JETC in Tampa

What do you get when you bring together over 2,100 people from across the uniformed services, civilian government agencies, and hundreds of business throughout the A/E/C sector, mix in more than 70 hours of education and training sessions, awards ceremonies, networking receptions, technical tours, and dynamic keynote speakers?

You get #SAMEJETC19—where there was something for everyone!

The 2019 Joint Engineer Training Conference & Expo (JETC) was held May 7-9 in Tampa, Fla. This year’s event, which drew more than 2,100 attendees from the military, public, private and academic sectors, and welcomed over 200 exhibitors, once again served as the premier forum for collaboration in support of SAME’s mission to identify and resolve national security infrastructure-related challenges.

May 7: JETC Day One

JETC kicked off May 7 with the Society Leadership & Post Awards Luncheon, which recognized excellence across SAME’s 102 local Posts and 15 national Communities of Interest (formerly Committees & Councils) in helping the organization achieve its overall goals and objectives, and support its strategic lines of effort: enhancing industry-government engagement, producing STEM professionals for the nation, developing leaders for the profession, preparing veterans for the A/E/C industry, and strengthening resilience throughout the country.

The luncheon featured the presentation of recognition awards to outstanding volunteers from each of SAME’s Communities of Interest, as well as the Top Post Awards presented to the Great Basin Post (Top Small Post), Central Virginia Post (Top Medium Post), and Houston-Galveston Post (Top Large Post). Additionally, the Post Industry-Government Engagement Award for excellence in enhancing collaboration between industry and government was presented to the Philadelphia Post.

At the end of the session, a highlight was a surprise presentation to outgoing SAME National Vice President Cindy Lincicome, F.SAME, who was presented with the Century House Award by the SAME National Office staff for her continued service to the Society and to helping carry out so many programs and initiatives in coordination with the National Office. Lincicome will remain on the Board of Direction over the next couple years as Chair of the SAME Centennial Commission.

JETC 2019 in Tampa

Following the opening luncheon, JETC featured several education blocks, offering graduate-level presentations on relevant technical topics within the joint engineering community. The education program was built from a call for presentations process that attracted 193 proposals. SAME’s membership comes from many different disciplines within the broader engineering profession. The JETC sessions represent that variety, with nine tracks offered this year: Architecture & Engineering; Business; Leadership; Environmental; Energy & Sustainability; Facility Management; Joint Engineering; International; and National Security & Resilience.

On Tuesday afternoon, attendees all gathered for the Opening General Session, which featured a year in review from outgoing SAME President Col. Marv Fisher, F.SAME, USAF (Ret.), and then the induction of SAME’s new National President, Lt. Col. Buddy Barnes, F.SAME, USA (Ret.), which were followed by an inspiring keynote by Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer.

First, Col. Fisher recapped the past year across the Society, detailed the success of his theme of everyone doing “Just One More,” and then introduced the 2018 SAME Annual Report video, which captures where the organization is from a financial and operational perspective and also highlights many of the impactful programs and contributions by members, partners and stakeholders.

Then, Lt. Col. Barnes was sworn in as the 100th SAME President. He will oversee the Society’s run to its Centennial in 2020, which he characterized as the “sprint to the start of our second century.”

After the swearing-in ceremony, Dakota Meyer took the stage and provided look back at how he wound up in the Marines Corps as a teenager from Kentucky, to his ascent to be the youngest sniper in the Marines, to a vivid account of the day in September 2009 when he and his fellow Marines were caught in an ambush in Afghanistan. While heroically, Meyer was able to save numerous men, several members of his team died in action—a reality he still deals with years later.

Not one to allow their deaths to be forgotten, Meyer has dedicated his life now to helping veterans in their post-service careers, and he also has started multiple businesses, including two construction companies. Meyer’s message to the audience: have purpose and accountability, and never be satisfied; every single day, nothing is a given, you have to earn it. Owning that responsibility to “earn it” will keep you grounded and on the right path.

Following the general session, Day One at JETC concluded with a networking reception at nearby Armature Works, a formerly historic structure that has been reinvented as a mixed-use community destination.

May 8: JETC Day Two

Wednesday morning at JETC began with a milestone event in SAME’s history: the introduction of the SAME national Leader Development Program and the first class of participants.

Supported by the SAME Foundation, the new Leader Development Program, through a curriculum of hands-on training, study, and active engagement in new opportunities, cultivates talent from within the Society’s membership to help support the development of the next generation of military, government, and industry leaders for our nation. The first class includes 18 participants (a member from each of SAME’s 17 regions, plus the International Community of Interest) and will comprise a year-long training program, culminating at the 2020 JETC in Washington, D.C.

SAME Foundation Board President Col. John Mogge, F.SAME, USAF (Ret.), welcomed each participant to the stage and provided some words about the role the Foundation will play in supporting both the Leader Development Program as well as other initiatives promoting the Foundation’s compelling purpose to “foster engineering leadership for the nation.”

Following the Leader Development Program introduction, attendees were treated to a captivating keynote address on leadership and perseverance by Jamie Clarke, a world-renowned mountain climber along with entrepreneur and performance coach, who worked with the Washington Capitals during their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. Clarke, one of a small group of people who has climbed the Seven Summits, recollected how he first became interested in mountain climbing, his first failed attempt at summitting Mount Everest, and how through application of lessons learned and a recommitment to trust and team, he and his fellow climbers successful reached the top of the world. While the scene is different than one many of us will ever face, the principles that get you to the pinnacle of success are the same.

