Fort Bliss technology is heavy on exposition
November 4, 2011
FORT BLISS, Texas, (Nov. 4, 2011) -- The Army relies on technology -- from imaging systems, communications, missile guidance and counter-improvised explosive device capabilities to conferencing equipment and surveillance. The technology was on display at Fort Bliss' Technology Expo at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center Oct. 28.
"We produce agency technology expositions across the U.S. and actually throughout Europe as well," said Kelly Shields, federal events manager with National Conference Service, Inc. "We've been putting on this Fort Bliss Technology Expo for probably the last 10 years annually."
The Fort Bliss Technology Expo is a joint effort between Fort Bliss leadership and NCS, Inc. Both work together to coordinate an exposition that is relevant to the Army's changing technological needs and those needs that apply specifically to Fort Bliss.
"We try to tailor it to the missions at Fort Bliss and get the right people," said Shields. "The week before the event, we go out and set up meetings with different leadership across Fort Bliss. We sit down with them and say, 'What is you mission? What are you currently working on? What are the companies you're working with? What are the technologies you are working on?' Then we have a full sales team that actually contacts those companies that were requested and tries to get them in for the show. So it's a mix of requests from leadership and companies that may already do business with Fort Bliss."
This year's technology exposition has the distinction of being the largest one yet at Fort Bliss.
"I think last year we had around 25 [vendors], so we're seeing a lot of interest from the vendors' side of things to come out to Fort Bliss and see what they have to offer," said Shields. "We just hope to continue to grow it, and I think we're on the right track for that."
Bruce Salinas, a logistics officer with the Fort Bliss Fire Department, and Jeff Sagen, a communications officer also with the fire department, attended the event and saw technology that could possibly improve their job performance.
"They've got some good stuff here that we can actually use for the dispatch," said Salinas. "You can consolidate [computers]. Instead of having 14 monitors and seven computers, you can shrink them down to 14 monitors and one blade [a type of server], and have one small little console on every individual [station] that is linked to the blade in the back."
"A lot of the new technology is very interesting," said Sagen. "We still have a couple of booths to go to and check out. It's been a good experience so far."
Nothing official happens at the technology expo. This interface between the military and the technology companies is only for the military to see what advances are possibly available to them.
"People always ask us if there are any sales or purchases done on site," said Shields. "There are not. This is basically an educational forum. Our goal is to bring together industry and government to make sure that you are seeing the latest and greatest emerging technologies."
"That's something that we're going to have to bring up to management," said Salinas of one of the new technologies. "[We'll] have a proposal and have these guys give us a demo and see if it will work for us."
GarCom was one of the companies that Salinas and Sagen visited during the expo.
"We're trying to show more presence of our company," said Guillermo Arzola, project manager and exhibitor from GarCom. "Even though we're a local company, we don't have a presence like a national company, so we're trying to present ourselves to clients here locally. … There are local companies here that can do the same things as bigger companies and give them better support, quicker support. Even though we have projects everywhere in the country, this is our bigger market with Fort Bliss."
Maj. Ingrid Centurion attended the expo because of its proximity to her work and the learning opportunities available.
"I work here on Biggs [Army Airfield] and Joint Task Force-North, and at these conferences or shows you could learn something about a certain capability that you didn't know was out there," said Centurion. "There's a lot of small companies that are doing some great things in research and development."