Four four-star generals and the largest NGAUS trade show in several years highlight the 144th General Conference & Exhibition, Aug. 26-29 in Columbus, Ohio.
This year’s speakers include Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff; Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., the Air Force chief of staff; and Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau. All three are members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Also on the agenda are Gen. Andrew P. Poppas, the new commanding general of Army Forces Command; Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, the director of the Army National Guard; Lt Gen. Michael A. Loh, the director of the Air National Guard; and Lt. Gen. Laura A. Potter, the deputy Army chief of staff for intelligence (G-2).
Potter is considered one of the Army’s foremost experts on Russia. She has studied Russia since college and speaks Russian fluently.
The latest business agenda for the conference is available at www.ngaus.org/events/144th-general-conference-exhibition/144th-general-conference-exhibition-business-agenda.
Another major event is the trade show. More than 340 companies and organizations have contracted to exhibit, said Jake Jakubek, the association’s vice president for business development & general conference.
The NGAUS exhibition ranks among America’s most diverse military trade shows, Jakubek said. The show annually includes products and services tailored to the Guard’s domestic response mission, plus its full spectrum of contributions to Army and Air Force operations worldwide.
A list of exhibitors - and a map of the nearly sold-out trade show floor - is available at https://events.jspargo.com/NGAUS22/Public/eventmap.aspx?shmode=E&shExhList=1&ID=93625&sortMenu=103004.
The conference's hours this year have been adjusted to provide attendees more time on the show’s opening day for visiting exhibitors, Jakubek added.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. The ceremony has been at 10:30 a.m. most years. The traditional complimentary brunch begins at 10:40 a.m., running until noon.
Attendees will have more floor time as the First Business Session, including the opening ceremony, begins at 12:30 p.m. instead of noon.
The conference additionally includes networking and social events every evening.
The largest event will be the Governor’s Reception on Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Center of Science and Industry.
COSI is a 32,000-square-foot, nationally recognized science center featuring interactive experiences, galleries and a planetarium.
Another big social event will be the Spouses’ Luncheon on Sunday, Aug. 28 at the Battelle Grand Ballroom in the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
"Sweet Success" is the event's theme, which will feature dessert-heavy fare. Red, white and blue is the recommended attire.
The conference will conclude with a States Dinner like no other in the annual event's century-old history on Monday, Aug. 29.
The dinner will have a strong sports theme. The recommended dress is sports jerseys, and food and drink will resemble offerings from the best tailgate parties, emphasizing smoked meats.
In keeping with the theme, the dinner program will include mascots from the local professional and college sports teams, and a short performance by the Ohio State University cheerleaders.
Bobby Carpenter, an ESPN football analyst who played as a linebacker for OSU and the NFL, will provide the program's play-by-play and color commentary.
For more information, visit www.ngaus.org/events/144th-general-conference-exhibition, or download the conference app, sponsored by AFBA, at Apple's App Store or Google Play's Android apps store.
- By John Goheen