Hurricane Harvey and Football

Posted on: September 1, 2017

A couple things have been on my mind this week:  Hurricane Harvey and football / preparation and readiness. You might ask, how do those items connect?

I am referring to our ITS team preparation and readiness.  Last Friday, with the realization that Harvey was going to have an impact well beyond the coast, our ITS Incident Management Team kicked off an early meeting to go over our processes and procedures and ensure that in the event that our campus might be impacted, we would be ready.  We practiced our communication protocol (emergency text), checked our call trees and updated phone numbers, topped off our staff vehicles and generators with fuel, and our Wide Area Network (WAN) team went so far as to stage some equipment in outlying areas closer to the coast if the need would arise.  These things may seem simple on the surface but are critical in the event things escalate.  The campus turned up the Emergency Operations Center last Friday, and our leadership team took turns staffing that well into the weekend.  As events unfolded, we all saw a great deal of rain, but the impact to our campus and systems was minimal.  We are grateful.  I am most proud of the fact that if the situation worsened, we were prepared and ready.

So – I mentioned football.  Well this is another one of those areas that few on campus realize that ITS has a key role in supporting components that make up a successful game day.  And yes, we have prepared and are ready.  Tomorrow we will have approximately 35 staff members on site to support the event.  The teams from Electronic Access Control, Video Surveillance, Networking and Voice, Outside Plant, Multimedia Events, and Data Centers keep a watchful eye on services (and sometimes the game) that support the events in and around the stadium.

As the week has progressed we have all watched what has unfolded in Houston and the coast.  Many of us have family and friends there and it has been heartbreaking to view.  We send both prayers and support to get them back on their feet!

A final comment that I will borrow from Chancellor McRaven’s note earlier this week.  I hope you got it and had a chance to read it.  The Chancellor quoted a familiar expression “The University of Texas stops for no storm” – that response came in the form of a telegraph from then Chairman of the Board of Regents when it was suggested that UTMB close after the hurricane of 1900.  It is still fitting 117 years later!

Enjoy your long weekend – and good luck Longhorns!  Thank you for all that you do.