By Jon Bleiweis and Yvonne Johnson, APG NewsMay 10, 2019
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The second annual APG Discovery Fest proved a resounding success as thousands of industry partners, job seekers, future scientists, Soldiers, family members and guests turned out for a look at APG innovations and opportunities, May 4. The event was held at Discovery Point, a series of tents and exhibits positioned on the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance, or C5ISR, Campus at APG.
The festival culminated a week of exploration at APG, which began with the Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry, and included the APG Technical Expo and the Communications-Electronics Command Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
"Discovery Fest was a way to show the community that APG belongs to them, because this Army is your Army," said APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor. "From a Career Fair for adults to science, technology, engineering, and math activities for kids, there was something for all ages and all interests. Whether you want to protect your community as a Soldier or police officer, work in a lab or an office as a researcher or logistician, or study wetlands and wildlife as an environmental scientist, there are opportunities for everyone at APG!"
Highlights of the day included that APG Career Fair, which drew upwards of 2,000 job applicants; the Magic of Science Fair, in which 6-8th graders from local schools competed for high-tech prizes; interactive APG organization displays that allowed guests to get hands-on with APG technology; K-9 working dog demonstrations by the Directorate of Emergency Services; and open-air displays featuring a Blackhawk helicopter and emergency vehicles from the APG fire department; live music; a Kid Zone; and food provided by area food trucks.
Staff at the Career Fair were impressed by both the number a quality of job applicants.
"There's certainly a lot of talent here today that we wouldn't otherwise have access to if we didn't have this event," said Teresa Manganaro, a lead management analyst with the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Software Engineering Center. "And we've got a lot of staff here to support it too. "
George Ulysses of CECOM said they were seeking IT applicants as well as science and electronics engineers.
"We got a lot of good applicants; there's a lot of potential here," he said.
While the Career Fair was busy, there was plenty more to see. Beth Aquilina of Bel Air visited the Discovery Fest with her husband and four children. The entire family got a chance to sit in the Blackhawk and came away impressed.
"It was very cool," she said. "I had never realized how big it seemed inside. When I saw the control panel in front, I was like, 'I don't know how they keep track of it.'"
She said the entire family enjoyed what APG had to offer. "It's really great when you have a 13-year-old and a 7-year-old all having a good day, because that's hard," she said.
The Discovery Fest also featured the inaugural Magic of Science Fair, hosted by the APG Discovery Center and the Senior Science Society. The fair had 37 entries from local sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students.
Charlie Nietubicz, the fair's chair, said the APG Discovery Center hosted the fair to help get its presence known in the community. The goal of the APG Discovery Center is to create a space that will encourage more kids to get into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields.
"I'm impressed that the [students] focused in on the science, how to run experiments and the whole concept of 'I have a hypothesis and how do I prove it,'" he said. "That's what this is showing."
The Discovery Fest provided an opportunity for APG tenants and local community organizations to show off their wares.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory let people test out the PackBot, a robot with a camera and an operating control unit used by Soldiers to navigate areas where there is limited sight. Delighted visitors lined up to use the remote-controlled robot to try and pop nearby balloons.
Among the APG organizations with displays at the Discovery Fest were the APG Directorate of Public Works with a bald eagle display; the Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense which had folks assembling building blocks while wearing chemical protective gloves; the U.S. Army Public Health Center and the Chemical Materials Activity.
Community displays included the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council display, hosted by John Casner, executive director, and the APG Federal Credit Union display with Monica Worrell, business development director. NMTC was supporting the science fair with a bug display.
"Something out of the ordinary for NMTC but the whole idea is to get them interested in science," Casner said. "It's a fun day for us to contribute to our community."
Worrell said children colored maps with color pencils at the display.
"We're happy to participate," she said, noting that APGFCU has supported APG workers for 81 years. "There's so much to see and do at APG," she said. "You just have to come out and see it."
Aberdeen Proving Ground is located in Harford County, Md., nearly midway between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. APG is recognized as one of the world's most important research and development, testing and evaluation facilities for military weapons, equipment and electronics, and it supports the finest teams of military and civilian scientists, research engineers, technicians and administrators.