Rentsys and Strohl Systems were gold sponsors of DRJ’s 26th conference. Co-sponsors included: amerivault corporation, Compaq, DRI International, Fed Ex Custom Critical, GE Disaster Recovery Services, Hewlett Packard, PPBI and SunGard Availability Services.
“For someone new to BCP, this conference was a gold mine,” said Lorraine McClure of HealthNow Inc.
Pre-conference courses began on Saturday, March 9 as attendees made their way to the Harbor Island resort. Presenters included: Nina Johnson and JSTI Training Team; Sharon Aebersold and Elmer Bomlitz of Iron Mountian Consulting; Dr. Jeff Williams of Binomial International Inc. and DisasterRecovery.com Inc.; Edward S. Devlin, CBCP, of E.S. Devlin Associates; Dr. Thomas Phelan of Strategic Teaching Associates Inc. and Deidrich Towne Jr., CBCP, of Niagra Mohawk Power Corporation; and Barry W. Pruitt of PruSpeak Inc.
Pre-conference courses continued Sunday morning as registration officially began at 11 a.m. Educational videos produced by BCP Media were already being shown on the hotel channel as attendees checked in.
The Cyber City Café, sponsored by Rentsys, opened its doors Sunday afternoon and remained a focal point throughout the conference. The Rentsys Mobile Unit was a popular spot, allowing attendees to check e-mail and surf the Web.
Sunday workshops included sessions by: Warren Sirota of IBM Business Continuity & Recovery Systems; Michael Stall of Managed Response Inc. and Jeff Crenshaw of Continuum; Regina Phelps of Emergency Management & Safety Solutions; Steven Golman of Applied Materials; and Barney Pelant, MBCP, of Barney F. Pelant & Associates.
JS Training Institute Inc. conducted the mock disaster exercise Sunday afternoon, putting 200 participants in the middle of an anti-industrial protest that ended up with terrorists kidnapping the CEO and shooting another high-ranking official. Participants were left to deal with the developing crisis for a couple of hours before the JS Training Institute staff conducted a question-and-answer session.
A welcome reception was held in the exhibit hall Sunday evening as attendees got their first look at more than 80 vendors with 100 booths. The exhibit hall was also open Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Excellent learning experience,” said John N. McCormick of Defense Finance and Accounting Service. “Great opportunity to network and see what’s available from suppliers. I’m a first-time attendee, and I’ll be back based on this experience.”
Refreshment breaks throughout the conference were also held in the exhibit hall, keeping attendees in front of vendors.
“The creature comforts are the best of any conference I’ve attended,” said Barbara Saad of Hewlett Packard. “The food, proximity of programs, sodas at breaks, briefcase handout, plastic folder, luggage tags, ease of registration, and good desserts!”
Network Appliance co-sponsored breakfast Monday morning, prior to the official welcome from Disaster Recovery Journal Publisher, President and CEO Richard L. Arnold. Patti Fitzgerald, conference coordinator, then introduced the entire DRJ staff.
Lou Heckler opened the general sessions Monday morning, followed by Paul Honey of Merrill Lynch & Co., and Robert Wilkerson of Corporate Response Group. Tuesday’s general sessions included: Thomas D’Auria and Henry Jackson of the New York City OEM, Ewald Comhaire of Hewlett Packard, and Bruce Blythe of Crisis Management International, Inc. Wednesday’s general sessions included: Brent Woodworth of IBM Crisis Response Team, Jim Simmons of SunGard Availability Services, and Barry Pruitt of PruSpeak.
“I think our general session lineup was the best we’ve had in a long time,” said Fitzgerald. “Paul Honey of Merrill Lynch was very good.
“Henry Jackson and Tom D’Auria from the New York City OEM had a great session, telling how they recovered the EOC at the World Trade Center. That was an excellent presentation.
“Bruce Blythe had a good one on lessons learned, as far as the human aspect of how to get back to work. All of them were very good, and they spoke about 9/11 from different aspects. It wasn’t the same story over and over again.”
Simmons and his SunGard associates addressed the Comdisco merger and other subjects Wednesday morning. The session garnered hundreds of questions from the audience, which will be posted on the DRJ Web site.
“Heckler and Pruitt are as good as it gets,” said Norma McKelvy of BlueCross BlueShield. “Great variety of topics from the experts, good food and amenities, some good solid contacts made.”
