BOMA Minneapolis & St. Paul

BOMA Members in Minneapolis & St. Paul Challenged to Prepare for the Unexpected

Attainium’s Disaster Experience exceeds both content and financial expectations

Bill Buth, president of the Greater St. Paul area Building Owners’ and Managers’ Association (BOMA), enthusiastically describes Attainium Corp’s The Disaster Experience as “one of the best seminars I’ve seen in 30 years.” A joint presentation of the St. Paul and Greater Minneapolis BOMA affiliates, the exercise was “highly successful and well attended,” Buth said. “People talked about it in positives for a long time after if was over. When you get that kind of positive feedback from a session, you know it was well worth the time and money to ensure that people are the first priority in a disaster.”

According to Buth, his first reaction to presenting the program was negative. “When you think ‘disaster,’ you think of something catastrophic…you just evacuate the building and that’s that. I was proven wrong big time; now I’m a total supporter,” he said. “This simulation really opened everyone’s eyes to how small things can become huge. It provided participants with knowledge of what tools they needed to get through.”

“People enjoyed the session because they were so involved, time passed quickly, and they had time to use their skills during the exercise,” said Rhonda Pape, St. Paul BOMA vice president. “It wasn’t just the content that succeeded, though. We not only sold out the program, but sponsorships were a very easy sell. Financially, it was a success.”

Bob Mellinger, Attainium president and CEO, was the presenter and moderator for the simulation. “Most folks have no idea what to expect when they walk into the room. They’re more used to being talked at than challenged in the way we challenge them. What’s really interesting is how – almost without exception – they rise to the challenge and really get into the scenario as it unfolds.”

Participant Mary Herbst, who is responsible for business continuity for the Carlson Companies, said that the simulation “kept moving at a pace where you had to think quickly on your feet. It taught you to be more organized and not to jump to conclusions. It’s not always a worst-case scenario; a number of small crises can become huge if not handled.”

“The exercise was time well spent, and tabletops aren’t always good; they can be a gamble,” said Herbst, who has run tabletops herself. “As an IT/business person, I got value from the opportunity to understand the roles of building engineers and property managers and to see things from their perspectives. I also saw how easy it could be to overlook things like checking the IDs of the FBI, which I never even considered.”

“Attainium wowed the audience,” BOMA’s Buth said. “The events used in the scenario weren’t ‘out there,’ they actually were things that could happen. They’re everyday common threats and hiccups that, when they occur together, cause gray hair.”

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