Many of you have watched and followed the news on Hurricane Harvey, which recently hit the Gulf coast of Texas. The heavy rain brought by Harvey resulted in historic flooding in Houston, took lives, and damaged hundreds of thousands of homes and cars.
While the damage is severe and the images on TV and online are horrifying, we want to assure you that our conference venues were not flooded and our conference is on track to be held as planned on October 28-31, 2017.
Our conference hotel, the Hilton Americas-Houston, is located in the downtown area and remained open throughout the storm. One of the conference program chairs visited that area afterwards and verified that it had not flooded. The SMS office has been in constant contact with the hotel and learned that the hotel has not suffered any damage. The Houston Museum of Natural Science, where our Monday Night Event will be held, was closed for a few days but did not suffer damage either and reopened on September 1, 2017.
The world is full of surprises and crises. How to effectively and successfully address those is complex; rarely is there a straightforward solution. Decision makers must weigh various options and make tough decisions under conditions of uncertainty and incomplete information. For example, “to evacuate or not” was a tough decision for Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and his decision in this regard has been heatedly debated in the media.
Arguably, these tough and important questions are of inherent intellectual interest to strategy scholars, and consistent with our conference theme, “Unconventional Strategies for Emerging Complexity and Intensifying Diversity.” We sincerely invite you to come to Houston and see what happened and offer your suggestions on how Houston can recover and what should be done to better prepare for natural disasters in the future.
With Harvey’s total damage estimated to be up to $180 billion, “How Houston will recover?” is a billion dollar question. Your participation in the SMS 2017 Annual Conference Houston is one small step you can take to aid in recovery – your contributions to the Houston economy will be meaningful.
Laura, Chet, and Anthea
SMS 2017 Annual Conference Houston