BOMA Suburban Chicago

Training Session Commended for Raising Awareness of Need for Planning to Respond Successfully to All Kinds of Situations

“Attainium’s Disaster Experience was a fast-paced session that received outstanding feedback on all its evaluations,” said Patricia Schwarze, executive director of BOMA/ Suburban Chicago. “They brought teamwork to the floor, and participants really liked that aspect of it.”

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Suburban Chicago has served the commercial office industry for over 30 years with education, leadership, and professional development services. According to Schwarze, the organization currently represents more than 63 million square feet of office space in commercial office buildings, government buildings, medical buildings, and corporate headquarters located in Suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, and Lake Counties, as well as Rockford, Illinois, and Merrillville, Indiana.

BOMA/Suburban Chicago members are responsible for the safety and well-being of the tenants in those millions of square feet, and they take the responsibility seriously. When Attainium’s training was recommended to the group by some members who had attended a session at the BOMA International Conference, BOMA/Suburban Chicago decided to offer the Disaster Experience to its membership.

“The most important thing I took away from the session,” said Nancy Lucht, asset manager for Hamilton Partners, Inc., in Vernon Hill, Illinois, “was that, while you really can’t be prepared for everything all the time, you can plan better to prepare for the unknown. We train people for fire and weather-related disruptions, but we need to spend more time as a staff planning for various events – and communication is the key.

“During the training, most of our first perceptions were that the situation was worse than it actually was,” Lucht said. “We learned to look at the details to properly assess the situation.”

“Our organization was in the midst of business continuity planning, and the session made me more aware of the different things that could happen – beyond what we’re all already planning for,” said Barbara Wozniak, a system administrator for Kingsway America in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. “All things are possible, and some disruptions branch off into other disruptions… it’s important to have a plan in place to make dealing with the unknown easier.

“One critical thing I learned was that, in spite of any breakdown of what an individual is supposed to do, the group’s thought processes and input can make up for that failure,” Wozniak said. “It was a good experience; a lot of people should go through it.”

“Overall, it was extremely interesting, and the format exceeded expectations; it’s one of the best training seminars I’ve ever been to,” said Elizabeth Seward, asset manager, Hamilton Partners, Inc. “It absolutely worked for me. I’ve recommended to my supervisors that I’d like to bring my staff to another session.”

“All of it was good,” Lucht said, “the set up of the scenarios, the ability for people from one company to do it together… it reinforced for me that we’re all pretty well trained and that we can all call on each other for help. I’d like to see the whole corporate management team do it together.”

“Whether people from one company work with the same group or different ones, there is learning of all kinds – for people of all levels - in an exercise like the Disaster Experience,” said Attainium CEO Bob Mellinger. “Participants learn from the experience as the scenario unfolds, from each other as they work on solving the problems, and from the group as a whole in the debriefing session we conduct at the end of the exercise.”

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