Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 2012

Disaster in the Making

By Jennifer N. Dienst, Contributing Editor
as separating education sessions into tracks for a more streamlined conference experience.

But what made IDCE2012 so successful—big-name speakers and a focus on public/private partnerships—will still be a major focus in 2013 and in future shows. “The overall goal of having this event was looking at the industry and asking what are some of the largest problems,” Mouton said. “What we saw are communication problems between different levels of government and the private sector. Our goal was to create a forum to bring them together for a dialogue on lessons learned — as well as to indulge in forward thinking in terms of policies and procedures that would benefit the industry by mitigating loss in future disasters.”

Lacey added: “You have to have all partners available to bring their resources and expertise. There’s an industry phrase—planning shouldn’t be done in a vacuum, and success isn’t found in a silo.”

IDCE2012 Breakdown

What: 2012 International Disaster Conference & Expo

Where: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans

When: Jan. 17–19

Who: 1,687 emergency-management professionals from 27 countries

Why: According to IDCE’s website, “IDCE brings together emergency management, homeland security, and disaster industry professionals from the public and private sectors around the world to share lessons learned and forward thinking regarding the policies, procedures, and best practices shaping disaster preparation, response and recovery, loss mitigation, business continuity, and more.” Importance: IDCE is the first U.S. trade show to be owned and managed by a partnership that includes the hosting convention center.

Speakers of note: Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate; LT. General Russel L. Honoré, U.S. Army (Ret.); Walt Ehmer, president of Waffle House; and Willy Steenbakkers, The Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice

Exhibitors: 169 companies

Sidebar: New Orleans Rising

Is the Big Easy staging a comeback? Many signs(bold) point to yes. According to the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, the New Orleans region was the most improved market for business in the United States last year, rising 44 positions from No. 77 in 2010 to No. 33 in 2011. Big-time sporting events are lining up to come to the destination as well. New Orleans will host the NCAA Final Four this spring, SuperBowl XLVII next February, and the NCAA Women’s Final Four next spring.

New meeting space, hotels, and restaurants are rolling out in anticipation of the flurry of visitors. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will complete a $50-million renovation by year’s end, turning Hall A into a 60,000- square-foot ballroom —the largest in the city. The revamp will also include a new, 4,660-square-foot junior ballroom, a 3,420-square-foot rooftop terrace, a 980-square-foot indoor balcony, and a 4,700-square-foot executive club lounge.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, in the midst of a $300-million modernization project, completed a $27-million expansion of Concourse D last year. New and renovated hotels are popping up downtown, from boutique properties like the new, 166-room Saint Hotel and 102-room Hotel Mazarin, to big-name brands like the 1,193-room Hyatt Regency New Orleans, which reopened last year after a $275-million renovation.

“Our plan is to make sure there are always new things for attendees and exhibitors to enjoy,” said Nikki Moon, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau’s vice president of convention sales. “There’s new restaurants opening almost weekly, and we work hand in hand with the [convention] center to make sure every meeting is always a fresh new meeting.

More Resources:

To learn more about the International Disaster Conference & Expo, visit internationaldisasterconference.com

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