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Tony Keane pens open letter congratulating City of Denver & Hyatt Regency for emergency planning

Oct. 16, 2015

Open Letter to City of Denver, Hyatt Regency (PDF)

Oct​. 10, 2015

The Honorable Mayor Michael B. Hancock        
City Hall
1437 N. Bannock Street Room 350                
Denver, Colorado 80202 USA

Office of the General Manager
Hyatt Regency Denver
650 15th Street
Denver, Colorado 80202 USA

To whom it may concern,

Among the guests evacuated from the downtown Hyatt Regency Denver in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct​. 10, were hundreds of facility managers from around the world who had that week attended the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) World Workplace 2015 Conference and Expo at the Colorado Convention Center. Like everyone else that night, IFMA members, staff and our ​board of directors were caught up in the unnerving uncertainty of the situation. But as men and women who are responsible for the emergency planning of our own facilities, we were also impressed by the planning and execution of the Hyatt Regency and the City of Denver.

Denver was a wonderful host city for IFMA’s flagship event where facility professionals attended educational seminars on a wide variety of subject matters, including an entire category for “Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity.” On the products and services expo, attendees saw a wide range of emergency and safety solutions. The health and safety of our facility occupants is our top priority, which is why IFMA puts such a strong emphasis on emergency planning.

No one wants to face the uncertainty of an emergency situation, but when one occurs, the quality of the response can literally mean the difference between life and death. While the details of what was inside the threatening vehicle parked in downtown Denver have not been made public, the maxim “better safe than sorry” applies to the well-being of thousands of hotel residents. This is a central tenet of effective FM promoted by IFMA and our 24,000 members around the world.

It is with this in mind that we want to congratulate both the Hyatt Regency Denver and the City of Denver for their poise and professionalism during the incident. From start to finish, there was evidence of a pre-conceived plan of action, executed flawlessly. The city and hotel worked together effectively to evacuate the hotel, ensure guests were comfortable during the evacuation, keep information flowing and get us back to our rooms in relative short order.

Any emergency plan must begin with a staff that is willing to say something if they see something. The Hyatt Regency valet who noticed the suspicious vehicle was not only alert to his surroundings, but he was empowered to bring a potential threat to the attention of his supervisors who were similarly empowered to take necessary actions to protect the guests at the hotel.

Once the decision to evacuate was made, a potentially chaotic situation was managed gracefully. Displaced guests had a place to go while city first responders prudently defused the situation. Coordination between the emergency services personnel and hotel staff was evident and effective.

As facility management professionals, we know better than almost anyone that the response to the situation on that Saturday morning was the result of careful forethought, planning and practice. On behalf of IFMA’s board of directors and our members and conference attendees who were staying in the hotel, I want to express our appreciation and congratulations for a job well done.


Tony Keane, CAE
President and Chief Executive Officer
International Facility Management Association