Compaq co-sponsored lunch and a product demonstration before Monday’s first breakout session. Speakers included: Dr. Thomas Phelan of Strategic Teaching Associates Inc.; Gerry Printz, CBCP, of Amsador Ltd; Todd Stathis of IBM Global Services; Stan Carlstadt, CBCP, of Phase 1 and Al Rennick, CBCP, of AT&T; Ben Thornton of SunGard Availability Services; and Dennis Hodge of McLeodUSA.
The second breakout session included: Larry Watkins of Compaq; Scot Ferrell, CBCP, of Ernst &Young; Tom Flesher, E-Net; Robert Janusaitis, CBCP, of Business 911 and John Link of Memorial Hermann Healthcare; Sharon Sorensen of Regence BCBS; and Robert Swan of Dewberry & Davis.
The third breakout session included: Robert Huber, CBCP, of United Security Group of Minn.; John Marini of Adjusters International; Llana Metcalf of Vertitas Software; Rich Smith, CBCP, of Emergency Response and Planning Inc.; Randy Till, CBCP, of MasterCard International; Cole Emerson of Cole Emerson & Associates Inc.
After a long day of seminars, attendees were treated to Monday “Casino Night” Hospitality co-hosted by Strohl Systems and Rentsys. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed food and drink while trying their luck at black jack, poker, roulette and craps. Two big winners took home a digital camera and a flat screen monitor.
SunGard Availability Services co-sponsored lunch and a product demonstration after Tuesday’s general sessions. The final breakout session followed, including: Michael Schroeder and Scott Maxson of Andersen; Edward “Ted” Brown, CBCP, of Strohl Systems; Brian Larsen of CNT; Richard Johns of Motorola Inc.; Norm Harris, CRP, of Iron Mountain; and Mike Morganti, MBCP, of FM Global.
“All the breakouts were well attended,” said Fitzgerald. “It was just all very well received.”
Tuesday afternoon workshops were conducted by: Dennis Hodge of McLeodUSA; Barney Pelant, MBCP, of Barney Pelant & Associates; Regina Phelps of Emergency Management and Safety Solutions; Dr. Robert Chandler of Pepperdine University, Dr. W. Timothy Combs and Dr. Sherry Holloday of Wayne University; Pat Moore, CBCP, FBCI, and Jim McGinty of Protection Planning; and Harlan Dolgin, CBCP, of BlueCross BlueShield of Missouri.
“Amazing coverage of all topics,” said Katharine Harrison, of the Society for Beomolecular Screening, “not just situations like Sept. 11.”
“I don’t think we belabored 9/11,” said Fitzgerald, “but I think we gave some good information on 9/11 to share with everybody.”
Several attendees took part in “Attendees Night Out” Tuesday with a trip to Vieja’s Casino and Outlet Center. “We saw good reviews on that from the conference evaluations,” said Fitzgerald. “They had fun. A couple people won a lot of money. That went well.”
An attendee prize drawing was held Wednesday morning, with Wm. Patrick Lee of Husky Energy taking the $500 first prize. Pat Stevens of Boeing, and John Saviola of HealthNow NY, Inc. took home $250 a piece for second and third.
The conference officially concluded Wednesday morning with the final general session, but post-conference courses continued onto Friday afternoon. Post-conference instructors included: Barry Pruitt of PruSpeak; Norm Harris, CRP, of Iron Mountain; Regina Phelps of Emergency Management & Safety Solutions; Dr. Raja K. Iyer, CBCP, San Jose State University; Peter Laz, CBCP, of Business Network of Emergency Resources Inc. and Dr. Thomas Phelan of Strategic Teaching Associates Inc.
“The pre- and post-conference classes were very successful,” said Fitzgerald. “Several hundred people came early and stayed the whole week to take advantage of all the educational opportunities we had to offer.”
Mike Claver of State Farm Insurance said the spring conference was “like an old-time revival meeting. It made me want to go back and take on the challenges of getting my executives to say ‘yes.’”
“I attend many conferences – government-sponsored, educational institutes, and those developed by private training companies,” said Susan E. McKee of Defense Logistics Agency, “but this conference was, by far, the best professional conference I have attended in 20 years.”
“This is the first conference of this type that I have attended,” said Karen Throckmorton of Lockheed Martin/EPA. “I will definitely recommend this conference to co-workers.”
Two pages of pictures from the record crowd in San Diego follow.
DRJ’s 27th conference will take place Sept. 8-11 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla.
Jon Seals is managing editor of the Disaster Recovery Journal. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.