Make Every Moment Count

Remarks from the President | July-August 2017

Like many members of our great organization, I spent the better portion of my adult life in uniform, privileged to defend our nation. In my case, the uniform belonged to the U.S. Air Force, which was graciously lent to me for nearly 24 years.

As my transition approached, many asked if I had any regrets departing service early with so much “airspeed.” I talked about missing my airmen and the passion that comes with serving, but I did not share much else. One regret I did not verbalize was how my dream of one day leading SAME as National President would not be realized, as the President was primarily the senior ranking engineer from one of the uniformed services. Then in 2012, our governance model changed. And today, here I am.

Sal Nodjomian, SAME President induction

As a Society, we have made incredible strides the last several years, but we are far from done. With our Centennial squarely in our sights, the next 12 months are about gaining momentum. To these ends, I will be emphasizing three reoccurring themes this year that underpin our collective efforts.

Go big. Approach your involvement with energy, passion, and purpose. Focus on quality versus quantity; and remember, time is a limited commodity. As SAME is a 100 percent volunteer organization, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the time we commit generates tremendous value for our individual members, our Sustaining Member, our Posts, our military, and, most importantly, our nation. We are a professional organization with a purposeful charge and a platform to identify and resolve national security infrastructure-related challenges.

Do the most good. SAME offers a spectrum of opportunities, from relationship building, to leadership and mentoring, to professional development and growth. Each pillar offers a myriad of occasions to get involved in our Society. I am certain, as dedicated members you align professionally or personally with at least one of these engagement areas (or if you are like me, you love them all and can’t pick your favorite). I challenge you to find the area you are most passionate about and step up your involvement.

Have fun. If you are not having fun, then you are not doing it right. We work too hard not to slow down every now and then and reap the fruits of our labors, so enjoy your SAME involvement. Having fun and being the premier A/E/C professional organization are not mutually exclusive; rather, I believe they are mutually supportive.

We are a professional organization with a purposeful charge and a platform to identify and resolve national security infrastructure-related challenges.

I am all too familiar with how quickly my tenure will pass—a lesson learned from my time in command. Regardless of how often I visited the troops, my greatest regret at the end of each command tour was not spending enough time in the field. To avoid that same remorse, I plan to maximize my touch points, getting to as many Post, regional, and national events as possible.

As your President, my goal is to share the latest developments from a national perspective that impact you; and to get ground-truth on how we are serving your needs. I will communicate through this magazine, podcasts and other means (I understand other presidents are known to tweet every now and then!). Most importantly, I want meaningful dialogue. Reach out to me, in person, on the phone, or by e-mail, and share your stories. I want to hear about what’s working, what’s not, and where you think our next opportunities may exist. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the Society of American Military Engineers as President. It is truly a privilege. §

[Article first published in the July-August 2017 issue of The Military Engineer.]