By Col. Mickey Addison, PMP, USAF (Ret.), Guest Contributor
“They’re Really Livin’ It Up in Kansas City…”
If you’re a fan of the musical Oklahoma! you’ll recognize the title as a line from a song in the first act. Clever, I hear you thinking, but what in the world does that have to do with engineering or me? Well, have a seat “pardner,” and I’ll tell you why you should care about Kansas City, Mo. For us, as members of SAME, Kansas City is the place we really need to be this coming May because it’s the site of the biggest, most important national training conference for the A/E/C community: the Joint Engineer Training Conference (JETC).
If you’re part of the Defense Establishment or one of the many federal and industry partners that support national security, then JETC is a must-attend event. I’ll admit right now, it took me years to get motivated for JETC. I’ve been a life member of SAME for decades, but I didn’t attend my first SAME national event until 2011. I always had some excuse for not going—too expensive, didn’t have time, won’t get anything out of it. Boy, was I wrong on all counts.
When I did attend I “got it” immediately. At JETC, there is tremendous value for the participants: from the education and market research opportunities, to the invaluable training provided for the government and military organizations through the Table Top Exercise, to the Annual Meeting-type events that celebrate SAME members.
As a member of several professional societies, I can say without hesitation that the SAME national events and JETC, in particular, are the best.
Get Your Continuing Education Here!
The value of JETC is summarized as training, getting work done, networking opportunities, and having fun. Clearly, JETC is primarily a “training” conference. If you plan it out, you can get a significant portion of your technical and non-technical PDHs in a couple of days. Most states require 15 to 24 hours of continuing education per year, and it’s easy to get 8 to 12 PDHs at JETC alone.
SAME makes it easy by sending you a transcript after the event with the sessions you attended with the PDH credit. The national Committees & Councils select the session topics, and I’m consistently impressed by the quality of the presenters and material.
“Work, Work, Work, Senora”
Besides the training sessions, there is a lot of work that gets done at JETC. Industry representatives have a chance to meet with government officials over coffee; small businesses can discuss deals with large ones; and everyone has the chance to do some hands-on market research with cutting-edge technology. There’s ample time between sessions and after the end of the day to meet and discuss.
At JETC and other national SAME events, joint ventures and prime/sub relationships are explored, as well as focused discussions on requirements and acquisition timelines.
The value of JETC is summarized as training, getting work done, networking opportunities, and having fun.
Networking for the Win
For servicemembers looking to transition to civilian life, industry professionals looking for new opportunities, and industry executives looking to hire, JETC is a gold mine. When I was looking for staff officers to hire, I would spend time chatting with potential young officers and would often make my decision based on those talks. It was the same when it came time for me to leave the Air Force and enter civilian life.
The mentoring and networking I received at JETC was absolutely crucial to a smooth transition from the Air Force.
Engineers Just Want to Have Fun
Finally and equally important is that JETC is fun. There’s always some cool gadgets to play with in the Exhibit Hall, and the SAME hosted events on site and the Sustaining Member events in the evenings are really fun. For me, it’s a great time to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
Probably most importantly, JETC social events aren’t the “forced” conference “fun”—they are relaxed and informal, which offers everyone the chance to participate as much as they like.
See You in #KC! at #SAMEJETC18
If you’ve never been to a national event, JETC is the event for you! See you in KC!