disaster preparedness

I found this at HispanicBusiness.com:

Does Your Business Have a Disaster Plan?

Here’s the short version:

Follow these tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration in Richmond and Victoria Parham, president and chief technology officer of Virtual Support Services LLC, an Internet-based training and services business in Emporia:

  • Establish relationships with vendors outside your locality. During a disaster, they can deliver products and services to your clients, Parham said.
  • Establish an online billing, invoicing and payment system. Your revenue will continue to flow as clients pay by credit card and check, Parham said.
  • Invest in off-site backup storage of your mission-critical data. Even in a national emergency, you will have access to the information you need to continue your business operations, she said. What’s mission critical? How about your payroll, tax, accounting and production records, for starters?
  • Find an off-site physical storage facility. Try to be sure it is in an area that’s not vulnerable to the same disaster as your facility, the SBA advised.
  • Think globally.
  • Identify what your company can’t survive without. Is it computers? Production machinery? Custom-made parts? Power? Your building? Figure out how not to be without those things, the SBA advised. If it’s your building that’s critical, consider making upgrades now that might avert or minimize extensive damage during a disaster.
  • Prepare employees to work remotely. Provide laptops, cell phones and backup dial-up providers that employees need to communicate with each other and clients from dispersed locations, Parham urged.
  • Invest in a backup generator. In a power failure, it might save your refrigeration, lighting, security systems and computer control, the SBA said.
  • Keep this number handy: (800) 659-2955, the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center.

Read the story for the complete details.

best PIO in the city

Congratulations to Raquel Espinoza-Williams for being named Houston’s Best Public Information Officer by the Houston Press in their annual Best of issue this week. (This used to be called the “Flack of the Year” award.)

How did she win this dubious honor?

Our pick for best flack is also the Houston Press Club’s “Communicator of the Year” for 2005. Espinoza-Williams produces a great monthly newsletter for the Houston Shriners Hospital, which offers free treatment to children suffering from a variety of serious conditions. Her stories not only reflect the innovative treatments the hospital offers but also dig deeper to get the emotions of the doctors, nurses, physical therapists and, most important, young patients. Some flacks are just in it for a paycheck, but we get the impression Espinoza-Williams really cares about her organization and understands that spreading awareness can help more children in the future.

Congrats! And keep up the good work.

designing libraries

Thoughtful Library Design
— The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog

As they renovate old libraries and plan new ones, colleges consider the purpose of the buildings — and how to make them popular.

Thoughtful Design Keeps New Libraries Relevant
Not everything students want and need is online

— reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education

But now librarians increasingly find that administrators, professors, and students see the library building as essential, a romanticized heart of the campus. At the same time, though, libraries have changed radically from the stodgy and stuffy repositories of years past. Some people wonder whether libraries have loosened up too much, and what libraries will look like in the future.