http://archives.nytimes.com/2001/09/24/technology/24BLUE.html By STEVE LOHR September 24, 2001 When disaster strikes, Brent Woodworth is usually not far behind. Floods, earthquakes and bombings are his business. His rsum includes laboring at the scene of 70 catastrophes, natural and man-made earthquakes in Turkey, flooding in Peru, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing as the head of the I.B.M. crisis response team. Over the years, Mr. Woodworth has done everything from reviving databases to digging for survivors. In his grim yet hopeful line of work, Mr. Woodworth has befriended many of the disaster specialists at insurance companies, and he personally knew seven of them who are missing and presumed dead after the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11. "It's just tragic they were great people," Mr. Woodworth said, pausing from his work at New York City's emergency command center, where his unit is set up. Mr. Woodworth personifies the first wave of the information technology industry's efforts to recover and rebuild from the terrorist attacks. Much of his team's work is a form of humanitarian aid: cooperating with government agencies and the Red Cross, distributing notebook computers and hand-helds and setting up software without charge. In New York, Mr. Woodworth and his I.B.M. team offer practical business advice and technology, like setting up a wireless network and handing out 250 BlackBerry hand-held computers for sending e-mail messages in the devastated tip of Lower Manhattan, where cellphone service has been spotty. The hand-helds went to Red Cross workers and state and city officials, including Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. "Well, he's on the list anyway," Mr. Woodworth said, adding that an aide would probably operate the device for the mayor. Yet elsewhere, Mr. Woodworth's work has often been decidedly low- tech. After the earthquake in Turkey in 1999, he noticed that people seemed to be frozen by the fear of aftershocks that could leave them trapped alive in damaged buildings. So I.B.M. passed out thousands of whistles. The notion was that if people became trapped they could blow the whistles, and the rescue workers and relatives could then find them. "There are a lot of simple `peace of mind' things you can do," Mr. Woodworth explained. In New York, Mr. Woodworth and his 25-person team are working mainly with the Red Cross and government agencies, but I.B.M. also had 1,200 customers within a two- block radius of the World Trade Center. Mr. Woodworth participates in the conference calls, every four hours since the attacks, involving the managers in charge of I.B.M.'s disaster recovery business. "We work hand in hand with Brent's crisis response team," said David Daniel, who runs an I.B.M. disaster-recovery data center in upstate New York. "They are right there on the scene, our eyes and ears on the ground." I.B.M.'s disaster-recovery and contingency-planning business generates an estimated $600 million a year in revenues, according to the Gartner Group, a research firm. "That is a good business," Mr. Woodworth said. "But I.B.M. also thinks it's important to do the more humanitarian work like my team is doing here. We're not selling anything or charging for what we do. We're just trying to be responsive to communities where we do business." - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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