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IAAM Forms Task Force To Address Threat of Terrorism

As a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania, the International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM) has formed the Safety and Security Task Force to review current industry crisis management methods in order to develop "best practices" recommendations for public assembly facilities. The task force will review and recommend benchmarks and guidelines to assist venue managers in revising and updating security and crisis management plans.

"We are in a new era with new challenges relative to safety, security, terrorism and crisis management," said IAAM President Lionel Dubay, who manages the Stephen C. O'Connell Center at the University of Florida. "It is essential that we take action and demonstrate to our members and industry partners that we are here and committed to serve them."

According to Dubay, specific emphasis will be given to guest, tenant and physical asset safety/security/terrorism and other appropriate aspects of emergency management. While the task force will address issues relative to terrorist-type activities, it will also review safety, security, health and crisis management practices in general as they relate to IAAM venues. The task force will issue white papers and generate safety articles on their findings.

Frank Poe, past president of IAAM and CEO of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, will chair the task force. Larry Perkins, chair of the IAAM Crowd Management Committee and Conference and assistant general manager of the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena, will serve as vice chair.

"Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure when they attend a public event," said Poe. "It is our job as the managers of arenas, stadiums, convention centers and theaters to ensure they can enjoy the event of their choosing without having to worry about safety and security every time they turn around."

The Safety and Security Task Force will identify, develop and build partnerships with other like-minded organizations and agencies to improve communication, programming, professional development and training related to crisis management for public assembly facilities. Organizations that might be interested could come from the exhibition and convention industries like the International Association of Exhibition Management (IAEM), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), or the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Safety/security-related organizations would include the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS), International Security Management Association (ISMA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, (IACP), among others.

Cliff Wallace, chair of the World Council of Venue Management (WCVM) and director of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, will also serve on the task force. The WCVM comprises nine associations from around the world that are involved directly in public assembly facility management.

"Our hope is to identify potential programming material, training aids and a long-term program for information exchange and networking regarding matters of safety, security, and crowd management with our members throughout the world," said Poe. "The ideas and concepts used in other countries can often be adapted to become strong procedures in other locations."

Organizations such as the major leagues will be intimately involved and are represented by members on the task force. "Each of the task force members was selected for the unique expertise they can bring to this vital work we have ahead of us," said Dubay.

In addition to Poe, Perkins and Wallace, others serving on the Safety and Security Task Force are:

Milton Ahlerich, senior director of security for the National Football League

Horace Balmer, senior vice president, security for the National Basketball Association

Dennis Cunningham, vice president, security for the National Hockey League

Gregory A. Davis, director, The Cajundome

Jay S. Green, CFE, general manager, Phoenix Civic Plaza

Kevin M. Hallinan, senior vice president, Security and Facility Management for Major League Baseball

Robert J. Hunter, CFE, senior vice president/general manager, Air Canada Centre

Patrick Leahy, vice president, Venue Operations/Clear Channel Entertainment

Turner D. Madden, Esq., legislative counsel for IAAM

Richard A. Martin, AIA, principal HOK Sports Facilities Group

Joe Psuik III, director, San Diego Convention Center

Dan N. Saunders, Jr., CFE, managing partner, Global Image Concepts (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Robyn L. Williams, CFE, director, Portland Center for the Performing Arts

Tom Pauquette, general manager, University of South Carolina Coliseum