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home page, a simple message: “BOS- TON STRONG.” The six societies were also sending out their own updates, let- ting people know that the show would go on. “Communication is key with all the players,” Jackson said. “The BCEC folks, in communication with them, some of them had to go through similar challenges when Hurricane Sandy came through. It’s talking. It’s asking questions. There are no stupid ques- tions. I asked a lot of them. I wanted to make sure if any attendees asked me, I was well prepared.” That sentiment was not uncom-


mon. “I wouldn’t have minded being blamed for over-communicating, is the best way to sum it up,” Rooney said. “If people are tired of hearing from me, I guess that’s a good thing.”


THE MOOD ON THE GROUND Meanwhile, the bombers hadn’t been caught, and no one knew if they were still in Boston. In the days after the marathon, there were bomb reports in and around the city — all of them false, but they had to be investigated, which sometimes led to evacuations. The mood was unreal — anxious,


unsettled, but also defiant. ASCA 2013 went off as planned, except for the added security at the Hynes, and ended up raising nearly $12,000 for The One Fund Boston, which was formed to help people who were affected by the bombings. A variety of smaller meet- ings in hotels around Boston also went ahead (see sidebars on pp. 17 and 18).


“It became important to all of us to dem- onstrate that these intimidation and terrorism tactics weren’t going to work,” Rooney said. “It’s perfectly understand- able for people who might have an emo- tional reaction to such things to stay away, but at the same time, the message needs to be sent that our way of life is not going to be impacted by this type of activity. What I witnessed, among both our workforce and the people of Boston and the participants at [ASCA],


PCMA.ORG


was actually a defiant attitude in which people wanted to show everyone that they weren’t going to be intimidated and that life was going to go on.” Jackson noticed something similar


among the participants at Experimental Biology, which, as the week went along, began move-in at the BCEC.


“The attendees seemed proud to be there,” she said.


“They were glad to be there for the science, and at the same time to support the city in their recovery. They certainly put a lot of money into the economy. They were out in restaurants, they were taking cabs…. We all felt a connection to the city.”


SHELTERING IN PLACE And then it was Friday morn- ing, April 19, and everyone was waking to the news that one of the bombing suspects was dead, that his brother was the subject of an intense manhunt, and that the city of Boston was in lockdown


— meaning people were being asked to stay inside, to “shelter in place,” while police looked for the suspect. “We knew what was going on and


what had happened overnight,” Rooney said. “Even before the shelter-in- place [order] was extended to Boston, because we participate in intelligence- sharing with state and city law enforce- ment, we began to get information that there were leads and sightings [of the suspects] coming in from all over the city, and each of those needed to be treated seriously.” Added Moscaritolo: “[GBCVB’s]


communication was by email, text, cell- phones from homes, because we were not allowed out and into downtown until 6 or 6:30 that Friday night. It was difficult, but thank goodness for tech- nology. We were able to communicate with our staff and with our clients.” ASCA 2013 was wrapping up, but


‘It’s perfectly understandable for people who might have an emotional reac- tion to such things to stay away, but at the same time, the message needs to be sent that our way of life is not going to be impacted by this type of activity.’


lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for Experimental Biology, whose attendees began arriving in force on Friday, and for Boston Comic Con, which was slated to begin move-in at the Hynes that morning. As the day wore on without any clear resolution to the manhunt or the lockdown, Comic Con posted updates on its Facebook page — pub- lic transportation is “cur- rently suspended due to police action”; move-in at the Hynes is “currently sus- pended till further notice”; and finally, mid-afternoon on Friday, “The Boston Comic Con will be resched- uled to a date in the not too distant future.” (As of now, it’s scheduled for Aug. 3–4 at Boston’s Seaport World


Trade Center.) Experimental Biology continued to


set up at the BCEC and, as scheduled, went ahead and opened registration


— but had to conduct that within the parameters of the lockdown. Mean- while, attendees were pouring into the city, many of them from overseas. “All of the major hotels were still open and welcoming guests,” Rooney said. “The difficulty — and it became almost a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour man- agement decision — was registration…. We made a decision consistent with the shelter-in-place that people should not be encouraged to come to the BCEC and leave their hotels. We put out the word that registration would take place at the hotels. But we weren’t going to turn people away at the building, so we took them in.” Throughout all of this, meeting pro-


fessionals worked with the full knowl- edge that Experimental Biology might have to be postponed or canceled. “We had several meetings throughout the day with BCEC security and the execu- tive staff at BCEC,” Jackson said, “and


JUNE 2013 PCMA CONVENE 19

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