Edited Version December 8, 1999 Transcript
EIIP Virtual Online Library Presentation

"Why or Why not Include the Private Sector in Community Planning and Training?"

John Laye
Contingency Management Consulting

EIIP Moderator: Avagene Moore

The original unedited transcript of the December 8, 1999 online Virtual Library presentation is available in the EIIP Virtual Forum Archives (http://www.emforum.org). The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each input were deleted but the content of questions and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers to participants’ questions are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.


Avagene Moore: Welcome to the EIIP Virtual Library! Before we introduce our speaker, we have a little housekeeping to get out of the way.

For any newcomers to the Virtual Forum, any URLs that may be used in today's discussion become live links. For example, our speaker represents Contingency Management Consulting; the Web site can be viewed at http://www.businesscontinuity.com/.

If you click on any live link in the chat window, it will come up in your browser window. The first one may cause your chat screen to disappear; simply click on the EIIP bar at the bottom of your computer screen to bring the chat screen to the front.

Please do not send Direct Messages to the Speaker or Moderator during the formal part of the session. This is very distracting to the flow of the presentation.

I will give instructions for Q&A after John's presentation.


We are pleased to have our Speaker today. He is with us for the second time; he conducted a Round Table discussion for us a few months ago --- we appreciate his willingness to be with us again.

John Laye is a Certified Management Consultant whose practice is exclusively in training managers in contingency management and business restoration. For the past 12 years he has been president and principal consultant for Contingency Management Consulting. His goal is to reduce the impacts on people by preparing organizations for disasters. His policies include donating part of his company's work to government and not-for-profit organizations.

He took part in the development of the Integrated Emergency Management and Multi-Hazard Planning courses at FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI). He conducts a Strategic Planning and Implementation course certifying emergency managers in the Business and Management Department, University of California Extension, and a Public Policy class at the EMI.

John was the business sector representative when the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM, was NCCEM at the time) developed its certification program, and is Past-Chair of the IAEM Business and Industry Committee. Past president of the California Emergency Services Association, he is now Business and Industry editor of that group's publication.

A frequent speaker at executive seminars and for professional associations, he was elected a CMC by the Institute of Management Consultants in 1990. In February, 1993 he presented a paper on emergency preparedness at the Security Asia conference.

Published in numerous professional journals and publications, Laye also provides expert witness and forensic consulting services. In the past five years alone, his clients' programs have received a pair of California Emergency Services Association awards, a commendation from the Director of FEMA Region IX, the Governor's Award from the Office of Emergency Services, and two awards from the National Council on Emergency Management, now IAEM.

Laye holds a M.S. degree in Systems Management (Logistics) from the University of Southern California, a B.A. in Political Science (International Relations) from the Naval Postgraduate School and an A.A.in Police Science from L.A. City College.

From John's background, his experiences and expertise enable him to view the business of emergency/disaster management from a very broad perspective. I believe you will find his reasoning for including the private sector in community planning and training most interesting and the basis for a stimulating discussion.

Please help me welcome John E. Laye, CMC, President, Contingency Management Consultants. John, we are glad to have you back with us. I turn the floor to you now.


John Laye: Thank you, Avagene. Thanks especially for such a great intro!

This is about public-private interfaces. More than a year after FEMA Director James Lee Witt announced the need for public-private partnerships with articles published in the major professional journals, the intensity of implementation activity at local levels is causing -- a deafening silence. This, despite the economic lessons of hurricanes Andrew at Homestead Florida and Iniki at Kauai, HI. Piled on top of those were the broad spectrum of community damages in Japan's Great Hanshin earthquake and the Northridge CA quake. Intermixed with them were the Great Falls flood and its compelling photographs of a devastated central business district.

Perhaps we need more clarity on ‘Why We Are Here.’ After almost 12 years of teaching emergency response management at the California Specialized Training Institute, then at the Emergency Management Institute, we saw a Short-term Recovery exercise added to EMI's flagship offering, the Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC). PROGRESS !! But is it really?

When I look over the course rosters and stand up to talk about public policy issues, there is disappointment and a little frustration. First, because the private sector is seldom represented. When it is, the representatives come from quasi-governmental infrastructure operators or first- or second-responders. Next, the senior governmental professionals and their elected counterparts look stunned at the challenge, "Don't you PLAN to recover? Where is your private sector?"

Fellow professionals, Why ARE we here? We long ago recognized that we can not manage major responses with, "Business as Usual, Just More of The Same." In fact, that's a major reason for the Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC). Haven't we also begun to think beyond short-term recovery issues that are mostly infrastructure restoration? Some have.

A year ago last summer, EMI added another week-long course -- IEMC Mitigation and Recovery. But the private sector -- the economic drivers that provide our communities' vital signs ---- they are still not in sight when the new classes sit down on Monday mornings. Let me guess what some might be thinking. "Inviting 'Them' would be a gift of public funds. "It's not a government responsibility, if they're so under-insured they can't recover without my help." "Rules are rules. Those _____ just want access to make more profit."

