Special Events


THE department at my company that provides Web-support services was a bit surprised when we decided to create a site to share resources for event professionals in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They said they didn't understand; was the special event industry really big enough to need an online forum to respond to this disaster?

Our reply: There may be bigger industries than special events, but none with a bigger heart. Our “Special Events Magazine Katrina Forum” (http://forum.specialevents.com/katrina) went online Aug. 31, just two days after Katrina made landfall. And the No. 1 topic for posts was instantly the offer of housing for event pros displaced by the disaster. Since then, job offers — from part-time to full-time, exhibitions management to catering to floral to lighting to decor, in companies from Florida to L.A. to Canada — have emerged as the top posting topic.

This shouldn't come as a surprise. Staging successful events requires a rich imagination. It requires the ability to anticipate what will be needed next. And, in order to care for guests properly, it requires the breadth of heart to be empathetic, to understand someone else's situation. These three characteristics made event pros so quick to see — whether they had ever been within a thousand miles of a hurricane themselves — what their colleagues in the devastated Gulf Coast region need.

Everyone at Special Events Magazine is proud to offer this online forum, just as we are proud to be part of this industry.

Helping you plan for what might befall you next made us jump at the chance to share the article “Are You and Your Business Prepared for an Emergency?” by Pamela J. Fromhertz. An expert at developing contingency plans, Pamela offers a vital checklist of steps to take now to ensure that your business stays on its feet in the wake of a disaster. Turn to page 46 and check your own preparedness.

At press time, debate is raging over how effectively government agencies responded to Katrina's victims. Whatever your opinion, I think it's important to keep two points in mind:

First, those of us who live in earthquake country know — or should — that not all disasters give a few days' warning. It's right to prepare for disaster now, and it's wise to assume that you very well may have to fend for yourself for several days at least. Second, while Katrina was a mammoth disaster displacing hundreds of thousands, a snafu that never makes headlines — such as a fire in the suite next door — could easily create your own private disaster.

Logistics is the management of the details of an operation. It's a crucial part of any event, and a crucial area to address in our own lives.

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