Thank you for supporting our forum

May 1, 2008
I want to thank all of you who attended our Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum conference in San Diego in March for supporting the event.

By John McHale

I want to thank all of you who attended our Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum conference in San Diego in March for supporting the event. I also want to thank you for your feedback on the content and the speakers.

We’ve been putting on conferences for about a decade and these were the best reviews we’ve ever had for our conference content. As my colleague John Keller said in this space last month, “our show is back.”

The speakers were outstanding from our opening keynote, Ronald Jost, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3, Space, and Spectrum, right up to our last speaker Gerald Janicki of Meggitt Defense Systems.

An executive at a major prime contractor told me at the Forum that we hit on two important topics at our event—business opportunities and feedback from the war.

The latter came from retired U.S. Army Col. Tim Kokinda, with his talk on “18th Airborne Corps Battle Command and C4I Observations, Lessons Learned and Recommendations” and Robin Keesee, deputy director for the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), who discussed a “Roadmap for COTS Technology in the IED Threat Environment.”

Business opportunities were part of many of our other sessions, none with more audience participation than our panels on COTS integration and use on the first day and on International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and other export issues on the second day.

The COTS panel included moderator James Robles, senior technical fellow at Boeing, Doug Patterson, vice president of marketing at Aitech Defense Systems, Ron Parker, market development manager for military, aerospace, and government at Intel, and Stephen Jarrett, chief technologist for U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR) Charleston.

I spoke to Ron from Intel and he told me that while speaking at another event shortly after ours, an audience member came up to him and said he saw him at our show and thought the panel was outstanding. Ron says the man loved the diversity of perspective of the panelists and thought that was why it was such a success.

The ITAR panel discussion was turned entirely over to audience participation and could have gone much longer than its 90-minute time frame. Panelists included Kay Georgi, partner in the Arent Fox LLP law firm; Karen Jones, director, export import operations for Raytheon Missile Systems; Lawrence R. Fink, director of corporate export administration at SAIC; and Dean Young, facilities security officer for Celestica Aerospace Technologies.

The panelists also led a workshop on ITAR the day before the conference began, on March 10. It was a half-day workshop run simultaneously with one on lead-free issues. This marked the first time we have run workshops with our conference and both programs were well received by attendees with request for full-day sessions for both topics next year.

The driving force behind the strong program was our Advisory Board, which expanded last year. Their expertise, market knowledge, and clout within the industry enabled us to attract the talent and leadership featured on stage both days of the Forum.

All of our Council did a wonderful job in helping prepare the content for this year’s conference, but I would especially like to mention those who participated as speakers or moderators during the sessions: Boeing’s Robles; Ross Smith, president and chief executive officer of Quantum3D; Pat Ryan, director of Strategic Defense Initiatives for Cisco; and John Keller, chief editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics.

Their sage advice is what prompted comments such as one made by one of our speakers, Richard Williams, vice principal director, GIG Enterprise Services Engineering, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). “Wow, good things do come in small packages. This is a small forum, but I’ve learned so much today,” he said at the start of his talk.

Next year we expect the Forum to continue to grow as it returns to the San Diego Convention Center March 2–4. Please continue to check out as we move forward in the planning process for the 2009 conference. Our staff will also continue to keep you—our readership—posted on content and speakers as they are confirmed.

We created this event as a forum to discuss the issues most important to you so if you have any suggestions about our conference content, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] and help us create the best conference content possible next year. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in San Diego in 2009.

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