If you&rquo;ve read this column in the past, you probably know that I&rquo;m a lifelong Oklahoma resident. Being an “Okie,” I know that April showers don&rquo;t just bring May flowers — they also bring tornadoes. Next time you visit the Sooner State in the spring (and I know that&rquo;s on everyone&rquo;s travel itinerary), just know you&rquo;re in the middle of Tornado Alley. The skies will darken (and that&rquo;s OK, just as long as they don&rquo;t turn green — that&rquo;s when you start to worry), the tornado sirens will go off, the wind will pick up, and soon things will be back to normal.
Someone asked me while I was at the California Dental Association&rquo;s Spring Session how many times I&rquo;ve been in a tornado. Honestly, I&rquo;ve taken cover three times in my 39-plus years and never had anything damaged by a twister (thank the Lord).
Yes, that&rquo;s right — many of you who are reading this and were in Atlanta for the Hinman Meeting have encountered more tornadoes than me. I wasn&rquo;t there when the twister struck downtown Atlanta, but I was following it closely on Fox News Channel and CNN (well, when CNN was actually showing tornado coverage instead of an interview with Barack Obama).
I&rquo;ve heard the stories that came along with the twister — some people ducking under restaurant tables thinking gunshots were ringing out as the glass windows blew out, some people running from their hotel rooms at the urging of Omni Hotel security, and some who were a few blocks away and never knew anything happened until they tried to get back into their hotel rooms that night.
It was an interesting time for the dental industry. Rumors swirled about the inside state of the Georgia World Congress Center, especially with the footage of water running down the GWCC staircases. Was everything destroyed? What booths were damaged, and which ones survived? It was pure speculation. I know Kim Ryan, who does PR work for the Hinman Meeting, hopes I never call her again because she became my new best phone buddy during those initial hours after the tornado hit.
I know the effects of the tornado that hit the GWCC certainly weren&rquo;t as bad as we all thought early on, but I know it still caused problems. The sign inside the Patterson booth at the CDA meeting in Anaheim apologized to those who visited, explaining that the booth that was to be at CDA had been destroyed in Atlanta. When I asked him how the Atlanta damage would affect every show down the line, John Bettencourt simply said, “Well, we were thinking of doing a redesign anyway, so this just sped up the process.” That&rquo;s making lemonade out of lemons, but it is symbolic of everyone&rquo;s approach from the Hinman tornado — pick up the pieces, clean up what can be cleaned up, and move on.
All in all, our industry friends in downtown Atlanta that fateful March night were very lucky and very blessed.
- As you&rquo;ve probably noticed, this is the first issue of Proofs with the redesigned look. We&rquo;ve been working on the redesign for some time, and we&rquo;re glad we&rquo;re finally able to share our design team&rquo;s hard work with you. Drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know what you think of it.
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