As vice president of communications and administration at Spirit AeroSystems, Debbie Gann has been in crisis communication mode since the company took a direct hit from an F-3 tornado Saturday night.
Gann was in her basement Saturday when she received a text that one of Spirit’s buildings had partially collapsed.
She knew the company already had implemented its emergency deployment plan.
Still, her first thought, said Gann, was “Did we get everybody downstairs in time?”
“That’s when I threw my shoes on and said, ‘I’m going to work.’ ”
As she headed to Spirit, she wondered what she would find.
It was “eerie driving in with no lights, and you could see the shadows of the toppled trees and the signage, and there was a lot of debris in the parking lot,” Gann said.
When she arrived, most of Spirit’s leadership and operational team were already there and starting to mobilize.
“The first order of business was to get search and rescue crews out into the buildings to make sure we truly had everybody accounted for,” she said.
The next was assembling her communication team.
In her role with Spirit, Gann has responsibility for communications and public relations, government relations, community relations, board relations, security, information assurance, trade compliance and photo and graphic services.
She joined Boeing’s commercial aircraft division in Wichita in 1990; that basically became Spirit AeroSystems when Boeing sold the division in 2005.
Before joining Boeing, Gann had been a television news reporter in Joplin, Mo., and Wichita. She has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Texas.