As I am writing this, the staff is catching its breath after completing our second GovTravels meeting, this year co-hosted with the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) here in Washington. Having DTMO come aboard as our official co-sponsor was a very strong signal to the industry that GovTravels speaks with authority, and is the only forum where interaction in a trusted environment occurs. My thanks to DTMO Director Bill Mansell for believing in our mission.
By all accounts GovTravels was a rousing success with more attendees, more sponsors, and more exhibitors in only its second year. More than 400 government and industry travel professionals attended three days of speakers, panels, meetings and breakouts addressing a wide range of issues, including the modernization and automation of travel systems. I think that one of the best measures of our success was that we signed up several new NDTA corporate members and over 20 individual members who attended and immediately experienced the value of our association. I expect next year's event to be even bigger and better.
While I am talking about events, I can tell you that your NDTA staff and the US-TRANSCOM staff is hard at work with our commercial partners to finalize the program for this year's Fall Meeting, which will return to the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis 1013 October 2017. Transportation Academy will again be a center-piece of the event, and we believe that we have again lined up a great set of courses, seminars, and speakers. We are very pleased to announce that BNSF Railway has very generously agreed to bring its classic train again this year so that we can offer evening excursions as we did last year. We will open our online site for registration in May, so watch your email for the announcement and act fast to reserve your seat. They will go fast!
"Wild Washington"--it sure seems that way inside the Beltway these days as the new administration gets its sea legs and new faces begin to appear in leadership positions throughout the federal government. Fortunately for us in the defense transportation sector, two of the least contentious members of the new administration have been President Trump's new Defense Secretary--retired Marine General Jim Mattis, and the new Transportation Secretary--Elaine Chao.
I was lucky enough to meet with Secretary Chao last month to discuss a number of topics related to the transportation industry and NDTA. I had the pleasure of reminding Ms. Chao...