Government Connections - Winter 2010 - (Page 33)

Raining Cats and Dogs By Linda Heaton, CGMP and Janet Fadden HOW DO YOU get two large government organizations to work together? How about having conferences at the same location on the same dates! Early in the planning process, by happy coincidence, the meeting planners for the DISA (Defense Information Security Agency) Worldwide Customer Conference and the IOSS (Interagency Operations Security (OPSEC) Staff) National OPSEC Conference (NOC) discovered that our respective events were scheduled to happen on the same dates (May 3-7, 2010) at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The word of the day became collaboration, collaboration, collaboration. Meetings were scheduled and phone calls flew as the meeting planners for both organizations discussed event goals, agendas, meeting space requirements and expected attendance (DISA approximately 2,500 and NOC approximately 1,000 attendees). There was a lot of give and take from both organizations, including swapping ballrooms and breakout rooms on certain days, attendance at exhibitions and sharing opening ceremony color guards and singers. After several months of planning, all seemed in order for the two events to succeed. On Saturday, May 1, the pre-conference staff, who were already in Nashville, were awakened to thunder, lightning and pouring rain. There was a mass of water endlessly falling from the sky. On Sunday morning as the NOC and DISA staffs began to deploy equipment down to the below-ground areas of the hotel, they discovered fountains of water spurting up from the floor drains and also flowing down from the ceiling like waterfalls. The water was streaming into the exhibition halls that were scheduled for DISA’s Technology Showcase, featuring 250 cutting-edge companies. At about noon the hotel was plunged into near total darkness as the electricity cut out. The hotel’s emergency lights came on and allowed everyone to continue working. Early in the evening, the hotel’s public announcement system broadcasted that all hotel guests should report, without delay, to the Presidential Ballroom. Approximately 1500 people poured in to await further instruction. At about 7:30 p.m., the “call to evacuate” was made by the hotel’s general manager as he announced that for safety reasons everyone must evacuate the hotel property. People calmly left all of their belongings at the hotel and climbed aboard the fleet of buses heading for parts unknown. By this time the rain had stopped and both conference staffs were still naively confident that they would be able to get everything set up and ready for their respective conferences to start the next day. 33

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Winter 2010

Government Connections - Winter 2010
Table of Contents
President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going Places
Education Edge
That’s Technology
Supplier Strategy
Plan Green
Travel Tips and Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
The Per Diem Pendulum
Contact Sport vs. Meeting Professionals
Raining Cats & Dogs
Are You Planning to Fail?
7 Deadly Sins of Small Meetings
Meeting Follow-Up is Key to Success
SGMP Nation
Membership News
Conference Connection
Advertisers’ Index
The Meeting Minute

Government Connections - Winter 2010