ChicagoFIRST teamwork would pay off in a crisis
November 22, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Louis Rosenthal's job
isn't sexy, but it's indispensable. The 27-year banking-industry
vet is executive vice president at ABN Amro, the Dutch parent
of LaSalle Bank. He runs technology infrastructure and operations.
Before 9/11, no one took much notice of Rosenthal's responsibilities.
Now the Department of the Treasury is spotlighting him.
expect financial institutions to open," says Rosenthal who
was in New York on 9/11. He says the financial-services sector
recovered quickly. The biggest problem was the grounding of air
traffic which delayed transaction clearing. The industry collaborated
to get systems running, but what if there's a next time and what
pretty concentrated here," says Rosenthal. "It's banks,
insurance companies, securities firms, clearing firms and exchanges.
A lot is done electronically, but to have a lot done in one place
made us feel vulnerable."
over a beer
brought Rosenthal and Ro Kumar, vice president at Options Clearing
Corp., together for a beer. "Ro made some calls in the securities
industry. I made some calls in the banking industry," says
Rosenthal. "We convened an ad hoc meeting. We got together
and started talking."
From an informal
conversation emerged ChicagoFIRST. The working group grew to include
14 leading Chicago financial institutions that engaged with a
host of strategic partners ranging from the city of Chicago and
the Chicago Police Department to the Department of Homeland Security.
on evacuation plans, assuring business continuity, gaining timely
information in an emergency, and getting essential personnel back
into affected areas in a crisis. Each organization had individual
disaster recovery plans, and through ChicagoFIRST, the plans became
coordinated for the entire industry.
time of crisis we don't want 20 firms picking up the phone trying
to get their buddy at the police department," says Rosenthal.
"There is now a seat for ChicagoFIRST at the joint operations
center of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications."
Chicago's financial services industry is coordinating with local,
state and federal authorities.
month, Treasury begins promoting ChicagoFIRST as a model for creating
regional coalitions to assure business continuity in case disaster
shutout on nanotech
of Michigan is crowing again. Seems the Maize and Blue and the
state of Michigan are part of a 13-university consortium that
won a $70 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation.
the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, and the goal
is to create facilities to support nanotech commercialization.
It includes Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Howard University, University
of Washington, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Penn State, University
of Texas-Austin, University of New Mexico, University of California
at Santa Barbara, and North Carolina State.
absent are Illinois institutions. In his March 2003 State of the
State address, Gov. Blagojevich said, "Illinois should have
been -- and it's going to be -- Silicon Prairie, and that can
start with nanotechnology." Nearly 19 months later, we're
still losing nanotech investments.
a shame no Illinois institutions are on the winning network,"
says Sean Murdock, executive director of the New York-based NanoBusiness
Alliance, the industry trade association that guided Congress
on the creation of the $3.7 billion 21st Century Nanotechnology
Research and Development Act. Murdock points to facilities at
Argonne, Northwestern and the University of Illinois - Chicago
that aid nanotech commercialization.
got the General Assembly to pass a resolution last week urging
the U.S. Department of Energy to put the $1 billion Rare Isotope
Accelerator at Argonne. Question is, can our politicians sell
it in Washington?
The 21st annual
Illinois High Tech awards convene tonight at the Ritz Carlton.
The four winners are Githesh Ramamurthy, CEO of CCC Information
Services; Gian Fulgoni, chairman comScore Networks; Raymond Spencer,
CEO Kanbay International; and, Santo LaMantia, CEO Shure Inc.
Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.