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One-hundred fifty Avnet Technology Solutions staffers were in Honolulu Oct. 15 the distributor’s annual employee recognition event when a 6.7-magnitude quake shook the island chain.

No one was injured, but the 150, including ATS President Fred Cuen, remained trapped at their hotel on the island without electricity and with minimal communication as late as Oct. 16, after damages to the local infrastructure shut down roadways, power and telephone conduits, officials said.

ATS staff members and other guests were forced to flee the Fairmont Orchid hotel, the site of the ATS event, for fear of a tsunami following the quake, but returned soon after. ATS’ security/emergency response chief was on site for the event and coordinated efforts to keep safe on-scene staff and arranged for communication with the company’s operations in the continental United States, ATS representatives reported.

The Fairmont Orchid suffered minor damage and had limited emergency power from generators, but was structurally sound, officials said.

The conference, which had been held in Hawaii for 15 years, was held last year in Bermuda, but returned to the island this year. “One would think moving out of hurricane range would be a good idea,” said an ATS official familiar with the event.

ATS experienced a similar stranded-staff emergency Sept. 11, 2001, when the 9/11 terrorist attacks shut down commercial air travel during the company’s IBM Partner Conference in San Antonio. ATS, which is based in San Antonio, struggled to arrange safe passage home on trains, buses and automobiles for hundreds of partners, staff and auxiliary personnel in town for the program.