Software company tries to help Japanese colleagues

Posted March 17, 2011 7:12 p.m. EDT
Updated March 17, 2011 7:16 p.m. EDT

— Software developers at GrapeCity in Morrisville are usually in daily contact with developers in Japan. Since an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan last week, the Triangle workers are reaching out to their co-workers in new ways.

GrapeCity's headquarters is in Sendai, Japan, which is about 60 miles from the hardest-hit areas, but the disaster left the area with limited communication and electricity.

"Their e-mail is up, so they are trying to get back to normalcy," said Keith May, director of GrapeCity's Morrisville office. "The e-mail was a little disheartening, talking about the conditions they are living in without power, gasoline, gas heat because it's cold over there now.

"Our office (in Sendai) is fine. Everybody in the office is apparently OK, so that's good news. Now, just trying to get back to normalcy is the challenge," May said.

To help that effort, the Morrisville team is reaching out to Japan and reaching out to other software developers.

Marketing Director Kevin White said the company was already working on a cookbook that will now be a fundraiser. Staffers are also working with Microsoft to connect with other companies offering help.

"If you just give a little bit, it starts to add up," White said. "If we get the dot-com community, the developer community involved, ... the viral aspect of this (will be) spreading out even farther than that."

GrapeCity says employees hope to be fully operational at the Japanese headquarters by the end of the month.

"We know they have great fortitude and resilience, and I'm sure they'll be fine over the long term. It's just getting through the 'now' term," May said.