I often poke fun at myself for the history of bad luck I have when I travel. And in fact, I have an impressive resume* (see the list of unfortunate incidents I’ve experienced below). So that’s why it was quite a surprise to me that I hadn’t yet arrived to Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort last Tuesday night when a supposed gas leak ignited an explosion at one end of the resort, forcing all 5,000 people inside to evacuate (estimates say the blast is responsible for $750,000 in damage -thankfully, nobody was hurt.) I found out upon my arrival the next morning that the exposition portion of the Crawford Contractor Connections event had been canceled. In fact, Crawford organizers nixed all of the breakout and general sessions scheduled for Wednesday, partially because they needed to regroup and decide how they were going to proceed with things. Also partially because resort guests weren’t allowed back into the hotel until 3:30-4 a.m. Wednesday morning, so there was sleep to be had.
But with a conference/convention comprised of restoration professionals, it’s fitting that convention organizers had to be spontaneous in acting fast. That’s one of the most admirable things about restoration workers - they have to be ready to go right when the phone rings, whether it’s noon or midnight.
The Crawford folks acted fast, and despite the cancelling of the expo portion of the event, the Welcome/Networking Reception went off without a hitch Wednesday night as did the general sessions and breakout sessions on Thursday. What’s more is that they were still very well attended, so much so that not everyone could find a seat at the General Sessions and lined the back of the room and the side walls. All in all, there was still a lot of value in the conference, despite the scary malfunction from Tuesday night, and the Crawford folks deserve a lot of credit in persevering and putting on a great conference when things easily could have continued far less smoothly.
Next year’s convention will be in San Antonio, Texas. Here’s to hoping that Crawford Contractor Connection gets its comeuppance for a recent history of bad luck (aside from the explosion this year, the 2010 event, also held in Nashville, was completely canceled due to mass flooding).
*Eric’s History of Unfortunate Events
- April 2010: Tokyo Work Trip: My return flight from Tokyo on a work trip at a previous job was delayed four hours when one of the plane’s engines wouldn’t start prior to take off.
- May 2010: Disney World Vacation: My wife and I’s flight to Orlando, FL was delayed for eight hours after somebody flushed a diaper down one of the plane’s toilets. Heck of a way to start a vacation…
- March 2011: Maui Vacation: A dream vacation to Maui turned scary when our beachfront hotel was evacuated to high ground in the middle of the night for a tsunami warning (an aftereffect of the devastating Japan earthquake). It was a sleepless night, as we weren’t allowed back to the hotel until around 7 a.m.
- November 2011: Mexico Work Trip: I was one of about 40 passengers randomly removed from a flight to Monterey, Mexico when the plane had to remove passengers due to heavy trade winds around the Gulf of Mexico to ensure they would have enough fuel to make the flight.