Blake Real Estate

Disaster Experience Challenges Property Management Professionals

Blake Real Estate’s property management teams test disaster response capabilities

The property management division of Blake Real Estate is responsible for about 2.5 million square feet in 11 properties at prestigious addresses in downtown Washington DC. On any given day, the company is responsible for the comfort, safety and security of some 3,000 to 6,000 employees of and visitors to its high-profile tenants. The properties, just blocks from the Capitol, the White House and national monuments, present unique disaster response and business continuity challenges.

Vice President Mark R. Benedetti, who directs all of Blake’s property management activities, including business continuity and disaster response, called on Virginia-based Attainium to conduct a simulation exercise to help the company test its plans. Benedetti had previously been a participant in a simulation conducted for a Fortune 500 company and saw the value in the exercise, which he thought would benefit his management teams. Attainium’s Disaster Experience™ is a series of tabletop exercises involving a wide variety of scenarios designed to give participants hands-on experience in dealing with unexpected crisis and disruption.

"Each of our buildings has a disaster response plan in place," Benedetti said, "and we wanted to test our assumptions in an asymmetrical scenario. I felt the interactive exercise would give our property management teams the opportunity to think through issues and work through problems that even our most experienced people would likely have never experienced before (thankfully). People reacted with their own instincts and used their own judgments, which yielded some interesting and surprising results.

"Most people really got into the simulation; it required critical thinking and decision making, and was well received by all attendees," Benedetti added. "People said it was different, challenging, and provocative, and I thought it pointed out both the things we have to work on and highlighted the things our people do very well.

"It was a thought-provoking, hair-raising, eye-opening exercise and a generally effective means of testing our assumptions and stretching our thinking. I look forward to working with Attainium on future exercises."

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