ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Tours Curiosity Lab
In January, chapter members visited Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. This economic development initiative by the city of Peachtree Corners is a living laboratory for startups and established companies. It allows them to deploy and prove developing technologies in a real-world testing environment with no roadblocks, joined by the next generation of intelligent mobility and smart city technology. Curiosity Lab is located in the 500-acre Technology Park and publicly funded and owned by the city to further develop the premier smart city ecosystem in the United States. Louis Svehla, director of communications for the city, gave a presentation and provided a tour of the facility.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Small Business Symposium Highlights the Government Arena
Recently the chapter hosted a Small Business Symposium focused on helping small businesses take the next step in the government arena. Richard Yeargin gave the opening motivational speech, and the keynote was given by Tracey Grace, president and CEO of IBEX IT Business Experts.

Breakout sessions and a panel on "The Business of Government" boasted representatives from different government sectors, and a social networking session capped off the day.

This event, the second in the chapter's Small Business Series following last year's Roundtable Workshop, allowed members to engage directly with speakers, panelists and sponsors to glean knowledge and help companies move to the next level. The event brought in many new members and re-energized a few more. Following this success, the Small Business Committee led by Stacy Vaughn and Kurt Schmid is already planning the next steps.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Assembles Goodie Bags for Annual Event
Members of the chapter met to assemble 2,000 goodie bags as they prepared to support Operation Holiday Block Leave over the Christmas holidays. This event was hosted by TEKsystems (one of the more active corporate members in the Atlanta area) and coincided with their holiday potluck. Many of the TEKsystems staff jumped in and made quick work. All bags were stuffed and loaded to go in about two hours.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Volunteers Support Operation Holiday Block Leave
More than twenty people came out to volunteer for the chapter's annual support of Operation Holiday Block Leave at Hartfield-Jackson Airport. This was a 24-hour period where approximately 2,000 troops came through the United Service Organizations (USO) as they headed home for the holidays. In anticipation of this event, the chapter met earlier in the month and assembled 2,000 goodie bags with an assortment of snacks to help during travels. The chapter has supported the USO for this event for more than 15 years and judging by the turn out, it remains very popular with the members!

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Launches Small Business Roundtable
In September, Marilyn Jackson, chapter vice president of small business, opened the AFCEA Atlanta Small Business Roundtable with guest speaker, Tan Wilson, chair, AFCEA Small Business Committee, and CEO of Entellect LLC.

Wilson gave an energetic update on how AFCEA International has responded to COVID-19 challenges for its small business members. She revealed numerous resources that have been committed to this vital part of AFCEA International. The second session in the luncheon was a panel including Wilson, Lauren Wingate, chapter vice president of membership and vice president of strategic development for TJFACT LLC, and Stacy Vaughn, business strategist for D-Unity Group LLC.

