In February of 2008, the ACP Board of Directors, many ACP Chapter Presidents, and several members of the California chapters met in Marina Del Rey, California met to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of ACP. Attendees were disappointed to to hear that Ms. Dianne Smith, recently retired from SunGard Availability Services, was unable to attend. I was fortunate enough to have heard her a few years before, tell how she came to found this fine organzation.
She had just left a bank IT operation, where she managed a disaster recovery program, to join a savings and loan company. Unlike large banks, where mainframes ruled, the S&L industry was awash with mid-range machines running live transactions with no arrangements for back-up and recovery, thus facing certain loss of in-progress activities. She couldn't sleep, worrying about when, not if a major outage would cripple the institution. After attending a conference with people she sensed were facing similar situations, she obtained the list of attendees and phoned every one of them, over 400 people across the US. Over 300 eagerly replied, "YES, we don't know who to turn to for how to approach this impending calamity." Based on those responses, she got some backing to convene a conference in Los Angeles.
Since the common practice in vogue in the early 80s was to form "user groups," the inital name was Disaster Recovery User Group, or DRUG, a neat acronym if you want lots of unwanted attention from the media and the DEA. This got quickly dropped in favor of Association of Contingency Planners, and Dianne Smith was elected the first President and CEO. ACP has since prospered as a haven for those who wish to share their lessons-learned with others who are new to business continuity, IT service continuity (aka DR) and emergency preparedness.
ACP now has 40 Chapters in the US and 3 international chapters, thanks to the prodigious efforts of CEO Jim Crosson and Director of international Chapter Services, Gaston Boisson. See about this great educational and networking group at our website: http://www.acp-international.com Click the "Find a Chapter" link - there's probably one near you!