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IBM Special Events Team Helps Coordinate Telethon Donations

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RTP, N.C. — Friday night's emotional telethon to raise money for victims of the recent terrorism attacks, which was broadcast across the country, has a tie to the Triangle. A handful of people who work in Research Triangle Park are part of a national network taking your online donations.

Many people called in or logged on to make a pledge Friday night. Somebody has to handle all that traffic, which leads us to Research Triangle Park, where IBM's special event team, the so-called event command center, is headquarted.

"It's going to be a long night and that we're used to," team member Sandra Berman said.

The team did not take long to put to put together the September 11th fund Web site, since they started making the server available to help long before the call from the United Way.

The site was set up to handle the pledges that are coming in from all over the world. The key for them is balancing the anticipated traffic.

"If 50 million people tune in and let's say 10 percent of them pledge, which would be a phenomenal thing, that's a lot of traffic," Berman said.

This team is used a lot of traffic though since they usually work on Web sites for major golf and tennis events. For now, they have an emotional score to settle.

"Those policemen, those firemen, they're the real heroes," team member Mike Ensley said.

The team is working overtime to do what their hearts say they must.

"I would sincerely hope we'll see more traffic than we've ever seen on anything," Ensely said.


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