Enterprise Center Plays Big Role in Relief Operations

Posted: October 4, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

On the afternoon of Sept. 11, the Mason Enterprise Center’s Telework and Training Centers received an urgent call from the Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association, the major provider of insurance and survivor services to the Army and Air Force communities. In the wake of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the military base at Fort Myer was closed to all but essential personnel, yet the association was being flooded with inquiries about survivor benefits and submitting claims.

The Enterprise Center jumped into action, and by 8 a.m. the next morning, after a day and night spent frantically forwarding phone lines and hooking up computers, the association was set up with temporary headquarters in the Fairfax Telework and Training Center. “It was a bit of a scramble, but we managed to do it,” says Andrew Spalding, operations manager of the telework and training centers. The mutual aid association worked from the telework center for three full days until it could return its operations to the base.

But the university’s role hasn’t stopped there. Large numbers of federal workers either displaced from downtown offices that have closed or simply concerned about their safety in the District of Columbia have begun the registration process to work at the four telework centers operated by the Enterprise Center in Fairfax, Herndon, Sterling, and Manassas. “We are happy to be able to provide space where these employees can be near their families at this important time and still be able to keep the government running,” says Spalding.

In another unexpected twist, the center is hearing from many federal agencies that want to establish emergency work locations at one of the telework centers so that in the case of another terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or any other event that requires the evacuation of federal buildings, they will have a place to call home.

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