VICKSBURG, Miss. (May 16, 2018)--Team members at the U.S Army Engineer Research and Development Center were recently tested by “fire” when they successfully held three major, consecutive events in a two-week timeframe.
The first event, RD18, held May 1-2, kicked-off the flurry of activity. RD18, the first conference since 2009, provided an opportunity for ERDC researchers and scientists to network with colleagues and collaborate on new ideas.
The second event, Innovation Day, held May 3, brought together industry, government agencies, and academia to learn more about ERDC technologies and possible partnerships to move ERDC research forward and transition solutions to end users.
The third event, held May 7-10, was the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers third quarter Executive Governance Meeting. The EGM culminated months of preparation and planning and brought together more than 200 USACE senior executives, general officers, division, and district commanders and other senior leaders from around the country for strategic planning meetings.
The task of orchestrating this first-of-its-kind event here was placed on the shoulders of ERDC Associate Director Patricia Sullivan. Sullivan, together with an ERDC planning team and USACE staff, met weekly to ensure that the logistics puzzle, which consisted of many pieces, would come together flawlessly.
“Hosting this huge event drew on the collective talent of the entire enterprise. We are so very fortunate to have a team of dedicated and competent professionals who rise to the occasion with excellence to support the Corps mission in any way that is needed,” Sullivan said.
Researchers from across the ERDC were on hand to showcase innovative technologies that provide outstanding solutions to the warfighter and the nation through tours, posters and demonstrations. Other professionals took part in meetings to discuss ways USACE can improve its business processes and “power down” to achieve greater success in delivering on an ever-growing mission.
Hosting an event of this magnitude in the new building where the audio-visual equipment was not completely installed made some anxious.
“When I first received a list of A/V requirements, I felt confident that we would be able to accommodate these requests. Although the building’s A/V package wasn’t complete, we were able to utilize equipment from ACE-IT. As the EGM came to a close, I felt satisfied that this had been a successful meeting,” said Kelly Mitchell, technical support technician.
“I am very proud of you, and proud of what we do,” ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman shared in an email to all employees. “We now have three excellent first-ever opportunities to showcase our research and our great team as we build relationships and explore opportunities for the future,” he said.
“The Corps of Engineers expects a dramatic increase in its workload over the next few years, and you demonstrated, time and again, how your work can help deliver the program faster, cheaper and better than before,” said Pittman.
More than 50 technologies or solutions were on display during the four-day event with subject matter experts on hand to answer questions and discuss ways to bring their respective technologies to districts and divisions. Attendees received tours of the four Vicksburg-based laboratories and presentations from the three off-site labs.
Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to interact with ERDC’s STEM students from local schools. The STEM exhibit consisted of a hands-on demonstration of knowledge and experience gained through ERDC's vast portfolio of educational outreach activities for grades K-12. The crown jewel of the exhibit was the FIRST Robotics Competition 456 Siege Robotics demonstration. High school students demonstrated their award winning robot that recently won the 2018 Bayou Regional and came in 16th at the international competition in Houston, Texas.
One of final events of the meeting was a group run for all of the EGM attendees which was held at Vicksburg’s National Military Park.
“I heard nothing but glowing comments about ERDC, our research and, most importantly, our TEAM. I could not be more proud of you!! I know it has been a long two weeks, but I truly believe we will see great dividends in the months and years to come,” Pittman said.