New Orleans CityBusiness is a sister publication of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. Its publisher, Mark Singletary, is my group publisher.
Mark got out of New Orleans on one of the last flights before Hurricane Katrina with his laptop and some server back-up tapes. After setting up office at our newspaper in Baltimore, he is now in temporary offices in Baton Rouge.
It was days before all 54 of CityBusiness’ staffers were located. The editor ended up in Memphis, where he bought a computer and started feeding copy to Baltimore to publish the on-line version of CityBusiness.
CityBusiness had reporters in Houston, circulation staffers in Little Rock and staff in Miami.
Currently CityBusiness is being published in electronic form from Baltimore. The print version is only a press run of 700 or so until the U.S. Postal Service re-opens the New Orleans ZIP codes for mailing.
So why am I telling you this? At our managers meeting last week I put “disaster plan” on the agenda.
What would we do if something as catastrophic as Katrina hit the Pikes Peak region? Could Pikes Peak turn into a volcano and rain ash and lava down on Tejon Street? Even scarier is a terrorist attack. With all the military bases this may be something we need to be aware of.
Locally we need a plan. I am going to make sure we have one for my organization.
It will end up being pretty simple probably – server back up tapes being changed, the ability to get access to our server or our corporate server for our designers and reporters, and a calling tree to find everyone.
After the levees broke in New Orleans, no cell phones in the 504 area code worked, so you may not want to count on those.
After 9/11, business journals throughout the country were doing special sections on business disaster plans. What happened to them? How easily we forget and move on at the speed of business.
Another thing that occurred to me is should something happen here, I would not be able to go to meetings, go to the office or do all the things I take for granted every day. There is no way I could just sit home.
I enjoy working and I think the worst part of some disaster would be to not be able to engage in commerce. I imagine there are many people like me who are working at some job just to keep working. I think psychologically work is good for the soul.
Now maybe my psyche is such that who I am is more dependent on my job than it should be. I suppose I should spend more time with my family and plan to…as soon as we get through budgets.
Back to New Orleans. The picture on this page was taken by CityBusiness photographer Ann Herren after she worked her way around National Guard troops and the other hazards in downtown New Orleans. I appreciate a guy who can keep his sense of humor under such dire circumstances.
Let’s just hope Pikes Peak never turns into a volcano or any other disasters hit our region. But I do advise having a business disaster plan in place. We will here at the CSBJ.
Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 329-5202.