Local business and community leaders attended the Portage Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon Thursday afternoon, at Woodland Park Community Center. Over sixty five attendees enjoyed lunch, catered by Strack and Van Til, and two keynote addresses given by Ron Brenda, of ServPro Fire and Water - Cleanup and Restoration, and Portage Chief of Police Troy Williams. Both speakers touched on similar topics, including getting out in front of and fending off both the effects and consequences of emergencies, disasters, and crime.
First to speak was Troy Williams who has been with the Portage Police Department for nineteen years, and has served as Chief of Police for the last four years. The city has seen a steady and substantial decrease in crime over that time and the community has benefited greatly in that time.
"Portage is a great, unique community and we succeed because we have great people living in this city,” he said. “We also have one of the best police-school relationships around. This allows us both to work together to prevent crime and that’s incredibly important.”
Williams spoke about the ways in which businesses can better equip themselves, their locations and their employees to spot crime and be able to better deter criminals. Through more sophisticated, updated surveillance equipment law enforcement can be more effective in capturing criminals. When a system is not updated or maintained it’s hard to rely on. Having decent video equipment and putting it in a place that will fully capture the suspects profile is a key part of catching offenders.
ServPro is a nationwide company headquartered in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with over 1600 locations. Ron Brenda runs two franchise locations in Valparaiso and Michigan City which service La Porte and Porter counties, but is not shy about branching out.
“We do a majority of our work in those counties," Brenda said. "But we’ve travelled as far as Florida and Oklahoma, and we routinely have jobs that take us to Chicago or Fort Wayne.”
Brenda spoke next about home safety and ServPro’s new, exciting App for smartphones. After the winter months water damage becomes more apparent and we’re quickly entering tornado season. Whether it’s fire, water, or natural disaster he can restore it, and they’re making the process quicker and easier with the release of their ServPro App.
“If a window breaks in your home,” Brenda said,” instead of finding a phonebook and picking out a company, our App allows you to connect with ServPro immediately to get the process started.”
The App is a directory of all emergency, insurance or maintenance contacts a person would have in one place where all can be reached without any hassle.
“The key to the plan is getting our customers to enter all their information into the App,” Brenda continued. “Once that information is entered it makes it so much more convenient to get things fixed and restored. It’s a relationship builder that saves time, and time is money.”
Click here for more information on the Portage Chamber of Commerce. They have many events coming up and it looks to be a very busy Spring and Summer.