The crack The Meeting

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The crack The Meeting

Genres: Short , Animation , Comedy

Countries: USA

Released: Thursday, June 11, 2015

The gang have trouble with their YouTube channel, so they travel to Google to ask for help.

The gang have trouble with their YouTube channel, so they travel to Google to ask for help.

Watch The Crack: The Meeting online

The Crack: The Meeting

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MIAMI — Hours before the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University on Thursday, the engineering company for the bridge held a meeting to discuss a crack on the structure, according to a statement from the university released early Saturday.

The engineering company, Figg Bridge Engineers, delivered a technical presentation on the crack, and “concluded there were no safety concerns and the crack did not compromise the structural integrity of the bridge,” the statement said.

The construction manager on the project and representatives from the university and the state Department of Transportation attended the two-hour meeting, which was led by Figg’s lead engineer on the project, W. Denney Pate.

Two days earlier, Mr. Pate left a voice mail message for the Transportation Department about “some cracking that’s been observed on the north end” of the bridge, according to a recording from the department released on Friday. At both the meeting and in his message, Mr. Pate said the cracking did not present any safety issues.

The Transportation Department said the message was not heard until Friday morning. A spokesman for the agency, Dick Kane, said in an email that its representative at the meeting the day before, Alfredo Reyna, was a consultant whose role was chiefly to keep the project on schedule.

“While Reyna is a professional engineer, he does not have control over the project and relies on the expertise of the licensed engineer of record,” Mr. Kane said.

At no point during their communications, the department said, “did Figg or any member of the F.I.U. design-build team ever communicate a life-safety issue.”

Whether the cracking contributed to the collapse, which killed six people, remains a key question in the investigation.

Construction crews were working on a diagonal beam at the north end of the structure at or about the time of the collapse, according to information the National Transportation Safety Board provided to local members of Congress. Workers were tightening cables that ran inside the beam.

Such adjustments, which engineers call “post-tensioning,” are common in concrete designs to fine-tune the structure once it is in place. In this case, however, it was not clear whether the cable-tightening was routine or an urgent undertaking in response to the discovery of the crack in the bridge.

Around the same time the meeting was starting, about 9 a.m., Jorge Mesa, a 31-year-old university employee, said he was in his car near the bridge when he heard “a cracking-whip kind of sound.” He looked to his right and saw one of the construction workers on the street.

The worker’s face, Mr. Mesa said, seemed to say, “Um, that’s not normal.”

“When he gave me that face, I got the chills all the way down my body,” he said.

The bridge came down that afternoon.

Witnesses said the collapse appeared to start near the north end. But no one, including the N.T.S.B., has so far placed any blame for the collapse on the cables or cable-tightening work.

By late Saturday evening, recovery crews had extracted four crushed vehicles from under the rubble. Workers covered the vehicles in black sheeting and towed them to the medical examiner to identify the remains of any victims inside.

At a news conference around 10 p.m., Juan J. Perez, the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, said five people had been found under the 950 tons of rubble. A sixth person, Navarro Brown, was part of the crew working on the bridge and died at a hospital.

“We’re pretty confident that no one’s left,” he said.

The Police Department identified one victim in one of the first vehicles as Roland Fraga Hernandez, and two people in the second vehicle, Oswald Gonzalez, 57, and Alberto Arias, 53.

The police said the first vehicle was a Jeep Cherokee. It was nearly flattened but still distinguishable by its front grille, according to videos by The Miami Herald and local television news outlets.

The second vehicle, crumpled almost beyond recognition, was a Chevrolet pickup truck. Cranes lifted the vehicles onto flatbed trucks, which were escorted to the medical examiner by a police motorcade.

Mr. Perez said the authorities had “a pretty good idea” who was in all of the vehicles, but he did not release additional names on Saturday night.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who also spoke at Saturday night’s news conference, said someone he knew had a relative who was among those killed by the bridge collapse.

Speaking about the National Transportation Safety Board, he said, “Let there be no doubt, they will know why this failed, and they will make sure that that is out there so it never happens again.”

After the first two extractions Saturday morning, Joseph Smitha was walking around in a daze on the Florida International University campus. His niece, Alexa Duran, remained under the debris of the bridge a block away.

Mr. Smitha, a 55-year-old auto parts manager, had spent the night in his truck after making the four-hour drive from Palm Harbor, Fla., fitfully mourning Ms. Duran, a freshman at the university.

“Her mom is a wreck,” he said. “I’ll never hear her say, ‘Hi, Uncle Joe,’ again. I know it’s not going to bring my niece back, but how did this happen?”

