Scott Kisthart is homeschooling two kids while his nurse practitioner wife works nights at a busy Big Apple hospital — all while keeping the city connected as a field operations manager for Verizon.
“It’s non-stop. It just doesn’t end. It’s 24/7. My phone is always on,” Kisthart, who runs operations for Midtown West and Midtown East, told The Post.
“Being a lifelong New Yorker, this is what we do. I mean, we run to these types of emergencies and we take it full on and you work hard and you do it until it’s over.”
Kisthart oversees seven managers and over 120 technicians who are all keeping the Big Apple humming as he and his wife juggle childcare for their nine and four-year-old kids.
“While I’m working, I’ll be homeschooling them. And then when she gets up, she sees them for a little bit, she goes off to work, I have to get them ready for bed, dinner and boom, repeat,” Kisthart, 47, explained, adding his wife handles childcare on her days off.
“It’s just a wild ride. It’s stressful. But it is what it is. It’s a crisis. You gotta react to it.”
Kisthart, who worked during 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, said the coronavirus crisis is a different challenge because it follows him “everywhere you go.”
“Every aspect of my life is now in this pandemic and it does weigh on you,” Kisthart admitted.
“But it also gets me excited to beat this.”
When the USNS Comfort naval hospital ship sailed into New York Harbor on March 30, Kisthart and his team were there to set up their phone lines.
“We jumped on it,” Kisthart said.
He and his team ran about 1,000 feet of cable from the ship to the freight port on Pier 90 and came back about a week later to set up an additional 20 phone lines. After they verified they had the capacity to do it, the lines were up and running the very next day.
“That’s how fast you move in a crisis,” Kisthart said.
In a time where 75% of New Yorkers are working from home, having strong phone and internet lines have never been more important.
“The pressure is on because we need to get people into service… There’s no way to survive without it,” Kisthart said.
“People are working at home, their children are homeschooled, the data pipeline is being used more than we anticipated very quickly. I mean, you have your tablets on, the laptops are on, you still have your Alexa humming, all your other products. But now you’ve got that constant use at home. And the network, it has to work,” he went on.
“It’s just all hands on deck.”
He’s tweaked operations so technicians can go directly to jobs from their house, limiting their interaction with other Verizon employees to avoid further spread of the disease.
“Our COVID affected technicians dropped dramatically. So we had more people be able to be at work using that model. So that’s one of the things I’m proud of, that’s how we react in a crisis,” Kisthart said.
“It’s just a great feeling to know that you’re keeping somebody connected during this time.”