Ten years ago, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Chairman Thomas L. VanKirk received word of the September 11th terrorist attacks while at a board meeting.

"He said, 'My God, I think a plane hit the World Trade Center,'" VanKirk recalled his Manhattan-based colleague's exclamation in a September 10, 2011 Pittsburgh Business Times article.

"[The firm's] New York office (in 2001) was so close to Ground Zero, they had to evacuate the building next to it because it had structural damage. They were afraid it was going to fall," VanKirk explained. "A lot of the debris to the World Trade Center got very close.

Though none of the firm's 50 employees were injured during the attacks, VanKirk noted that "it took us about 26 hours to track them all down and make sure they were OK."

Business has changed since 9/11, with off-site backup computer and data systems becoming the norm.

In the years since the attacks, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney implemented business continuity plans to provide updates to employees in the event of a local, regional or national disaster. The proactive implementation of such plans has proved valuable particularly during recent weather-and power-related situations affecting travel conditions and office buildings — on both coasts —where Buchanan offices are located.

"From an operational standpoint, [September 11th] did show that emergencies, disasters, acts of God, terrorism, can happen at any time, any place," VanKirk said.