Irma’s Lessons

At the end of my October letter, I wished everyone well as Irma was poised to strike. The last-minute change in trajectory meant the Florida Keys took the brunt of the damage instead of the region’s three-county urban core. I hope your businesses and families fared well during the storm.

I had the fun experience of having a flight to Atlanta get canceled the Friday before the storm and then driving to the St. Petersburg area when the forecast for South Florida raised the possibility of 135 mph winds. I groaned when Irma took a track further west. That prompted my web post on about how technology still can’t fathom the vagaries of hurricanes.

I wrote an earlier post about the 1926 Miami hurricane, which I feared Irma might turn into. Thanks to all the readers who immediately read it. So many people read that post and a subsequent one about our Apogee honorees that our SFBW website momentarily crashed. My apologies to any frustrated readers, but our tech team says it has beefed up the number of people the site can handle at a given time.

We have a follow-up on Irma on the web. We found out some interesting tidbits. One came from Bob Roscioli, who said boats in his marinas suffered no damage because they were all tied together. Unfortunately, many boats in the Keys and places like Dinner Key Marina in Miami didn’t share such a fate.

We also have an article in this issue that talks about the need to have a disaster plan that takes a deep dive into HR issues. The piece has some great advice and examples of best practices.

On a more positive note, our cover story on Tyler Vernon shows the exodus of financial service firms from the Northeast continues. Vernon is the CEO of Biltmore Capital, and he says he had been advising clients to move to Florida and decided it was time to finally take his own advice.

The Business Development Board of Palm Beach estimates 60 to 70 financial services firms have moved to that county alone in the past four years.

So, despite our occasional hurricanes, South Florida is indeed an attractive place to live and do business.

Kevin Gale
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