Some facts might be help focus this discussion beyond the short-term.

1. Three studies produced pretty good statistics about going out of business after disasters. The U of Texas - IBM one said 43% never reopen. At the World Trade Center 35% never reopened. And at Oklahoma City it was 52%.

2. After the Loma Prieta earthquake, California's tourist industry ($52 billions, conservatively estimated), was intensely impacted. Skip the study. I was there.

3. Our economy has a 4.1 unemployment rate. That is far below the 6% formerly regarded as the full employment floor. In real-world terms, that means when we can not keep our local workforce employed, (most of whom are now knowledge workers with eminently mobile skill sets) they have only to lift the phone or scan the net -- and they're gone.

4. Seattle's WTO debacle notwithstanding, we ARE in a global economy. That means the Boards of Directors setting strategy for local companies are often far removed from the plant or offices that are too slow to reopen. They are responsible to their investors, and can move an operation to another state or continent. "...move an operation..." means $ _____ payrolls (fill in the blank for your community) are lost, which usually results in 3 x direct payroll in local goods and services sales lost that were supported by those payrolls

How to become very, very unpopular? Think like this:

• "Inviting 'Them' would be a gift of public funds."

• "It's not a government responsibility, if they're under-insured..."

• "Rules are rules. They can get access when it's safe for everyone."

6. Great Falls understood. One of the first things they restored was their school system. That was WAY up there on their priority list. Why do you think that was? One of the next things was their theatre and its dance troupe. Same question. Do we have any examples of public-private coordination and joint planning that stood the test of major real-world events (and eliminated the "...very, very unpopular" risk to local emergency managers and their programs)? We do.

I did not understand the importance of these issues by myself. I am indebted to several local emergency managers whose experiences let them see the light. I am also indebted to some economists in the U.S. and Europe who share their knowledge and research. And also to educators like John McKay and Al Fluman at FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. And to Avagene Moore and Amy Sebring for providing this Forum. Most of all, we are all indebted to James Lee Witt, for his foresight and leadership.

Would you like to explore and discuss these issues now?

Avagene Moore: Thank you, John. Audience, if you have a question or comment, please submit a question mark (?) to the chat screen. Compose your questions/remark but hold it until you are recognized. Then send your question to the screen. Questions will be taken in the order they are submitted. First question of John, please. David, please.

[Audience Questions ]


David Crews: One of the problems is the people who control the resources are the governing bodies. They are hard to get in the loop.

John Laye: You are right. There are some strategies and tactics that have worked. Are Larry Olson and Cecil Williams aboard? They pulled it off, and I hesitate to speak in the presence of "those who know". Well, here's what I know. Something has to bring it home that the issue is something more than "nice to have", or "quality of life." It's survival. A video of Homestead or Great Falls can be pretty compelling. Short. Re: the video. I just did one for a bank's senior management. Hinsdale - World Trade Ctr. - 1st Interstate Fire. It runs 8 minutes.


Claire Rubin: When you have a chance would you give me citations for the 3 studies you mentioned re: failure rates of business.


Avagene Moore: John, can you put up your email address for Claire, please?

John Laye: Sure. <[email protected]>.


Bob Swan: I see this as a major flaw in all community debris management planning. Emphasis is placed on debris clearance from public facilities and not key private facilities. We are approaching this situation as a Project Impact participating firm. We are presenting one-day seminars to both government and private sector planners.


Ray Pena: An observation really --- emergency managers out there not working with local businesses are not doing their jobs. There is no excuse for not doing it, particularly for those of us in larger communities. Ignorance is not an excuse --- check out the Disaster Recovery Journal (www.drj.com) and you will likely find a business recovery group near you. Failing that, contact your local Chamber of Commerce, or contact businesses directly and offer to help them, free.

John Laye: Good advice.


Burt Wallrich: There has been a parallel problem of getting emergency management types to recognize the importance of including the not-for-profit human service organizations in disaster planning and recovery. In some places, including Los Angeles City and County, that is FAR advanced. For example, our local VOAD is included in city and county functional exercises.

John Laye: Sounds like L.A. is ahead of a lot of us.


Bob Swan: Do private sector firms look outside their own fence to see what the community is planning? All of the current teaching at EMI is that private sector firms take care of themselves through insurance and their own contingency planning.

John Laye: First part -- yes, if they are given some good reason to. (I can expand on this if you like)

Bob Swan: Yes.

John Laye: 2nd part -- Not true. Some THINK they are covered, but the insurance industry's figures indicate about 10-20% of the real losses get compensated.


Avagene Moore: If the fact that so many businesses do not survive doesn't convince communities to plan and train with the private sector, what in your opinion will change our thinking? Is our problem a traditional mindset or what? Solution?

