Stuck in Peru - Engine Builder Magazine

Stuck in Peru

The following story comes to us from Rottler’s David Bianchi. It’s both timely and fits the theme of our International issue for June.

At the very beginning of 2020, none of us could have fathomed what this year was going to throw at us. If you said Coronavirus, no one even knew what the word meant six months ago. Well, that has certainly changed, hasn’t it? 

The following story comes to us from Rottler’s David Bianchi. It’s both timely and fits the theme of our International issue this month. As COVID-19 began to spread across the globe in early 2020, Rottler employees Luis Rodriguez and Dale Feller were on a business trip to Peru in South America. David recounted his colleagues’ experience for us:

“In February, Luis Rodriguez, who’s our international sales manager, and Dale Feller, who I would call a product expert for the EM100, went to Peru. They went to Lima and a town called Arequipa. There were two machines that were sold down there, both were intended to service the Caterpillar mining industry. 

They anticipated that they would be going down for two or three weeks. But, what happened was they finished the installation in Lima and they headed to the other location, which is quite a bit more remote, right at about the time that Peru went into lockdown.

The stay-at-home orders also went into effect here and Peru literally said we’re not letting people in and out of the country. You need to stay in your hotel room. The two of them were basically cooped up in their hotel room for weeks. 

We were reaching out to our local congressman, the consulates and local government to try to get some correspondence. They were reaching out to the embassy there and it really went on and on and on. It was like the old show The Odd Couple with the two guys living together.

We’d have our Teams meetings and Luis was real good about staying on board with the production meetings we have here and working on behalf of his customers. He would help us with the forecasting and he stayed very engaged online with us, which was nice. 

There got to be a point where Dale had an option to leave the country on a 13-hour bus ride to Lima. Then, he would fly on a U.S. military plane to Washington DC and then back home. Luis wasn’t comfortable taking the bus, so Dale really struggled with that because he’d be leaving Luis. It was one of those difficult situations for them to part ways.

Dale did eventually leave and Luis was there alone. Luis celebrated his birthday alone with the hotel staff around April 6th. They threw him a nice, little deal and had mimosas and little trinkets in the lobby. Luis was basically there for another few weeks until he was finally able to get out. 

He was able to hitch a ride up to Lima (not on a bus) and then grabbed a flight out of Lima back up to Seattle. It was quite an ordeal. They were there in total about six weeks. 

To top it off, when Luis got back to Seattle, our policy was you had to be held in quarantine for another 14 days! 

Now that he’s back, we can’t get him out of the office. The first minute he could be back in the office he was here working away.”

When word and the reality of COVID-19 spread to the States, Rottler was quick to put a plan together to keep the company operating effectively. More on Rottler’s quick thinking and 2020 outlook will be featured in a future issue. 

We hope you enjoy our international issue more than Luis and Dale enjoyed their extended stay in Peru! EB

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