for the rest of the story:

On Friday, SBP held a press conference celebrating its partnership and accomplishments made with Toyota. Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA) President Shigeki Terashi, and Toyota Product System Support Center (TSSC) President Akinori Saito, were hosted as guests of honor by SBP, the City of New Orleans, and the State of Louisiana. TSSC is the consulting arm of Toyota North America that has been working with SBP since last summer to improve our construction efficiency. To celebrate the partnership, Pat Forbes from the Louisiana Office of Community Development, State Representative Jared Brossett of District 97, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu all attended.

Kicking off the event, Mayor Landrieu (shown with Liz McCartney and Shigeki Terashi at right) said, “It’s not enough to be well intentioned. In a world where there’s less, you have to learn to do more.” No mistakes can be afforded when these decisions and initiatives deal with people’s humanity.

His Honor stated, “The bottom line is you just have to keep moving,” and that the nation is looking to New Orleans to pioneer and lead by example disaster recovery in America.

TSSC General Manager, Jamie Benini, announced the partnerships’ major accomplishments. He said that TSSC had two primary objectives with SBP, 1) to increase the number of houses built and 2) to decrease the time it took to build a house. In the past year, Toyota has helped reduce the average time it takes SBP to build a house from 160 days to 60 days and increased the number of houses built in a month from 8.6 to 12.8. Both measurements represent a 50% improvement.

“We judge not by the cars we make,” Jamie said, “but by the people we help.”

Pat Forbes spoke briefly on behalf of the Office of Community Development (OCD). As one of SBP’s primary funders through its Neighborhood Revitalization Pilot Program, OCD, “Sees results and we are thrilled.” The OCD is glad to tell the nation that, “Yes, we’re doing the best we can with the money you gave us.”

Standing in the backyard of her as yet incomplete house, Courtenay LaRoche thanked everyone in attendance for their support and generosity. She made a special point of recognizing SBP Site Supervisors Catherine Denial and Marshall Bartlett (at left with Courtenay), who are doing a
phenomenal job rehabilitating her home. Ms. Courtenay told her story, how she and her family had to spend six years in Texas away from their home in New Orleans, how she’d been robbed, how dishonest contractors stole her money, how her children had to grow up without the childhood they deserved.

“Thank you for doing what you do for us,” Ms. Courtenay said.

After applause for Ms. Courtenay, Representative Jared Brossett of Louisiana's 97th District presented a formal commendation on behalf of the Louisiana House of Representatives to Toyota for its outstanding service to our community.

As a final highlight to this spectacular occasion, Toyota presented SBP with $100,000 to continue getting the job done by bringing people home.

Closing the ceremony, our CEO Zack echoed the sentiment of the day, “Thank you, Toyota. Let’s move forward.”

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