Elliot Consulting

Elliot Consulting, LLC
7853 Gunn Highway
Suite #326
Tampa, FL 33626

Phone: 813-792-8833

Press Releases

Oldsmar Community News, October, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Update
by Jerry Custin

We all know the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to tens of thousands of families, businesses and communities along the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coast. We all know the gut-wrenching reaction this caused and the personal trigger to somehow jump in and help. We have told you about the calls received from numerous chamber members offering to collect goods, provide trucks, open storage facilities and more. Now it’s time to tell you a little more about our emerging plan to deal with disasters.

Chamber President Kevin Gartland explains, “It was gratifying to see the responsiveness of our members to the damage suffered by our neighbors. But it was also disconcerting that, as a Chamber, we were not really prepared to coordinate all the offers so we decided that we needed to develop a plan not only to support those affected by Katrina but also to better respond to other emergencies. The bad news is we got off to a slower start than we’d like. The good news is I believe we can provide substantial help to Katrina victims as well as be become better prepared across the board.”

Eric Seidel, eAutoclaims, adds, “We think that our plan should focus on what we do best as a Chamber, which is to provide a “small Chamber feel”. It’s also important that we don’t duplicate the services of primary responders and the larger agencies and organizations. At one level, we can direct our Chamber members to these organizations so they can respond immediately. At another level, we can serve as a clearinghouse for other ways to respond that cover the cracks often left by the primary responders as we have so graphically seen as a result of Hurricane Katrina.”

Steve Summers, Fresh Start Church and also one of core planning group, continued, “Churches are in the business of reaching and out and serving people, so compassionate response to personal tragedy is at the core of our mission. Our Church is already working with a Church in Destin that was hosting over 1,000 evacuees almost immediately after Katrina hit. We are planning to build relationships with communities closer to ground zero as that situation becomes clearer. I think it would be ideal if the Chamber could work with the businesses, the faith-based community and local officials to really team up in our approach.”

That is at the core of our emerging plan, to have the Chamber serve as a clearinghouse of information on both emergency needs as well as the capacity to offer services and support. David Frank, Team Lightning and Chairman of our Technology Committee, related, “We know we need to use technology to our best advantage to do this since the Chamber has a limited staff size and they cannot dedicate their efforts to disaster preparedness and response. Plus, we know the Chamber has a significant resource base in its website and Friday Facts to communicate with members. The challenge is to make that more efficient and interactive so that members can respond relatively automatically to “needs” and that response becomes part of a database that’s available online to the entire membership base as well as an outside community that may need our help.”

Steve Elliot, Elliot Consulting adds, “It’s also important that our plan is flexible and what I call extensible. That is, it can apply to very localized emergencies like a business fire. An effective database can list members willing and able to help another business with temporary space, storage and other similar services that can be very effective in keeping that business up and running. But it also has to be responsive to larger situations that may affect our entire community or other communities that we may decide to try and support. So that’s our challenge, how to build an electronic file cabinet that talks to our members and allows them to talk back.”

Fortunately, we also have Chris Kelly, eMason, on our team. Chris said, “Our Portal system basically allows us to construct forms to capture whatever information our customers may need as well as store and collect this data and even send email responses and notices under “rules” defined by the user. We have to know a little more about the actual requirements of the Chamber plan but I’m hopeful that Portal can provide the tool kit needed to pull the planning information together in a very responsive manner so that our planning data is as current and comprehensive as possible.”

Gartland concluded, “We are really fortunate to have so many talented and dedicated members willing, actually challenging us, to help others. Knowing we have that kind of backing, I’m looking to establish a Sister City relationship in Mississippi or Louisiana that we can mobilize to assist in their rebuilding process. I’ve been making numerous calls and am finding out why we need to be patient as well as persistent. In some of the communities that we know have been hit hard, like Bay St. Louis, I simply can’t get in communication using either the phone or internet to start planning support. They haven’t recovered to that point. I have contacted a couple Chambers in surrounding communities but their response has universally been “we’re the lucky one, we’re planning to help too, great idea but let’s work together to find someone worse off”. I really appreciate the work being accomplished by our planning team to get us ready for this and other contingencies we might face as a Chamber or community. For now check out the Humanitarian Relief page on our website under the “Our Communities” heading. That’s where we will keep you updated on our plan.”

About Elliot Consulting

Everything that we do as a consulting firm is focused on helping organizations protect their people, their property, their products and services, and their profits. We do this by assisting those organizations to author, administer, and audit their in-house business continuity, incident response, and disaster recovery programs.

Elliot Consulting is a group of trusted business advisors who are experts in the development of business resiliency solutions. The term “business resilience” is defined as a combination of enterprise risk management, business continuity planning, disaster recovery, and long-term business restoration. A resilient organization will be able to mitigate unforeseen risks and have contingency plans in place which will allow the continuation of business operations regardless of the specific incident.

Our expertise is helping companies mature their strategic plans and operational guidelines which are then used within a comprehensive business resiliency program to help sustain the organization’s business operations. Elliot Consulting facilitates the discussions and teams with our clients to collect and analyze the critical data which will help the organization protect their vital business resources and procedures.

The Elliot Consulting team members are professionally-certified business continuity planners, business resiliency specialists, and project managers with extensive experience leading preparedness, response, and recovery initiatives in Fortune 200 corporations and government agencies. With expertise in managing these complex requirements Elliot Consulting is able to support a wide variety of strategic planning and resiliency tactics designed around our clients’ needs. Elliot Consulting is a vendor-neutral organization and does not re-sell any products or services.