John Laye: Yes. Pogo (Walt Kelly) said it first: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

We need to look at the data, and get outside our traditional box. When we look at the data, it often takes a shock. But a good substitute is showing what happened elsewhere that parallels the local situation.


Bob Swan: Business recovery can be slowed or even stopped based of cleanup priorities. Who in the community should take the lead ? Emergency planners? Chamber of Commerce ?

David Crews: Leadership of the governing bodies in the community where I was a local EM was always a challenge. I knew where the resources were for planning but had a hard time getting the people in authority to release those assets. This is particularly true when corporate headquarters is remote from the community. Also the background and experience of the elected officials were many time a handicapper.

John Laye: The leadership issue is not simple. More often the lessons of Integrated Emergency Management work. That is, it needs to be a joint (or at least agree-upon) decision. On the fly.


Bob Swan: Do you think that some type of documentation directed to the business community and followed up by training?

John Laye: Re: the documentation + training question -- Yes! Especially if you can offer them something they need. Like basic Emergency Response Team training


Leslie Little HELPU: Thanks. We have found that many times the disabled populations views and concerns for recovery are not taken seriously. Many businesses that had formerly been employers for the disabled populations never reopen thus putting the disabled back into the role of needing public assistance. How do you address this issue?

John Laye: Leslie, that is a very serious issue to me, personally. There are some basic truths. 1. None of us who are disabled want the world to look any closer and start thinking of ways to exclude us. 2. It's tougher to get employed than to stay employed. If they can be approached, they should see the old "enlightened self-interest", and become planning and training advocates. In some cases, they can bridge the public-private gap --insiders in both organizations.


Amy Sebring: Have there been any successes from Project Impact that focused on involving private sector? Mostly I have heard about hardware stores and the like, businesses that have something to sell.

John Laye: Enlightened self-interest in the case of hardware stores. Here's another angle. Think of a list of things local government can offer local corporations: I'll start -- fire extinguisher training. Very quiet out there. Add: ICS for EOC training.


Avagene Moore: Can you name a specific Project Impact case study for Amy?

John Laye: Nope. But I can give you two people who have established local private-public coordinated groups. Cecil Williams -- EM Director of Milpitas CA. Larry Olson, now with S. Mateo County try: <[email protected]>.


Bob Swan: Who would you contact in a private firm to coordinate and integrate community emergency response and recovery planning?

John Laye: Bob, there is no uniformity on who is carrying the responsibility. Often Facilities VP. Often Security.


Avagene Moore: Since money for planning and training are issues for joint efforts, how do communities justify the money? Do they share resources in some cases?

John Laye: Avagene, the local groups become self-funding after the government seed $. All corps have $ they MUST give away per budget period.

Avagene Moore: Sounds good to me. Amy your question, please.


Amy Sebring: I would like to respond to Ray's earlier comment about EM's not doing their jobs. They can be overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of things that are supposed to be their job, and usually inadequate staff. To move this up on the "Do List" will most likely need the active involvement of somebody from the private sector.


Roger Kershaw: Why say fire extinguisher training, we do that routinely as well as other types of emergency training in our community, including planning and, yes, ICS system too?

John Laye: Good! You have found something they need and want.


David Crews: The EMI course you mentioned is a good start. Is there anything else addressing the leadership issues?

John Laye: David,yes, though I hesitate. It's the U. of Calif. Extension (Berkeley) strategic planning course.

Final Question:

Jon Kavanagh: I think a key is to let the community know that opportunities for training are out there. Why can't non-Project Impact communities have well-established partnerships?

John Laye: Several do have them.

Jon Kavanagh: Classes like the "Disaster Resistant Jobs" and the like are helpful. But, people need to know that there are agencies/people who can help them, or show them that there is a need for help.

John Laye: We should probably investigate what mix works best. Make that mixES.

Avagene Moore: Our time is about up. John, thank you for your presentation. Audience, thank you for participating today. If John can hang on for a few minutes, we can all thank him personally after we adjourn. Amy, will you please give us our upcoming events for next week, please?

Amy Sebring: Thanks Avagene.

Next week our Round Table features a fairly recent partner, the Marasco Newton Group Ltd., represented by Kim Fletcher, to talk about emergency management and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Next Wednesday is our final program for 1999 and we will resume the first week of January. The session will be devoted to a group discussion about planning, "Theory vs. Reality." Discussion questions will be posted in advance.

We had 3 new pledges come in since yesterday! Denis Lauzon, Diane Merten, and John Houpt II. That brings us up to 105. <//bell http://www.emforum.org/pledge.wav>. Thanks Denis, Diane and John!!

For those of you who came to the Tech Arena session on TeamWave, the final version of Workplace 4.3 is now available.

Ok, that's it, Avagene.

Avagene Moore: Thanks, Amy. John, closing remarks?

John Laye: My pleasure. Thank you for this opportunity.

Avagene Moore: The Virtual Library is officially adjourned for December 8, 1999.