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Welcome to Nashville.

With the historic Grand 'Ol Opry next door the sounds of country music filling the air, and the magic hospitality of Music City greeting all, the annual SDDC Training Symposium returned to Nashville for a second year, May 1-4, 2006. More than 1,500 attendees from military, government and the transportation industry gathered at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for four days of informative panel discussions, breakout sessions and featured speakers, highlighted by a genuine "House of Blues" welcome reception and the annual awards banquet.

The National Defense Transportation Association co-sponsored the exposition hall events featuring displays from throughout the transportation industry.

The symposium has grown in popularity and importance over the years as more and more transporters recognize it as the premier transportation conference within the Department of Defense. This is in no small part because of the professional expertise of the program manager, Jeanie Bell Winslow, and her tireless team that make magic happen behind the scenes.

"We have an awesome and experienced SDDC team broken into eleven functional sections, each following tight procedures and operating with the precision of a race car pit crew, ensuring that all parts are working together," Winslow said. "All during the symposium when problems pop up, we don't react--we ACT, to ensure the live show continues to go on and no one notices that a problem has occurred. It's a pleasure to work with such talented and dedicated people."

Winslow has seen a lot of changes throughout the symposium's lifetime. "It has been an awesome experience to see the growth of the symposium and to receive such positive feedback from the attendees. Many tell us their experiences are extremely beneficial as they take what they have learned back to their duty stations to share with others. And through our invaluable partnership with industry, the event provides myriad network opportunities to discuss policies and issues pertaining to the Defense Transportation System."

The always popular welcome social donned a "House of Blues" theme this year, featuring The Chessmen Band singing the blues on Monday evening.

The symposium's guest speaker, Nelson Miller, director of logistics for Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, oversees seven nationwide distribution centers and a company-owned and operated fleet of trucks guaranteeing 99% next-day customer delivery within 800 miles of a center. "We've established clear goals and objectives and have world-class employees," he said.

Nelson makes regular visits to all his distribution centers, holding town halls to discuss with employees how the company is doing and how their specific location fares. "On time every time is our goal," he said.

Giovanni Livera, noted magician and speaker, captivated the audience with his "Anything is Possible" presentation. With a combination of unique magic tricks and audience participation, Livera noted M-A-G-I-C stands for Motivation, Attitude, Goals, Imagination and Caring.

"The sky is not the limit--make your ceiling your floor and get on top of your potential," he said. "You need a dream goal--'No' is not an option because 'No change equals no change!' Celebrate your successes for a day, a week, a month, then reset your goals for higher ground."

Maj. Gen. Charles W. Fletcher, Jr, SDDC commander, followed with his keynote address, taking the audience back 20 years to 1986. "Back then we confronted the Soviet Union with our full spectrum arsenal--we dreamed of a day when we would not be on the brink of nuclear war," he said. "Today we are living that dream with no peer competitor."

As SDDC transitions into the future, Fletcher noted the command's major objectives. "We need to simplify end-to-end deployments for military units, empowering the end-to-end process with the right personnel, technology and process disciplines." Fully leveraging the capabilities of commercial industry is vital, he noted.

"We need to develop common management platforms, systems and processes with commercial industry and others," he said. "Progress towards our future will be a little bit about technology and a lot about culture, structure, process and discipline."

Col.(P) Jim Hodge, SDDC deputy commanding general, hosted the follow-on defense panel discussion.

Panel member Brig. Gen. Michael Lally, who commands the Defense Distribution Center, a vast network of 26 distribution centers worldwide, discussed the importance of inventory management. "As passive RFID tags become cheaper to obtain, they will be on every container--every item," he said. "We are getting more proactive so items are stocked when needed, not waiting until they have to be ordered."

The symposium officially ended with the annual awards banquet where the Shipper Performance Award was presented to DoD activities that have performed in a superior manner by exceeding defense transportation regulation standards in shipping timeliness and accuracy.

This year's recipients in the Super Large Shipper category were the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Dan Daniel Distribution Center, Newport News, Va., and the Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna, Pa.

The Large Shipper category winners were the Joint Military Postal Activity--Pacific, San Francisco, and the AAFES Atlanta Distribution Center.

The Medium Shipper recipients were the Defense Distribution Depot, Barstow, Calif. and the Joint Military Postal Activity--Atlantic, New Jersey International and Bulk Mail Center, Jersey City, N.J.

The Small Shipper category winners were Defense Distribution Center Puget Sound, Wash.; Traffic Office, McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, McAlester, Okla.; DoD Integrated Logistics Support, Fort Belvoir, Va. and the Defense Contract Management Agency Huntsville-Birmingham Southeast Transportation Center, Ala.

The Quality Award was also presented at the banquet, honoring the commercial transportation industry for their commitment to excellence in serving the Department of Defense. This year's recipients were American Coach Lines, BAX Global Incorporated, CSX Transportation, DHL Worldwide Express, Federal Express Corporation, Interstate Van Lines, Northern Neck Transfer, Port of Olympia, Public Warehousing Company and Yellow Transportation.

Government and Industry * Learning About Each Other

The exhibition hall was one of the big attractions during the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's Training Symposium May 2-4, 2006 with 26 Government and more than 80 corporate exhibitors displaying and explaining their products and services to attendees.

Both government and corporate exhibitors displayed a wide array of transportation-based products and services, from trucking companies to computer software programs useful in the industry.

"I think this has gone great," said David Wormald, USTRANSCOM J-3 working the Transportation Visualizer booth. "We've attracted a lot of interest in our capabilities that are currently being fielded. We're looking forward to fielding to all of the combatant commands and their components."

Corporations under contract with SDDC took full advantage presenting and educating attendees on their products and services along with their government oversight offices getting their messages and information out to attendees.

"It's been a great show for us," said Boone Pendergrast, representative for CDM Technologies, Inc. "It's helpful to meet a lot of our end users. They can actually see what we are working on and they can actually use our scanners wireless network we have set up here for them."

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) showed its distribution centers and Soldiers supporting Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

"We've been able to produce a lot of information explaining what AAFES does and the services that we offer," said Ronald Willis, customer service supervisor for AAFES. "The teamwork and camaraderie we have with the auxiliary carriers have been wonderful and this also allows us to learn more about our customers and transportation partners which will help us to better serve them."--Mitch Chandran, SDDC Headquarters, Alexandria

Dennis Drake

SDDC Headquarters, Alexandria
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Title Annotation:surface deployement and distribution command
Author:Drake, Dennis
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2006
Previous Article:SDDC junior officer receives award.
Next Article:Military, commercial partners transport gun truck from Iraq.

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