An interview with me from March 1993:
RIDING OUT THE STORM
John Koziol, president of Nexgen Computer Corporation, a computer programming group, sent his family away while he rode out Hurricane Andrew in his home in Cutler Ridge, Florida. He expected some winds and possible flooding from a storm surge. "I was 10 feet above sea level, and I have a two-story house," he says. "My logic was that my equipment was on the first floor, and I couldn't possibly waterproof things. I thought if I stayed, I could react as things developed. Boy, was I wrong."
Koziol got stranded upstairs, isolated from the equipment he had stayed to protect, when the hurricane whipped into his neighborhood. It came on so suddenly and so fiercely that the doors blew off their hinges and knocked him down twice. He survived by using a mattress to create a cave in a closet. Only afterward did he notice that the sheetrock on his bedroom walls had disintegrated into powder.
Koziol and three employees had worked from his and his father's homes before Hurricane Andrew. "We knew our bases of operation were gone [his father's house was also destroyed] and weren't going to be livable ever, or for quite some time. We had a little bit of cash saved up, so we decided either we had to fold the company or take our reserves and take our chances," says Koziol.
He moved the company into an office building. "The way we were set up, with the home offices and everything distributed, worked to our advantage," says Koziol. "We were probably back on our feet much, much faster than anyone else in that area--in less than a month. And our revenues and staff more than doubled within three months. I preferred the home office, but I knew that we would eventually evolve out of it. The hurricane jump-started that evolution."