Coordination critical for conference success
June 3, 2010
- Behind the scenes efforts keep conference on track
- Planning began when U.S. Army Chief of Staff tasked RDECOM to host
- International collaboration key to conference success
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Behind the scenes at the Conference of American Armies, organizers and planners huddle in small groups for brief after-action reports, talking about the next day's events and brainstorming contingencies, deliberating a myriad of "what ifs".
They constantly refer to their "synch matrix" to keep events on time and on subject.
There are many contingencies that pop up during a conference involving an international group of delegates, and the appearance of flawless function is due to long hours of hard prep work done by the Corporate Communications section of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.
For the three-day CAA session being hosted here this week by RDECOM, coordination began five month's ago, shortly after the command was designated to be the hosting organization.
The program lead was assigned to Katie Everett, a marketing specialist with RDECOM, who deftly coordinated and cajoled into action diverse Army elements and agencies required to conduct a conference of this magnitude.
With the consistent support of her boss, Linda Longo, the RDECOM G5 director, and the assistance of RDECOM protocol officer Kimberly Ables and Science and Technology Advisor to U.S. Army South, Lt. Col. Delisa Hernandez, Everett began, much like a puppeteer, pulling the strings and bringing the conference to life.
U.S. Army South, headquartered in San Antonio, is the CAA program manager. The command's lead agent for the CAA, Enrique Labrador, was engaged from the beginning, supplying his experience from previous conference sessions to assist Everett and crew develop a list of requirements and also coordinating with CAA members for their involvement at the APG session.
Everett constructed a timeline and requirement matrix and conducted all in-progress reports. She leveraged assistance and doled out taskings from wherever a service was needed, including operations, security, logistics, audio/visual and translator services. She initiated contractual arrangements with bus companies, hotels, the U.S.S. Constellation and all catering services, and scheduled all conference entertainment. She conducted site assessments at all venues and supervised floorplan designs, badging requirements and movement schedules for the delegates and support staff.
"Katie has done a fantastic job," Brig. Gen. Harold Greene, deputy command general for RDECOM and presiding officer and host of this session of the CAA. "Conferences are a bear, but international conferences are really a bear. Katie has an understanding of the complexities and the professional acumen to bring it all together.
"The entire crew has done a superb job," Greene added. "It's no easy task to pull a conference like this together, but the skill and effort that the entire RDECOM and APG garrison staff have put forth demonstrates our ability to work together and host an absolutely splendid event for an international body."
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