PRIME AE’s Top 4 Takeaways from 2023 SAME Joint Engineer Training Conference & Expo

JETC Takeaway 3

The PRIME AE team recently returned from the 2023 Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) annual Joint Engineer Training Conference & Expo (JETC). Held in San Antonio, Texas from May 2nd to 4th, professionals across the A/E/C industry and joint engineering community joined together to continue in SAME’s mission to foster industry government engagement along with developing the next generation of engineering leaders. Here are our top takeaways from this year’s conference:

1. Record-Setting Attendance

JETC attracted a record-breaking 2,727 attendees and featured more than 70 education sessions and seminars, and numerous other engagement activities. PRIME AE was among the 200 exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall, which gave us the opportunity to build and deepen relationships, exchange ideas and insights, and network with those who are equally as dedicated to serving our nation’s interests from across the A/E/C community.

Kumar Buvanendaran, Rad Delaney, Ed Chamberlayne, Beth Harris, Merle Keener, Shaun Fountain

2. Attitude Gets Us to 100%

The PRIME AE team thoroughly enjoyed Keynote speaker Sarah Thomas as she presented a dynamic presentation on her journey on the way up to becoming the NFL’s first female official and one of Sports Illustrated’s 100 Most Influential NFL Figures of All Time. She explained that she hadn’t set out with the determination to be the first female official in the NFL. Rather, her success came through a simple formula of doing what she loved, coupled with the right attitude, determination, and motivation. No one starts out as a chief of engineers, or the leader of an engineering firm, or an NFL official—it requires a long road of mentorship, learning and growing experiences, and is often filled with setbacks and mistakes. That journey, however, often begins much earlier than many realize. For Thomas, she traced her journey up the ranks as an NFL official back to middle school and the formative events that helped shaped her dedicated attitude.

3. Celebrating Leadership Achievements

The fourth cohort of the Leader Development Program graduated! This year-long program includes a curriculum of book discussions, speakers, small group discussions, and a capstone project. The program, which began in 2019, requires participants to complete a Utilization Project at the conclusion of the program, offering an opportunity for members to put their leadership skills into practice in a way that benefits the Society and the engineering profession. Congrats to PRIME AE’s very own Federal Marketing Manager Merle Keener on her graduation in this year’s program and this fantastic achievement.

Additionally, PRIME AE’s VP of Mid-Atlantic Architecture Rad Delaney and Chair of the Academy of Fellow hosted this year’s Fellows Investiture Luncheon. The SAME Academy of Fellows recognizes those members who have rendered dedicated and outstanding service to the Society, military engineering, and the A/E/C profession. It also serves as the organizing body of Fellows within the Society, sets its strategic priorities and action plans, and serves to inform and inspire all members, including Fellows, to embrace the Fellows’ pledge and commitment to mentoring. Today, there are more than 800 members of the Academy of Fellows. Rad also just finished his two-year term as the SAME National Vice President in conjunction with JETC. He will continue to serve on the National Board.

Federal Marketing Manager Merle Keener is on the bottom right

4. Top-Notch Educational and Training Sessions

The conference was jam-packed and featured more than 70 education sessions and seminars, along with numerous other engagement activities. Here are some of the insightful sessions our group moderated and participated in:

  • Think Like a Startup! An Entrepreneurial Approach to Developing Business  – where Mindy Hinsley moderated the session
  • Reducing Risk and Improving Collaboration with Construction Technology – where Ed Chamberlayne presented alongside teammates from Harkins Builders and the USACE Norfolk District
  • Change if Gonna Come: Big Changes for Small Businesses – where Beth Harris moderated the session
  • Measuring Confidence in Air Force Building Condition Data – very interesting to learn how the Air Force is using BUILDER data to make facility investment decisions
  • Leadership, Guiding the Ship Through Turbulent Times – superb presentation where we learned how NAVFAC SE, Black & Veatch, and ZAPATA led their organizations during and after COVID-19

Even though 2023 JETC has ended, the PRIME AE remains open to connecting with thought leaders, decision-makers, solution providers, federal contracting officers, and colleagues from across the A/E/C industry. Please reach out to Ed Chamberlayne and Beth Harris to connect.

We look forward to attending the SAME 2023 Federal Small Business Conference later this year in San Antonio, TX. Stay tuned for more information on our special event during SBC!