LAST CALL: Crisis brings best out of new PR man

Ken Capps was planning to take two weeks to relax and get organized

before starting his new job.



But on Tuesday, September 11, as he was taking his son to school, Capps

heard the news about the terrorist attacks on Washington, DC and New

York, and realized he would have to forget about his break.



He had just been offered the position of VP of public affairs for

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). In fact, on that Tuesday,

he hadn't even officially accepted the position yet, and the job had

been vacant for nine months.



"I knew that if I didn't go in and handle this, then I would be doing a

disservice to not only the people I work for, but the community," Capps

said. "How could I walk in here two weeks later and face people?"



Capps was formerly a PR exec with EDS and Computer Sciences

Corporation.



Even more incredibly, the airport had retained PR agency Intrastar Group

only weeks before the terrorist attacks. The agency was hired to help

out with a project involving a building implosion on the site.



The firm's account team was actually at the airport, at a meeting to

discuss the project, when the airplanes crashed. Since then their focus

has changed to helping the airport's PR staff cope with the crisis. "We

had three of their staffers here every day," Capps said. "We couldn't

have done it without them." Along with fielding global media calls,

Capps and his team have also been creating and distributing brochures to

passengers and staff about security procedures.



Capps also had the idea to waive parking fees for anyone who had left

their car in the long-term parking lots on Monday or Tuesday, costing

the airport $300,000 and earning a lot of media coverage.



Talk about being thrown in at the deep end.



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