This update previews the 145th NGAUS General Conference & Exhibition in Reno, Nevada, including this year's business sessions, trade show information and social events. Here is what to expect:
Most attendees traveling to the 145th General Conference & Exhibition will reach Reno, Nevada, through Reno-Tahoe International Airport (reservation code: RNO), just three miles southeast of the city's downtown.
RNO handles most major U.S. airlines. The airport also houses Reno Air National Guard Base and the 152nd Airlift Wing.
All the conference's hotels provide complimentary shuttle service from RNO. Shuttles run every 30 minutes from 4 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Look for signs about these shuttles at RNO's baggage claim.
The Row is where most attendees will stay during the association's conference. It is three interconnected hotels downtown — Eldorado Resort Casino, Circus Circus Resort and Silver Legacy Resort Casino. You can check the exact location of the Row’s shuttle at www.therowshuttle.com.
Attendees can expect a very different city than the one they experienced in southern Nevada in 2021.
Reno (population: 268,851) sits in the high desert at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Summer temperatures are more pleasant than Las Vegas, Nevada, with average daily highs of 91 degrees Fahrenheit in August. It is a dry heat; temperatures drop into the 50s Fahrenheit at night.
Altitude is another feature. It is 4,500 feet above sea level, or just a few hundred feet below the elevation of Denver, Colorado. In the thin dry air, golf balls go farther, as do cocktails. You’ll also need to drink more water. But many people may not notice the altitude much.
All conference meetings and the industry exhibition will be at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, which is a short bus ride from the Row.
All-ranks business/professional development sessions begin at 12:30 p.m., Aug. 19, with an opening ceremony featuring a hookah dance from Nevada’s South Pacific State Partnership Program partners and a performance by the Scotty Mac Band from Nashville, Tennessee.
Confirmed speakers include Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall; Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Gen. Randy A. George, the Army vice chief of staff and President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the Army’s next senior officer. All three speakers are expected to address the conference's theme: America’s National Guard: A Local Force with Global Reach.
The agenda for the business sessions and the Army Guard and Air Guard breakouts is available at www.ngaus.org/events/145th-general-conference-exhibition.
A separate professional development program for company-grade officers is again part of the conference's agenda. The program will feature talks by senior NGB generals; Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the adjutant general of Nevada and the NGAUS vice chair - Air; and evidence-based leadership experts from Indigo Anchor, a management consulting firm. CGO attendees will also make presentations.
There is also association business to conduct. One item is board elections. This includes the three representatives (adjutant general, Army and Air) for Areas II and V, the Air company-grade rep and the Army retired/separated rep.
Additionally, delegates will consider resolutions that will be the foundation of next year’s legislative agenda.
The uniform for most meetings and sessions this year will be OCPs (Operational Camouflage Pattern). Those going on stage will be Class A’s.
An addition to the program this year is a Spouses Seminar set for the morning of Aug. 20 at the Silver Legacy. This seminar features presentations on family issues and resiliency.
Expect another large NGAUS industry exhibition in Reno. More than 300 companies or organizations will exhibit, according to Tradeshow Logic, the Marietta, Georgia, company that is the association’s new show manager.
The NGAUS booth (No. 1636) will again be near the middle of the show floor. This is where you can speak with NGAUS staff and purchase the 2023 National Guard Educational Foundation holiday ornament. The ornament commemorates the Guard's contributions to the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944, during World War II.
This is also the inaugural year of the Minuteman Speaker Series on the tradeshow floor. The series will feature brief presentations on equipment modernization from NGB leaders.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony opens the exhibition at 10 a.m., Aug. 19, followed by a complimentary brunch on the tradeshow floor.
Beyond the Business Sessions
Social events this year will take advantage of some of Reno's most popular attractions.
Evening festivities start Aug. 18 with the separate Company Grade/Warrant Officer Mixer and the Field Grade Officer Mixer at Greater Nevada Field downtown. The evening features cocktails, a buffet dinner, music and a Triple-A minor-league baseball game between the Reno Aces and the Las Vegas Aviators.
Next, the invitation-only Adjutants General Reception takes place at the National Automobile Museum downtown, which boasts more than 225 rare and historic cars.
The Nevada National Guard Association has also altered the traditional sequence of two of the conference's all-attendee social events.
The States Dinner, which usually concludes the conference, is set for the evening after the First Business/Professional Session on Aug. 19 at the Reno Events Center downtown, just a short walk from The Row. Western Wear is the recommended attire. The Scotty Mac Band will close out the evening.
The Governor’s Farewell will end the conference Aug. 21. It is set for the Reno Ballroom, which is also across the street from The Row. The event features a private concert by country-music recording artist Josh Turner.
Another popular social event figures to be the Spouses Luncheon, Aug. 20, at the Reno Ballroom. Expect a 1920s Speakeasy theme with lunch and a theatrical production of a murder mystery. There will additionally be gifts for all and prizes for a lucky few.
You can stay updated about the conference by downloading the NGAUS Conference App sponsored by Armed Forces Benefit Association. The app is available in the Apple Store and Google Play.
— By John Goheen