2019 JETC in Tampa

Clarke relayed three key themes: 1) it’s one thing to perform our best, but it takes something else to perform our best when it matters most; 2) whenever you face failure and setback, ask yourself why; that sense of curiosity is essential to always maintain; 3) be of service; every day that you get up, focus foremost on whatever you can to serve the mission. Lastly, kindness in a team setting is like the secret ingredient that keeps everyone focused collectively. Be kind, and you’ll be surprised where it will take you.

Following the morning’s general session, the JETC exhibit hall opened with more than 200 companies and agencies bringing attention to their services and capabilities. The federal government has significant near-term and long-term infrastructure-related requirements, and the only way these will be met is through tapping the capacity of private industry. Being able to conduct market research and establish an understanding of the potential market for services and capabilities is an essential step to mapping out acquisition strategies.

2019 JETC in Tampa

In addition to the Exhibit Hall, Wednesday at JETC featured several more hours of education sessions as well as the fourth annual SAME Table Top Exercise, this year looking at the needs of the Combatant Commands in establishing and maintaining contingency and enduring bases in multi-domain operations.

The TTEx, organized by SAME’s Joint Engineer Contingency operations Community of Interest, is a key component of the Society’s Industry-Government Engagement Plan, instituted as part of the 2020 SAME Strategic Plan to encourage sharing knowledge and best practices, conducting joint training with government and industry that mimics real-world situations, and collaborating on issues at every level in order to achieve consensus, efficiency and transparency. First held in 2016, analyzing the requirements and processes for setting a theater in a contingency environment, subsequent exercises looked at the inter-agency response to a natural disaster in the Pacific (2017) and the whole-of-government approach to a disaster on the New Madrid Fault (2018).

2019 JETC in Tampa

This year’s TTEx brought together the senior engineers from each of the Combatant Commands, senior representatives from the uniformed services, other federal agencies and the Joint Staff (J4), and subject matter experts from a number of industry firms that specialize in contingency contracting.

The TTEx served to document the different challenges the Combatant Commands face, what are the requirements and where are the gaps, and then what are the next steps to take to begin to shore up the friction points—from a contracting perspective, a policy perspective, and a resourcing perspective.

Day Two at JETC ended Wednesday evening with a networking reception in the Exhibit Hall.

May 9: JETC Day Three

The final day at the 2019 JETC in Tampa started off with attendees able to attend more education sessions or conduct business in the Exhibit Hall, which this year once again featured an Innovation Theater where firms could demonstrate innovative technologies to attendees. One of the participating groups was the SAME GeoWerx Team, led by the Geospatial Working Group (part of the Facility Asset Management Community of Interest), which presented on actual data that it tracked during JETC to show the various types of stories that are possible through data visualization.

Also this year, the Exhibit Hall offered two new lounges to highlight the work of SAME, and its partners, in supporting credentialing opportunities and promoting STEM and leaders development initiatives. The STEM Professionals & Leaders Lounge and the Career Assistance Lounge epitomize the role that SAME plays in leading collaboration. Over a dozen partners, including nonprofits and educational institutions, had representatives on site to provide information, advice, and resources to attendees.

2019 JETC in Tampa

Thursday wrapped up the education and training portion of JETC with a general session featuring an outbrief of the TTEx, followed by a panel discussion with the Service Engineering Chiefs. Speakers included Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, USA, U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Rear Adm. Darius Banaji, CEC, USN, Atlantic Fleet Engineer and Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic; Brig. Gen. John Allen, USAF, Director of Civil Engineers, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Engineering & Force Protection; Rear Adm. Melvin Bouboulis, USCG, Assistant Commandant for Engineering & Logistics, and Chief Engineer, U.S. Coast Guard; and Rear Adm. Edward Dieser, USPHS, Assistant Surgeon General, and Chief Engineer Officer, U.S. Public Health Service.

Each of the leaders provided an update on where they are focused on supporting the National Defense Strategy, which is playing a significant role in re-shaping where they are planning facilities and infrastructure investments. Additionally, each of the leaders touched on the challenges of “too much process” and hesitance to take risk. However, in this era of Great Power Competition, the importance of moving faster is paramount.  As one speaker said, “there is a time for 12 decimal points and there is a time for whole numbers.”

From naval support infrastructure to power projection platforms for the Air Force, the military construction investments and resourcing is being driven by the National Defense Strategy.

For the Corps of Engineers, it also has an urgent Civil Works mission domestically—and has significant requirements to rebuild areas affected by hurricanes and floods the last couple years. The message was clear: the nation needs industry’s expertise to meet the nation’s pressing engineering and construction demands.

2019 JETC in Tampa

The 2019 JETC concluded Thursday night with the annual Society Ball & Awards Gala, recognizing individuals, companies, and agencies for excellence in engineering, architecture, leadership and service.

More than 30 awards were given to members of SAME and the uniformed engineering community. The SAME Gold Medal, presented for significant accomplishments during one’s entire period of membership, was awarded to Col. Peter Mueller, F.SAME, USA (Ret.), of the Architect of the Capitol. The Gold Medal is the only award that has been presented for each of SAME’s 99 years as an organization.

Looking Ahead to 2020

In 2020, SAME turns 100. The Centennial Kickoff Celebration will be held at the 2020 JETC, May 27-29 at the Walter E. Washington Convention in Washington, D.C. More information on SAME’s Centennial is available at

Downloadable presentations from the week in Tampa are available by visiting the sessions page on the JETC website. Additional photos are available on SAME’s Flickr page. Follow the event as it happened using #SAMEJETC19.

Thanks to all speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, attendees and the Tampa Bay Post for making the 2019 JETC a success, as we continue building momentum on the Run to 2020 and Beyond!

2019 JETC in Tampa