Chamber Luncheon Focuses On Preparing For Hurricane Season

Lyn Cacella of Florida Public Utilities, Wellington Regional Medical Center CEO Robbin Lee, keynote speaker Rick Murrell and Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Lou Bedford. Photo by Tracey Benson

On Thursday, June 7, the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce held a luncheon focused on hurricane preparedness at the West Palm Beach Marriott. The event was timely, as hurricane season officially started June 1.

Keynote speaker Rick Murrell addressed the crowd, touching on significant aspects to consider regarding a potentially destructive storm. He gave key details that business owners need to consider when a storm hits and communities are without power.

“In business, everything is measurable… your resilience plan is measurable, too,” Murrell said. “The most important thing you can do is take care of your employees’ families.”

Murrell’s philosophy is, if the employee’s family is taken care of, they can resume their work responsibilities sooner and without worry.

After the luncheon, key business, state, county and municipal leaders continued to go further in depth with a small-group workshop, where Murrell underscored the need for backup energy and efficient transportation of gas in times of crises. His disaster-readiness approach encourages a unified mindset, strong leadership and delegation in order to answer to the question, “Who is in charge?”

Murrell’s first experience with the extent of a disastrous storm came in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo caused widespread destruction in the Caribbean. Since then, he has created effective hurricane plans for business sustainability and resilience. He is now senior vice president of Saltchuck Resources and chairman of Tropical Shipping.

Tropical Shipping has become a leading ocean carrier and logistics provider for U.S. and Canadian manufactured exports to the Bahamas and Caribbean. Through Murrell’s leadership, Tropical Shipping was selected as recipient of the Florida Governors Corporate Award in 2011 for disaster recovery and preparedness. Last year, Murrell launched recovery efforts in the Caribbean during hurricanes Maria and Irma, allowing swift rebuilding efforts on many of the island nations.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration predicts a “near or above normal” hurricane season. An average hurricane season recognizes 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. Palm Beach County sits in a prime position to be impacted by the brunt of the storms, but foresight and preparation will save you time and money, and allow for quick resilience.