It’s funny how chance meetings can impact our lives… change our perspectives.Three specific occasions immediately come to my mind.The first occurred, of all places, on a cruise ship to Alaska. My wife and I were playing cards in one of the lounges when in comes a large group of service men and women—all ages and nationalities. As it turns out, there was a veterans meeting taking place. We hung around to listen. People literally from both sides of the conflicts in Afghanistan to Hiroshima to Hamburger Hill.The selfless explanation of the heroic acts these men and women carried out under such extreme circumstances made me feel superfluous…The second happened about a year ago.By chance, I learned that the Sacramento Chapter of an EMC Affinity Group was hosting the Tuskegee Airmen. I had seen films about this group so I was familiar with their story and excited to meet them.But what I heard that day I wasn’t prepared for.At dinner, I sat next to Airman Lenny Yates, who regaled stories not of heroism but of overcoming adversity and ‘just doing what he thought was right.’ Powerful words by any account, but by a teenage boy… wow. Sadly, Lenny passed away a short while after our visit, but this chance meeting will go down as one of my most cherished moments.The third occasion happened just a few weeks ago.I was in New York and was asked to attend a panel of IT professionals to talk through their experiences with Hurricane Sandy, one year later.To be honest, like most of you, I had read the news and watched on television the devastation this storm inflicted on the people of NY and NJ, but at the risk of sounding trite, once again, I wasn’t prepared for the first-hand stories I heard.Off-camera discussions about how 9/11 had helped prepare them for this tragedy; stories of how in the midst of their own personal strife, many of them had to leave their own families and work around the clock for days sleeping in conference rooms, of engineers working out of cars using cigarette lighter jacks for power, and of how one engineer even set up a war room in his house for the local team as he was the only one with a generator.Like the first two chance encounters, as I listened to the stories of the devastation and the backstories of their own personal situations, I found it impossible to logically assimilate what had happened.What really struck home wasn’t the technology or the strategic readiness, but the great lengths that people went to in order to ‘save the day.’I live on the West Coast, if ‘the big one’ (meaning an earthquake) hits and my family is in trouble, would I emotionally be able to handle the juxtaposition of my own personal situation and my job? Would you?I didn’t live through Hurricane Sandy, or Tuskegee, or Afghanistan, Hiroshima or Hamburger Hill, but I can say that I was truly humbled by the stories I heard from those who did.***You can read the article that accompanies the on-camera discussions of the Hurricane Sandy panel by clicking here. I hope you find the output of the meeting somewhat instructive from a disaster-preparedness perspective.
Press Association The Barclays Premier League’s bottom side failed to rouse themselves for a must-win game at the Etihad Stadium and seemed condemned after conceding Aguero’s first after just four minutes. Aleksandar Kolarov, James Milner and David Silva also got on the scoresheet as rampant City, who hit the woodwork as well through Wilfried Bony, kept up their challenge for second place with a fourth successive win. But the story of the afternoon was about QPR’s sorry demise after just one season back in the top flight. Questions will now be asked about the future of manager Chris Ramsey and, perhaps more seriously, the status of the club itself with the Football League’s position over their financial situation still unclear. While City’s biggest problem on the day was how to get fit-again Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany back into the team – both were on the bench – QPR’s sorry day began with administrative issues. It emerged prior to the game that midfielder Sandro had been withdrawn on Home Office advice because of an issue relating to his UK residency visa. Clint Hill, Steven Caulker and Bobby Zamora did at least pass fitness tests but once the game began, it seemed the visitors lacked heart for the battle. Results on Saturday had sent the Londoners to the bottom of the table needing to win to have any hope of survival, but their body language never seemed right. Strikers Zamora and Charlie Austin did look like they could trouble City but the team’s general lack of bite meant they were fighting a lost cause. The writing seemed on the wall in the opening minutes when Leroy Fer gave the ball away and Silva charged through a gap to release Aguero. The Argentinian’s effort was blocked on this occasion but he made no mistake in the fourth minute when he burst through some poor tackling. He did get a lucky rebound off Matt Phillips but his finish from close range was clinical as he expertly dinked over Rob Green. Aguero threatened again but could not quite get the ball under control, Pablo Zabaleta fired across goal, James Milner failed to get away a shot and Fernando drove wide as City dominated. Austin did rattle the crossbar and power a header past Joe Hart as the hosts twice switched off at the back, but the flag was up on both occasions. City doubled their lead when dead-ball specialist Kolarov clipped a free-kick over the wall and beyond Green. Aguero almost added another but Green came out to block. Rangers again showed what they could do if they tried as Fer lobbed a shot onto the bar and Zamora followed up, but City goalkeeper Joe Hart got back to clutch his header. But City’s superiority was never in doubt and they extended their lead after a Yun Suk-young blunder early in the second half. The Korean failed to make a routine interception as Silva sent a long ball forward and Aguero was quick to pounce, racing through on goal and giving Green no chance. Green did react brilliantly to push a Silva shot wide when the Spaniard broke clear soon after but he was soon picking the ball out of the net again as City were awarded a penalty. Silva was bundled over by Phillips as the ball was lofted into the box and referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Aguero coolly sent Green the wrong way to complete his hat-trick and take his tally for the season to 31. Things got even worse for QPR – and more embarrassing – as Milner tapped in City’s fifth. Substitute Bony, who replaced the well-acclaimed Frank Lampard, flicked on from a corner and Aguero supplied Milner with an easy finish. Bony himself went close by forcing Green to save with his feet and then hitting the post. Silva completed the humiliation four minutes from time when he took Bony’s backheel in his stride and calmly went round Green. Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick as QPR slumped to relegation without a whimper in an embarrassing 6-0 defeat at Manchester City.