Downtown Dallas Inc. CEO John Crawford learned some valuable lessons in the Marine Corps, and taking charge of an emergency situation personally—i.e., demonstrating accountability and leadership—must have been among them. Shortly after the business group’s 2013 annual meeting kicked off today at the Sheraton Dallas, a big overhead light in the middle of the room went haywire and started producing a loud grinding noise, like an old car trying to start. The ear-splitting noise made it extra-tough for hundreds—like Maxwell Anderson of the Dallas Museum of Art and the people at his table—to hear the program.
While Downtown Dallas’ 2013 board of directors was being announced and elected by acclamation, Crawford strolled out under the light as casually as taking a walk in the park, glanced up at the horrible sound and made for the back of the room. A little later he strolled back toward the stage; still, though, the deadly noise kept grinding. Then, after what seemed like 15 minutes (but probably wasn’t) of racket had passed, the light went silent finally, and everybody could hear again. Applause broke out and, from the podium, Crawford said simply, “Thank you to the engineers, wherever you are,” before coolly moving on.