This successful event was designed to provide relevant information for small business members and is the first in a series.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Emerging Leaders Host Live Event at Computer Museum of America
Emerging Leaders for the chapter held a live networking event at the Computer Museum of America, which is the largest technology museum on the East Coast. Members of the newly formed student chapter at the University of North Georgia also attended. The evening started with a tour showcasing many computer artifacts spanning the history of computing from the CRAY-1 Supercomputer to an Enigma Machine. After the tour, members, along with guests from the Atlanta Chapter of Bunker Labs discussed local events and what's next for the Emerging Leaders.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Supports Operation Holiday Block Leave 2020
In December, Santa Claus and members of the chapter volunteered to support Operation Holiday Block Leave. They provided much needed and welcomed help to the staff of the United Service Organization (USO) Region IV office, located at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The chapter also provided a variety of pastries and treats as soldiers spent a little layover time on their trip home for the holidays. Members wished a safe and Merry Christmas to over 2,500 military members from Fort Gordon's Communications Center of Excellence. The pictures show the volunteers providing snack treats to the troops as they headed to their boarding gates. In addition to the "goodie bags", the team worked to provide travel information, a quick bite to eat in the USO lounge, and welcomed returning troops from other parts of the country. The USO and the chapter have collaborated to support this event for over two decades.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Teeing Off to Support Chapter
The chapter's annual golf tournament, sponsored by several local and national companies in September, helped raise money for operation and education funds. The teams enjoyed a scramble format and lots of fun on a perfect weather day. The Envistacom team took top honors. Among the prizes was an Atlanta Braves autographed baseball bat, which was raffled off. The chapter thanks members of its board of directors and the City Club Marietta in helping with the golf fundraiser.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Commends Top Cadets
The chapter recognized two outstanding cadets with AFCEA Honor Awards in April at Georgia Tech's ROTC military awards ceremony. David Landry and Tom Horton, members of the chapter's board of directors, presented certificates and cash awards to Juan Trejo and Alexander Henni-Roed. Annual winners are selected based on military and scholastic excellence.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Honors Outstanding Army Cadet
The chapter honored Cadet Staff Sgt. Casey Johnson, Corps of Cadets, as this year's AFCEA Outstanding Cadet at the University of North Georgia Corps of Cadets Military Awards Night in March. Patricia Giesler and Paul Wertz, members of the chapter's board of directors, presented Cadet Johnson a distinctive medal, a ribbon and a cash stipend to recognize his activities at the university and his interest in AFCEA. Col. James T. Palmer, USA (Ret.), the university's commandant of cadets selects the annual winner based on military achievement and scholastic excellence. The chapter congratulates Cadet Johnson.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Georgia Tech Naval ROTC Cadet Receives Chapter Education Scholarship
The chapter awarded Georgia Tech Naval ROTC Cadet Jacob Lochmann this year's Chapter Education Scholarship in January. The cadet is a senior studying mechanical engineering and will commission as a naval reactor engineer (NRE) upon graduation. The Navy awards only six NRE slots annually for this competitive position. Cadet Lochmann comes from a long line of service members, including his father, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and flew P-3 aircraft. The cadet is a member of the Georgia Tech student council and is active in his community. The chapter is proud and honored to present the cadet this year's scholarship.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Honors STEM Teachers With Grants
The chapter held its annual Teaching Tool Grant Awards luncheon in late January. The chapter honors up to a dozen STEM-focused teachers in the Atlanta region with stipends to help purchase materials, services or supplies for a STEM-related activity with their students. This year's winners include Sheila Harmony of Coleman Middle School, Kimberly Hutcheson of Baker Elementary School and Maria Brown of Washington Park Elementary School. The teachers provided a synopsis of how they intend to use the funds, explained how they shape their young charges and pledged to share pictures and updates with the chapter.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Supports USO During Holiday Block Leave
The chapter again supported the USO at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in December for Fort Gordon's and Fort Benning's annual Holiday Block Leave in which thousands of soldiers arrive in Atlanta by bus from those installations to travel home for the holidays. Before the event, numerous chapter members gathered to prepare more than 2,000 bags of snacks and treats to pass out to soldiers as they arrived at the terminal to catch their flights. The operation took place in the wee hours to reduce the effect of the arriving soldiers on the already high volume of holiday travelers. Mayfield Dairy of Atlanta provided much-appreciated cartons and bottles of milk, juice and water for the USO to distribute free to these soldiers and thousands of other service members and their families who travelled through the airport. Chapter members always look forward to this opportunity each year to welcome the soldiers to Atlanta and thank them for their service as they head home.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: 2016 College Scholarship Winners Honored
The two recipients of the 2016 AFCEA Atlanta college scholarships were honored at the chapter's February luncheon. The first recipient, Aaron Royer, is a mechanical engineering student at Georgia Tech and is also a member of the Marine Corps NROTC program there. The second recipient, Austin Little, attends Morehouse College in Atlanta where he is completing his undergraduate studies in a dual major program of applied physics and electrical engineering. Both of these outstanding student winners received a check for $1,500 from the chapter.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: High School Students Honored for Achievement in STEM
The chapter recognized Christian Jamison and Breyden Wood, 10th graders from Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology at the 2016 Gwinnett County Regional Science, Engineering and Innovation Fair in February. At the turn of the 20th century, Nikolai Tesla theorized energy could be extracted directly from the Earth's magnetic field. Incredibly, Jamison and Wood researched the concept, built a working magnetic field generator and demonstrated the feasibility of using this as an alternative energy source. In fact, their hypothesis was not only upheld that the energy could be extracted, they actually extracted and stored it in a capacitor 300% of their predicted value. The chapter recognizes these rising scientist as its high school level project winners that most closely align with the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) tenants of AFCEA International. Congratulations gentlemen!

