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In the days leading up to super storm Sandy, ORAU peer review project managers developed proactive plans to minimize the impact of the hurricane on peer reviews that were already planned for the metro D.C. and Philadelphia-areas. From the safety of attendees to the financial mitigation of protective contract clauses, ORAU and its subcontractors saved more than $35,000 for the U.S. Department of Energy.

ORAU’s contract wording saves DOE more than $100K in hotel costs

Hotel stands above snowy ground

In February 2010, a massive snowstorm in Arlington, Va., caused the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Genomic Science meeting—GTL Genomics held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City—to end just two days into the sessions.

The good news? ORAU was able to save DOE more than $100,000 in penalties.

With area airports now closed, the hotel general manager offered to “forgive the room cancellation fees” if ORAU agreed to pay the food and beverage costs of $78,000. At first, this sounded like a great deal, as our total cancellation fee would have been $152,000 (less monies already spent on goods consumed.)

However, it was time for ORAU to pull out the contract and the verbiage it had added to the typical hotel clause. ORAU’s addition of “such circumstance makes it illegal, inadvisable or impossible... for at least 25 percent of the clients to attend the meeting” made all the difference. The hotel had signed the contract and addendum, and ORAU presented that copy to them onsite. There was no dispute.

Regardless of its size, every contract that goes through ORAU is subject to a long checklist of conditions, amendments and clauses before it is signed. It is checked and double-checked by in-house Certified Meeting Professionals before it goes to the project manager for review and signature.

This documented procedure, continually reviewed and updated, is just another value-add component that ORAU provides for its customers.

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