“I really liked having a CD with all sessions on it,” commented an attendee. “For those of us with poor eyesight, it was great to be able to pull it up and follow along.”
Also provided to all were pocket brochures, which included each session, its speaker, topic and a hotel map.
Many pre-conference courses continued on Sunday morning and the Cyber City Cafe’, sponsored by GE Capital IT Solutions, opened at noon. This provided internet access to attendees throughout the conference in a mobile unit located outside the convention area.
“The Cyber Cafe’ was a great service!” Scott Early of Calpine Corporation hailed.
Six workshop sessions began Sunday afternoon and included speakers such as Sara Williams, CBCP of Jack Henry and Associates and Barney Pelant, MBCP, of Barney F. Pelant and Associates. Topics ranged from crisis management planning to disaster lessons learned.
JS Training and Fox Studios sponsored this conference’s Mock Disaster Exercise. The Mock Disaster Exercise provided a real life terrorism situation for the attendees.
“The police/fire dramatizations were excellent,” Daryl Hansel of Saligman Data Corporation said. “Member participation made it even more real.”
The Welcome Reception, hosted by DRJ, began at 5:30 p.m. and was located in the Exhibit Hall. Over 80 vendors and 100 booths packed the area. Networking, and socializing were plentiful among all.
“I collected information and ideas from attendees and vendors that I had questions about,” said Cynthia Thiele of Pillsbury Winthrop, LLP.
The Cyber Cafe’ opened early at 6:30 a.m. on Monday and registration continued at 7 a.m. A 6:45 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. networking breakfast proved to be a good start for many attendees’ first full day. Welcome and announcements began promptly at 8:00 a.m. before the first General Sessions.
Bob Eubanks from the hit gameshow The Newlywed Game jump-started the conference with General Session 1 at 8:15 a.m. He spoke on “The Power of Partnerships at Home and at Work”.
“. . . I especially liked Bob Eubanks,” said Betty Scarpella of DynCorp, “He was the best speaker ever!”
“Eubanks set the tone of the conference and was inspiring in his message,” proclaimed Carol Shaw of Nestle USA.
A coffee break co-sponsored by Adjusters International preceded General Session 2. General Session 2 featured Ron Weiss of Oracle with “High Availability in Today’s e-Business Economy”.
A survey compiled by Pepperdine University EMD Recovery Preparedness’ Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D. and J.D. Wallace, Ph.D. was distributed to all at this session. Preliminary findings were that one out of every eight companies still does not have a formal DR, business continuity or crisis management plan. The majority of companies that do have plans recognize EMD in their plans but they do not regularly test those plans. The study also concluded that DRJ Spring World 2001 conference attendees whose company does not have a plan are: less likely to assess employee conduct; less likely to have a Code of Ethics or Corporate Values Statement; less likely to have ongoing training and ethnical conduct reinforcement; and less likely to promote integrity in employees behaviors. A more complete summarization of the results will be featured in the next issue of the DRJ.
Donna Scott of Gartner Group ended the General Sessions on Monday with “Best Practices in Business Continuity Planning”.
Before they toured the Exhibit Hall, which opened at 11:00 a.m., attendees learned about today’s e-business economy and best practices in business continuity planning.
The Chuckwagon Barbecue Buffet was Monday’s featured lunch. Barbecued chicken, barbecued beef, veggie burgers and an array of salads tempted attendees’ appetites. A wide array of tasty desserts were served in the Exhibit Hall following lunch.
Attendees entered their first of three breakout sessions after lunch. The first time slot featured speakers such as Brian Zawada, CBCP and John Barile of Arthur Andersen, LLP with “Legal and Insurance Implications Impacting BC Planning”. Breakout Sessions 2 and 3 concluded classes for the day.
IBM and Strohl Systems sponsored a relaxing Monday evening hospitality. The room was full of attendees who enjoyed food and drinks as they socialized and networked.
Tari Schreider of Internet Security Systems spoke first on Tuesday morning with the subject of security and hackers. General Session 5 and 6 followed with Mark Morgan of Michael Baker Jr., Inc. and Phil Bloodworth of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Exhibit Hall opened again at 11 a.m. and lunch was served promptly at 11:45 a.m. The San Diegan Buffet featured herb and lemon roasted chicken, baked sea bass, roasted potatoes, garden vegetables and salads. A delightful array of desserts were served in the Exhibit Hall.
Classes concluded after Breakout Session 4 and six workshop sessions. The Exhibit Hall also closed its doors at 3:00 p.m..
Many attendees boarded a bus and headed out on Tuesday evening. After conference hours, they relaxed and enjoyed a night in Tijuana. They shopped for bargains on Avenue Revolucion and enjoyed a true south of the border meal.
The last official day of the conference started with a continental breakfast and announcements. General Session 7 was led by Comdisco’s John Jackson with “High Availability: Erasing it from the CIO’s list of Concerns”.
An attendee prize drawing followed the eighth general session which featured Lloyd R. Smith, Jr. MBCP, of Business and Government Continuity Services. The first place winner of $500 was Carol Abercrombie of American Express. The second and third place winners collected $250. They were Gary Flering of Sun Life Assurance Canada and Grover Enny of IBM. Congratulations to all!
Barry Pruitt of PruSpeak was the last General Session speaker with his presentation “Dream Thieves - What S-H-A-P-E is your Plan in?”.
Deli sandwiches, chips and fruit were served for lunch. Certification Examinations and DRII courses began.
This year NEW post-conference courses allowed attendees to learn even more! Dr. Raja Iyer, CBCP, of VEGIVIR Corporation, Regina Phelps and Barry Pruitt of PruSpeak presented their ideas on: minimizing e-commerce interruptions and maximizing e-business continuity; designing an exercise team; and leading participants through business impact analysis.
Barry Pruitt’s information in his post-conference presentation was found most helpful to Richard Godin of Emergency Preparedness Canada.
“Pruitt proved experience in the conduct of BIA,” said Godin. “The sharing of that expertise was excellent!”
First time attendees benefited greatly from the conference.
“This is my first DRJ conference,” said John Randle of Yellow Technologies, Inc. “I found it to be a very valuable experience that I can take back and get immediate ROI. The networking and interaction with other peers in the industry was great and rewarding.”
“I found all the presentations I could attend a very good lesson to start my company’s BC/DR plans,” replied Rene Jethmal of BellSouth, Panama, when asked her impressions of her first DRJ conference.
Overall, DRJ’s Spring World 2001 was a huge success!
“This was the most inclusive and complete DRJ conference I’ve attended,” Charles Ufen of Bank of America commented. “The presentation and topics dealt with our most pressing issues and challenges.”
Marilyn Mendelman of Bank One Investment Management Group also added, “This is my second conference. I have enjoyed it and am taking much away with me, ready to implement. Thanks for a great conference!”
Michelle Saab is an Editor for the Disaster Recovery Journal.