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
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.