HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The crowd assembled at the Jackson Center April 23 was impressive to say the least.

Members of the National Defense Industrial Association, Tennessee Valley Chapter, gathered for the organization's NDIA-TVC 2018 Awards Dinner. The annual dinner recognizes subject matter experts and defense leaders who have excelled in their profession, and also local college students with promising futures.

The keynote speaker was Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram, Aviation and Missile Command commander. He briefed the audience on the integral partnership between the military and their industry partners and how crucial that partnership is in engendering trust that the homeland and its people are protected.

"We have to have the trust of the American public," Gabram said. "If we lose that, we've lost everything."

Gabram also discussed the challenges the Army faces, meeting readiness challenges today while modernizing for an increasingly complex battlefield.

"We have the current and the future and we have to take care of both," he said. "And the future is sitting in this room."

The following award recipients were recognized during the dinner:

• Leadership Excellence: Dr. Jon Ellis, Missile Defense Agency; Travis Curtis, Communications-Electronics Command; Miranda Bouldin Frost, LogiCore.

• Management: Janet Fisher, MDA; Lt. Col. Robert Sleasman, MDA; Col. Casmere Taylor, Army Materiel Command.

• Technology: Lt. Col. Raymond Holstein, MDA; Christopher "Cain" Crouch, Space and Missile Defense Command; Jeff Elder, Modern Technology Solution Inc.; Army Security Video Team.

In addition to the professional awards, NDIA-TVC and its Space and Missile Defense Working Group also provide scholarships for local students pursuing science, engineering and logistics fields.

Those recipients were:

Alabama A&M University: DyQuan Bowers, mechanical engineering; Aleya Hamilton, mechanical engineering; Odishika Chukwuji, logistics.

University of Alabama in Huntsville: Rachael Drake, civil engineering; Lachlan Baker, aerospace engineering; Stephanie Henry, supply chain management.