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Honors 8th Grader for STEM Accomplishment
The chapter recognized Jacob Hinson, an 8th grader from Trickum Middle School at the 2016 Gwinnett County Regional Science, Engineering and Innovation Fair in February. He worked closely with a needle source 0.01 micro-curie, Polonium 210, Alpha emitter, courtesy of United Nuclear supplies. Hinson created a homemade cloud chamber to detect and track the invisible Alpha particles. Taking his experiment to the next level, Hinson used magnetized Buckyballs to create magnetized paths for the Alpha particles to navigate. The chapter recognizes this rising scientist as its middle school level project winner that most closely aligns with the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) tenants of AFCEA International. Congratulations Jacob!

ATLANTA CHAPTER: New Military Sponsor and Liaison for Chapter
Maj. Andrea Walthour, commander, 94th Communications Squadron, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, has graciously offered to be the military sponsor and liaison to the chapter. The 94th also contributed critical man-hours aiding the chapter prepare almost 2000 snack baggies to hand out to the troops transiting Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport during the 2015 Operation Holiday Block Leave. She has also committed to be the February 2016 luncheon speaker. The chapter is honored and pleased with the new relationship.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Honors STEM Teachers 2016
The chapter recognized ten local area teachers at the annual Science Teaching Tool Grant luncheon, held at Dobbins Air Reserve Base club on January 28th. Among this year's honorees are Ashli Cook (Carroll County); Susanna Brooks (Coweta County); Diana Kennen (Rockdale County); Heather Pouliot (Henry County); Lisa Bruce (Forsyth County); Sheila Harmony (Gwinnett County); Brenda Horrnady (DeKalb County); Maria Brown (mulit-year winner, Jasper County); Chas Harsh (multi-year winner, Gwinnett County); and Tommy Nguyen (Gwinnett County). Congratulations to this year's winners who foster and cultivate the future science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) leaders of the country. A special thank you to Mitch Able and Michelle Brown, co-vice presidents of education and both past chapter presidents, for their tireless devotion to directing the education events and making the event possible.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Celebrates USO 75th Anniversary
The United Service Organizations (USO) celebrated its 75th anniversary in February at its office in the Atlanta airport. The chapter was invited to attend the celebration as the region's top volunteer organization and make a few remarks to the dignitaries and attendees. A number of USO and military and government dignitaries also addressed the attendees including UN Ambassador Andrew Young. The chapter presented Maj. Gen. Tom Wessels, chairman, USO and Mary Lou Austin, president of the USO of Georgia, a modest stipend during the ceremony.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Welcomes Dr. Vince Patton
Dr. Vince Patton, director of the AFCEA Educational Foundation, paid a visit to the January luncheon, where the chapter was honoring its selection of 2015 Teaching Tool Grant recipients. Dr. Patton delivered a heartfelt and insightful presentation on the efforts AFCEA International is undertaking to further the tenets of the organization; its focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) grants and scholarships; and how the local chapters influence the direction of the next generation of Defense Department and government professionals.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Teaching Tool Grants Support STEM Education
The chapter annually disperses Teaching Tool Grants to deserving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-focused teachers in the Atlanta metro area during the January chapter luncheon held at Georgia Tech Research Institute. For 2015, the chapter awarded $1,000 grants to five teachers: Cathrine Nolan, Central Educational Center of Coweta County; Maria Brown, Washington Park Elementary of Fulton County; Carla Vashaw and Chas Harsh, North Gwinnett Middle School of Gwinnett County; and Bobby Burford, Loganville Middle School of Walton County. These well-deserved and much need funds assist the teachers in procuring STEM related goods and/or services to keep grade-, middle- and high school-level students interested in STEM education. Congratulations all!

