The GSF Team took a bit of a break to enjoy our Thanksgivings weekends with our friends and families, but that break was short lived–we rolled right back into action on Monday as we converged from various locations in Florida and DC to Orlando, FL….
That’s right. It’s I/ITSEC time.
The GSF attended I/ITSEC for the first time as a team in 2017, after some of our Corporate Partners told us it was a can’t-miss event for the increasingly important modeling, simulation, and training industry. We were pretty impressed last year, so we came back for round 2.
The exhibit hall at I/ITSEC never fails to wow you. As Stu said last year, it’s like an adult arcade and that seemed even more accurate this week. Everywhere you look you see someone flying a flight simulator, “firing” weapons, wearing AR/VR goggles, or messing around with a concave mirror. There was even more “old school” entertainment like putt-putt this year, which you can see Chelsea bravely attempted (she did not win the putter).
The real value for the Foundation at these events is visiting our Corporate Partners…at least 10 were exhibiting at this event and even more have representatives strolling the aisles alongside us. There are only a few opportunities per year where we can not only catch up with the people from so many companies at once, but also see the latest technologies and capabilities they can offer the special operations community.
We also enjoy the opportunity to meet new companies, new people, and of course, new tech.
The exhibit hall is great, but we find that people have a little more fun and get to know one another better in a more social setting–which is why we held our 2nd annual GSF Huddle at I/ITSEC! Just like with SOFIC, we feel that people are more fresh and ready to network on the first day of a big conference week, so we hold our event on day one.
GSF Huddles are casual events, and we were honored to have over 125 people join us at The Pub–a self-proclaimed “British watering-hole” at nearby Pointe Orlando.
As always, it was a great reunion of friends and colleagues, but also an opportunity to connect our partners with complementary individuals or companies. It was also a good way to find out who does and doesn’t know what a scotch egg is! (The truth is: no one really knows, but they are delicious.)
Speaking of partners, we have to thank the two sponsors who allowed us to make this event truly special: World Wide Technology (WWT), who also brought in their partner VMWare to serve as our Gold Sponsors, and Victor42, who sponsored the immensely popular Signature Cocktail (which was a delicious Old Fashioned).
We also want to thank our brand new employee, Catlyn Smith, who ran the check-in table up front. Catlyn is officially the GSF’s FIFTH full-time employee, and she’s joined us as our Membership Services Manager. You can read her bio (and the rest of the staff’s!) on our website.
Thanks again to all who attended this Huddle, and we hope to see you all at future events! Check out the photos from the week here.
The Webster Distinguished Service Award Dinner
One more event that is very worth mentioning this week is the Webster Distinguished Service Award Dinner, which Stu was honored to attend with his saintly wife, Kelly.
The Honorable William H. Webster Distinguished Service Award is given by the International Spy Museum to an individual who has “embodied the values of our esteemed friend, mentor, and leader – Judge William H. Webster.” This year’s honoree was Admiral William H. McRaven, former U.S. Special Operations Commander, former Joint Special Operations Commander, and former Chancellor of The University of Texas System.
He is also a great mentor (and former boss, multiple times over) of Stu’s, so he had to go see this event in person. It took place in Washington, DC at the Washington Ritz Carlton.
Stu and Kelly said it was an excellent event, and our congratulations from the whole team to ADM (Ret.) McRaven!