The recent winter storm in Atlanta was a trying time for residents and visitors, such as the more than 1,100 exhibitors and 25,000 attendees at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), January 28-30. However, a well thought-out weather preparedness plan proved to mitigate problems.
“The winter storm presented us with some challenges staffing the event,” said IAVM member Patrick Skaggs, assistant general manager at GWCC. “We had over 100 employees stay overnight on rotating shifts to ensure that the sidewalks and roadways in and around our campus were cleared. We also had to perform all of our regular duties in cleaning and converting almost three million square feet of space that the event used within the facility. These monumental challenges would have been impossible for us to take on without the team members and equipment from the Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park (also managed by the GWCC Authority).”
An “Inclement Weather Plan” was created more than three years ago, Skaggs said, and it’s an extension of the venue’s “Emergency Operating Procedures.”
“The plan came in very useful during this weather event, but it’s one of those documents that is constantly being improved,” he said.
At the time of the interview, the event was still moving out of the facility, so a comprehensive debrief hadn’t been conducted yet. The main goal, though, was to ensure a great guest experience, and Skaggs said he’s proud of the GWCC team for doing whatever was necessary to provide “best in class” service to attendees.
“I’m very pleased with how our team handled this winter storm and IPPE in general,” he said.
Do you have a current weather preparedness plan in place? How often is it updated? Please contribute to the conversation in the comment section below.