The second Disaster Preparedness Communications Forum (DPCF) East Coast meeting and workshop was held in Ft. Lauderdale on February 25, 2007. One of the speakers was Mike Emerson, Senior Manager, Security & Business Continuity Services for Citrix. Following the event, Mike had Laura Mallet, Business Continuity Coordinator, Security and Business Continuity Services for Citrix call me in reference to The Association of Contingency Planners (ACP).
The ACP is a non-profit trade association dedicated to the advancement of business continuity professionals. At over 2,500 members, ACP is the largest, most established networking and information exchange organization in North America — serving business continuity professionals for nearly 25 years. The ACP has become a unifying force for practitioners in the rapidly evolving field of business continuity. ACP provides a powerful peer-to-peer networking and learning environment for its members through chapters across the country. Currently there are 42 chapters across the country plus their first international location in Mexico City.
Laura Mallet is the Program and Marketing Director for the Southeast Florida Chapter and she put me in touch with the chapter President, Linda Hoffman (News - Alert), who is also Manager, Systems Control/Disaster Recovery of Baptist Health South Florida. The Southeast Florida chapter is an excellent example of how the system works. The chapter provides members with an information exchange experience and opportunities to set emergency response and recovery trends. In addition, the group works to strengthen relationships through alliances with public and private partners. Volunteer organizations, government agencies and businesses of all sizes can benefit from these networking opportunities.
As a non-profit association, most of the members contribute time and resources to further the cause. Therefore time is a critical factor to their members. As Linda explained, this is the reason that several states have multiple chapters to minimize the time it takes to travel to meetings. For example, a small state like Connecticut has a single chapter based in Hartford. Florida and Texas each have 4 chapters:
Alamo Chapter (San Antonio) — Greater Tampa Bay
Capital Of Texas (Austin) — Mid-Florida/Orlando
North Texas (Dallas) — Northeast Florida-Jacksonville
South Texas (Houston) — Southeast Florida
Attending meetings is critical as active participation allows members to share knowledge with other members and gain insight from industry specialists. Plus, members can earn professional education credits and receive discounts on conferences, products, services, and training.
Each chapter develops partnerships with local government agencies and related professional organizations to accomplish goals at the direction of their membership. Many chapters are very involved with their Chambers of Commerce and The Institute for Business and Home Safety in making small area businesses more resilient. Again, the Southeast Florida chapter provides a good example of how this works. The chapter has 5 meetings scheduled so far for 2007. The meeting dates are January, February, March, May and August. Not every month is covered but it is still a full schedule. Nuance (News - Alert) is sponsoring the ACP breakfast for the March meeting and Cisco provided speakers for the February meeting.
ACP Corporate is dedicated to establishing mutually beneficial alliances that benefit the membership as a whole. Corporate works with many public, private and nonprofit organizations to provide networking opportunities, volunteer outlets, white papers, etc. for practitioners from the varied professions and industries.
The Enterprise Communications (News - Alert) Association has similar goals and TMC has proven their dedication to the community with their support of the DPCF initiative. Hence the reason for the mutual co-operation of the three organizations. As we have covered in previous columns, the DPCF’s objective in the disaster/continuity planning industry is to position ourselves in a supporting role where we can share our technological knowledge with the community at large. The DPCF is only one segment of the overall solution.
Membership in the ACP is open to anyone with an interest in or responsibility for the varied aspects of continuity planning. Members can join a chapter or become a general member if they are not situated near a chapter. To find a chapter near you visit http://www.acp-international.com/contact_ chapters.asp and visit http://www.acp-international.com for more information.
Membership in the DPCF is also open to organizations with an interest in continuity planning. If you are interested, please contact Max Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Max Schroeder is a board member of the ECA, media relations committee chairman, and liaison to TMC (News - Alert). He is also the Senior Vice President of FaxCore, Inc. (http://www.faxcore.com)
Rich Tehrani is the President and Group Editor-in-Chief at TMC and is Conference Chairman of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO.