Ideas, Inspiration, and Innovation: Report on the 2016 FLASH Annual Conference

2016 AC Leadership PhotoOrganizing an annual conference every year is a mammoth undertaking for an organization of our size, but it is one of the most important aspects to our work because it delivers such unique value. In our movement, most conferences bring together attendees with a common profession, like engineers, floodplain managers, or meteorologists. Many revolve around a common hazard, like the National Earthquake Conference or the National Hurricane Conference.

But ours is different. Our common thread is our shared mission, “Strengthening homes and safeguarding families from disasters of all kinds.” In today’s language, it’s all about resilience.

So we bring together more than 150 different professions from architects and engineers to futurists and journalists. We focus on all hazards from earthquakes to wildfires. We gain insights from policy leadership and hurricane hunting to risk communication research.

And throughout, we are inspired. We share the dedication of our building code allies as we fight to advance the quality of structures across the U.S., and now the globe. We celebrate product innovation that delivers durable buildings, affordably.

And after 18 years of nearly annual gatherings, the Conference is still our most essential event as it energizes us all. We come together, celebrate our progress, overcome challenges, and remember that we have accomplished a great deal already. This gathering was the incubator for the once crazy notion/now award-winning Disney edu-tainment collaboration, StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes. Many other breakthrough ideas were born here, just this way.

All of this is why one of my favorite duties each year is reviewing the Conference wrap-up report and video reel that we are sending out today. In them, you can feel the excitement and positivity of our speakers, and you can experience the sincerity of the champions who fight for a more resilient world every day.

For my part, I can’t help but marvel at how it has all grown. In the beginning, we simply wanted to get a group around the table. Now, we convene the “Davos” of the resilience movement. And we are truly humbled to do so.

Plans are underway for 2017, and we hope to see you there. In the meantime, enjoy the report and remember the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Yes it is.