Luke Simpson, EditorLast week I flew out to Rochester in upstate New York for the Eastern Great Lakes Association of Contingency Planners (ACP) Business Continuity Symposium. The full day event was held at a country club in nearby Victor, nestled among the rolling hills in what can only be described as a stunning countryside.

When I picked up my rental car at Rochester airport the associate did his best to please me.

“How was your flight?”

“A little bumpy on the way in.”

“Would you like a bottle of water for the ride?”

“No thanks.”

“How about a free map of the area?”

“I don’t need it,” I scoffed, pointing to my Android smartphone.

After all, Google Maps made paper maps obsolete years ago, right?

I left the airport and headed to my first port of call: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, a famous “honky-tonk rib joint” in downtown Rochester.

After devouring my ribs, homemade smoked sausage and brisket — unfortunately they were out of T-Rex — I spent about half an hour making phone calls and checking emails.

To cut a long story short, about 10 minutes into the drive to Victor my smartphone died. Those from this area know that it gets pretty rural pretty quickly as you drive out of Rochester, meaning it took me a while just to find a gas station.

With the paper map I so arrogantly refused the trip would have been simple; without it I was completely lost.

The moral of this story: Don’t underestimate the value of a backup paper copy!

Transportation issues aside, I was very impressed with the quality of the presentations I managed to catch at the symposium. In particular, Judith Levan from the National Weather Service in Buffalo gave us great insights into how the service operates and the effects that climate change will have on severe weather: Fewer extreme cold/snow events, for example.

I commend Bob Dickerson, President of the Eastern Great Lakes ACP chapter, and his team for the great job they are doing.

It was also great to see widespread support for the regional Continuity Insights New York conference we launch next month. As I said to the group during lunch, with commerce in this region highly interconnected it’s vital that practitioners from all areas of the Northeast be represented at the event.

I highly encourage all readers in this region, from West Virginia to Maine, to consider attending the conference. If you decide to drive, just make sure you pack a paper map!

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