Mr. Smitha and members of other victims’ families are being given temporary quarters in a university building equipped with cots and snacks, awaiting news that none of them want to hear.

“I still think the kid is going to surface,” he said, referring to his niece. “Maybe she’s at some friend’s house. ‘Hey, you had us scared,’ I’ll say to her. I’d give everything I have to bring her back. It just kills me that this is something that could have been prevented.”

At about 5:30 p.m., the gray Toyota 4Runner that Ms. Duran had been driving was pulled slowly from the rubble. A dark blue tarp covered its flattened shape. Her father, Orlando Duran, had arrived from London only minutes earlier.

“He’s upset about how long it’s taken for them to get his daughter out,” Mr. Smitha, his brother-in-law, said.

Ms. Duran and a friend, the F.I.U. student Richard Humble, had been waiting at a red light when the bridge came crashing down on the Toyota and other vehicles.

“Her passenger walked away, God bless him,” Mr. Smitha said. “But he’s going to have to live with that for the rest of his life.”

Henry Fountain, Richard Oppel Jr., Frances Robles and Matt Stevens contributed reporting from New York. Jack Begg contributed research.

Follow Patricia Mazzei on Twitter: @PatriciaMazzei.

A great relationship is the key to a successful client/agency relationship so you really want to make a great first impression.

This can be a little daunting, so here’s a quick guide to preparing for your first client meeting:

Make them succeed

If you can make your client look good in their role, you are onto a winner. Take time to learn about them and what their job role is like. What pressures are they under? Keep putting yourself in their shoes. What can you help with? What information do they want/need to hear? If you don’t know already, ask them about their own targets and reporting so you can help feed directly into their needs.

Speak their language

It’s so tempting to start shouting about your good results, how many pieces of coverage you’ve secured, how much the Telegraph journalist loved your event and will definitely write soon. They may be really interested in vanity measures and the names of publications that like their brand — if so make sure you know who has covered the brand and who is likely to. Some anecdotal quotes are great too.

But if they are being judged purely on sales then you need to switch your language and content accordingly. Use tools such answer the client to see how many people have clicked through for your coverage or ask them if they noticed sales peaks on days where your secured great pieces or had radio days.

Know your slides

This is especially important if your slides have gone for a review and been changed. My first agency preferred one huge picture summarising the idea rather than cluttered slides. One meeting I was flummoxed when my slide with logos and ideas was replaced by Ray Mears’ face and I stuttered over trying to remember the story angle we were pitching along with the example media.

Tip: If it is an important meeting, manually write yourself a script, read it once and throw it away. You’ll sound stiff if you memorise it word for word but by writing it down just once, you’ll have your head around how the slides fit together and it will highlight any parts you don’t understand before you are mid sentence.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Most clients are lovely, they are humans after all but it’s worth having a think about tricky questions that may arise in your first meeting and the best way to tackle them.

Here are some to get you started:

“What you are doing isn’t working as sales are down”

  • Maybe all this coverage hasn’t let to the sales they expected. In which case it doesn’t matter if you had 3x the coverage — their bottom line hasn’t changed
  • Are you looking month or month or year on year? Month on month doesn’t account for seasonality which affects some brands more than others
  • Was there any difference in the rest of the marketing mix during this period — e.g ads may have been turned off

Before the meeting, see if you can get a view on market trends and activity — are your other clients also seeing a dip in sales? Has the public pulled back spending in this area across the board?

“Is this all the you achieved? I was expecting more!”

  • Are they likely to say the campaign has not met expectations? Is this a fair point? It is best to have a think about this beforehand so you are not caught off guard
  • Was there a target set at the beginning of the campaign? If there was and you smashed it, be careful as it still may not have met their expectations
  • If there was no target, before the meeting it would be worth thinking about what target would be fair for this campaign (try not to be led by your results at this point)
  • Acknowledge it and be honest. Especially if you are just as surprised as they are. Or if you think the results are brilliant, stand by your guns and explain why
  • If one metric is down, have you checked on other metrics? Have they been shared socially more than you would have expected, have you check to see if they are also passing on SEO benefit? You can find all this information quickly and easily through your CoverageBook account
  • Be proactive in next steps — can any of the PR material be recycled?
  • Explain how you will use the insight from this campaign to do the next one better. This nicely leads to to talking about the next campaign.

Enjoy yourself

When you arrive, make lots of small talk. It will help break down barriers and create a more relaxed meeting. On previous calls or emails they may have mentioned family or hobbies — ask about them, just as you would a journalist.

Energy is infectious so if you relax, so will they. And if you have read this guide you can fully relaxed in the knowledge you are nicely prepared.