Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 2013

Special Report: Behind the Scenes in Boston

By Christopher Durso, Executive Editor

asking for some leeway in terms of notifying them about coming to work on Saturday. “If the shelter-in-place order was still in place [on Saturday morning], we couldn't ask our employees to leave their homes,” Rooney said, “so we couldn't have an event.” Not on its originally scheduled dates, anyway. “[Rooney] was very flexible,” Jackson said, “and said if we had to cancel this, ‘We'll look at this. We'll work with you. I'm not here to nickel-and-dime you.'... I knew if we had to go down that road, it would be something we'd try to make mutually beneficial to each other.”

But that wasn't necessary. The immediate crisis ended about an hour after Jackson received the eight-hour notice from the BCEC, when the shelter-in-place order was lifted. Not long after that, the second suspect was captured by police. “Huge relief,” Jackson said. “I felt like I had worked a month's worth of work in a week. It was amazingly stressful and high-tension. I was exhausted, and our meeting hadn't even begun.”

The MCCA kept its additional security measures — the metal detectors and bag checks and bomb-sniffing dogs — in place during and after Experimental Biology, just to be sure. “The theme we've adopted is to provide a friendly sense of security,” Rooney said, “so that people feel comfortable being here but don't feel they're in a prison environment or in a police-state situation.”

As for Jackson, she's already thinking about Experimental Biology 2014, which is scheduled for April 26-30 in San Diego. She has a site visit this month. “I've already arranged to meet with the leaders of the city to ask, how would you have handled this?” Jackson said. “Let's play armchair quarterback: What would you have done? Would you have made these decisions? And, if not, who would you have turned to to do that? Just to begin a conversation.”

The One Boston Fund has been established to “help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013."

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