The chapter provided much needed support to the Hartsfield-Jackson USO in December as part of Operation HOLIDAY LEAVE. Each year, Fort Benning conducts the exercise to place military members with their families during the Christmas season. Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta is a nexus for tens of thousands of troops to make air connections on their way to and from their military bases and their loved ones. Mary Lou Austin, director of the SE Regional USO, expressed her appreciation in the January luncheon saying she "appreciated the resources, volunteers, food and drink which you so generously provided, showing 'Hometown America's' support for our troops." Maj. Gen. Austin Miller, USA, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Benning, also expressed his thanks for the benefit received by the troops as a result of the chapter's hard work during Operation HOLIDAY LEAVE. Austin has already asked the chapter if it could execute a double shift next year, a challenge easily accepted.

Col. Jan Apo, USA, defense coordinating officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IV, spoke at the chapter luncheon at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, in May. Col. Apo works directly with FEMA and is the Department of Defense representative during planning and, more importantly, during disaster periods. Her job is to ensure affected people and property are rendered safe as soon as possible after an event. Region IV is the largest of the eight FEMA national regions. Col. Apo has a tremendous communication capability to coordinate with active duty bases and ISB forward basing stations. She sometimes finds her duties placing her onsite in specialized communications vehicles like the Emergency Reaction Vehicle (ERV). The colonel and her staff provided the chapter with a hands-on tour of this powerful communication command node after the lunch. Col. Apo is another example of the tremendous liaison between military and civilian agencies and an example of the vital role communications and electronics plays in daily life.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Air Force Reservist Receives Scholarship
The chapter awarded a $1,500 scholarship to Cadet Peter Holloway, USAF, at its May luncheon. Cadet Holloway is in his third year at Southern Polytechnic State University, majoring in mechatronics engineering. He is in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and pursuing a commission through ROTC. Both his father and grandfather served in the Air Force. As a reservist he was deployed to Bagram Air Field with the 755th Civil Engineering Squadron. While there, he taught local Afghans basic carpentry skills, enabling them to find future employment.

ATLANTA CHAPTER: Chapter Focuses on STEM in March
The chapter unofficially made March science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) month, and it showed at the monthly luncheon. The chapter was pleased to present Randall Stafford with a STEM Teaching Tools Award to assist the 9th grade physics teacher at Rome High School, just northwest of Atlanta. Stafford showed a short and fascinating video of a robotics competition where his students participate annually. The funds awarded to him will go a long way to procuring motors, gears, PC boards, servos and other big-ticket items needed to compete. Brian Cosgrove and Chris Pugel, two students from Archer High School, demonstrated their award winning hydrogen fuel generator they created, tested, implemented (to power a lawn mower) and patented. Their efforts epitomize the STEM focus and became the chapter's selection as best project in the Gwinnett County Science and Engineering Fair. The chapter also recognized two young Guardsmen for their efforts during the 2014 snowstorms that stranded thousands on Atlanta streets in January and February: Specialist Shannon Haynes, who was the Georgia Army National Guard honoree, and Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nickell of the Georgia Air Force National Guard, who was unable to attend the luncheon. The chapter is also sponsoring the first annual Motorcycles for STEM fundraiser in May 2014. Similar to AFCEA's Cycle for STEM event, participants will help raise awareness and funds for STEM with a beautiful ride from Atlanta to the famous Dragons Tail in North Carolina. See for details.