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For most of the past 48 hours, Teresa Weintraub-Fauli, head of the Miami office of Fiduciary Trust, has been on the phone trying to pull together the operations of the wealth management company torn apart by a terrorist attack. Fiduciary’s supervising office in New York occupied five floors between the 90th and 97th levels of the World Trade Center’s south tower. The hijacked jetliner that plowed into the building Tuesday morning went right through the company’s windows, said Leonard Abess, chairman and chief executive of City National of Florida, which has a wealth management agreement with Fiduciary. On Wednesday, Weintraub-Fauli gave the impression of an in-control executive during a telephone interview. But her tone changed as she paused for two seconds to describe how she and her colleagues are dealing with the disaster. “It’s very, very hard,” she said. “We hope for the best and pray a lot.” But there was good reason for optimism and resolve. The morning after the terrorist attack that leveled New York’s 110-story twin towers, 511 of Fiduciary’s 600 employees had been accounted for, she said. And just because some haven’t been accounted for doesn’t mean they are presumed dead. What’s more, Weintraub-Fauli expects Fiduciary’s operations to be up and running again when financial markets reopen. For now, Fiduciary is working out of an office in New Jersey. The company was preparing to sign a permanent lease at another Manhattan location late Wednesday. “We already have a lot of work stations, and the systems are up and running,” she said. “The moment markets are up, we’ll be functioning.” Such determination has made the business world, in its own bottom-line way, a platform of patriotic defiance and resilience against Tuesday’s attack. The attitude also characterized business activity Wednesday, as South Florida companies worked to regain the control and equilibrium shattered by the previous day’s attacks. Along with the anger and the grief, many professionals employed grit and determination as the best defense. “People are gathering around and saying, ‘We’re not going to let these terrorists push us around, we’re going to do deals, we’re going to do business, we’re going to show these terrorists that we’re not going to let them take our livelihood away,’ ” said Michael Fay, a real estate broker in Miami. “ It’s economic patriotism. We’re not going to let them get the best of us.” The name patron of the towers, the World Trade Center Association, plans to be open for business at another location in Manhattan by the end of this week, said Charlotte Gallogly, president of the World Trade Center Miami. All 30 employees of the New York office who worked on the 77th floor of the north tower are safe, she said. Many others in South Florida are counting their blessings. For example, a group of new brokers from the South Florida offices of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter were at the investment bank’s offices in the World Trade Center (where the firm is the largest tenant, occupying 20 floors) for a training session. The entire group was safely evacuated before the building collapsed, according to a South Florida broker who spoke anonymously. Business resolve re-emerged against a backdrop of continued disruptions, with financial markets still closed on Wednesday, airports’ operations in disarray, and three bomb threats against three downtown Miami office buildings. All turned out to be hoaxes. To be sure, some companies are taking precautions now. Miami-based cargo carrier Fine Air Services, which moves cargo in and out of Miami International Airport, said the terrorist acts prompted it to hire private security guards on all flights for an undetermined period of time. The cargo carrier is also doubling its usual round of canine bomb detection before each outgoing flight, according to spokeswoman Susan Gilbert. Gil Neuman, chief executive of Kent Security Services Inc. of Miami, said he has received dozens of calls from companies that want to hire security services. An existing client, America’s Capital Partners, a major commercial landlord, called to ask for security services in a dozen South Florida buildings not staffed with security guards. “Companies want to be comfortable, and they feel that putting a guard in the door will take care of that,” said Neuman, who was born and raised in Israel. “I tried to take the panic out.” Meanwhile, as New York rescue workers struggled to find survivors, images and information about the human toll of the tragedy touched everyone. As Miami real estate and commercial mortgage broker Mark Singer put it, “Everybody has been in the World Trade Center at one time, everybody knows somebody who works in the World Trade Center. I used to work two blocks away. “I’m getting married in October,” he added, “and my best man isn’t in his office [in New Jersey]. I know he’s going to be OK. Otherwise, somebody would have told me.” Quickly, Singer shifted to his back-to-business mode. Lenders who were coming from New York later this week to look at properties have, obviously, postponed their trips, he said. But all other activities are proceeding, including an expected visit on Friday of potential buyers, one from Texas, and one from Puerto Rico. “We’re on the phones, continuing to work on the transactions that are in the pipeline,” Singer said. “People in South Florida are back to work. Yesterday, most people were in shock. Hopefully the turmoil has stopped and there’ll be no more attacks.” At the Dolphin Mall in Miami-Dade County, which was closed Tuesday, stores reopened for business Wednesday. Mall manager Al Messer mentioned two new food court tenants that will open next week. But the New York tragedy still wove its way into daily operations. Payroll checks that normally arrive by mail on Wednesday mornings did not get in this week. There were very few customers in the mall. And at least one employee was grieving — Messer himself. Friends of his in New York had been caught in the tragedy. He declined to elaborate. “This is hard for me, I have people involved,” he said, holding back a sob. “This is not normal, for the general manager of a mall to break down like this,” he said. “I hope they find out who did it. I’m sorry, but I don’t turn the other cheek.” Asked whether he had consulted a grief counselor offered by his employer, he said, “When you’re 100 years old like me, you just deal with it.” Many South Florida companies urged their employees to seek help. BankAtlantic Bancorp, based in Fort Lauderdale, sent a memo urging them to use a mental health network available through the company’s employee assistance program. “Everybody knows somebody who is affected by this tragedy,” said Alan Levan, chairman and chief executive of the bank. “We want to be as sensitive and as helpful as we can in this time of grief.” Anxiety and apprehension was omnipresent at Pediatrix, a Fort Lauderdale company that manages physician practices. Employees waited to hear from family members they hadn’t heard from in New York. Bob Kneeley, head of investor relations, described the situation Wednesday morning at the company’s headquarters, where about 350 employees work. “We staggered three groups through the lunch room. Roger Medel, the CEO, walked around and talked to them, and we had a moment of silence,” Kneeley said. “We just wanted them to know we are available for them.” At Williamson Cadillac in Miami, business mixed with grief and anger — again. Just 10 days before, a beloved 13-year employee, 42-year-old Rex Leaman, had been shot to death in a robbery at a South Miami-Dade gas station, a loss that shook the dealership’s staff to the point that management summoned a crisis counselor and posted United Way grief management guidelines throughout the company. “It has been particularly hard for us,” said Ed Williamson, the dealership’s owner. “To have this [terrorist attack] happen on top of that has been a challenge. Adds Williamson: “It’s going to get worse and worse, they’re going to be pulling out bodies there for a long time.” Miami Daily Business Review staff writers Cleveland Crenshaw, Susan R. Miller and Johannes Werner contributed to this report.

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