Carl Hess was midway through a presentation at a public pension fund in Columbus, Ohio, when the planes struck the World Trade Center in New York.
After someone came into the room to announce what had just happened, fund officials decided “it would be a good idea to wheel a TV into the meeting, but to have me continue giving my presentation,” said Mr. Hess, who was global director of asset allocation at Watson Wyatt at the time. Now, he's global head of investments at Towers Watson & Co., New York.
Later, he left the meeting in a rush to the airport, but all flights had been grounded by then. So, he rented a car. It took about 12 hours to reach the George Washington Bridge, then another six hours to cross the bridge, which connects New Jersey to Manhattan.