In July, the chapter hosted its annual Summer TechExpo July 19-23 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany-the first international AFCEA event since the pandemic, which was expanded for additional KMC area participants. The chapter hosted Lauren Knausenberger, chief information officer for the Air Force, as guest speaker and senior participant for events. The expo included 37 information technology (IT) vendors, and several more attendees and sponsors-as the chapter overcame COVID hurdles. In all, there were over 319 attendees at the expo and several general officers that came by to learn about spotlighted industry.
Throughout the week, industry partners integrated with Air Force senior leaders to understand U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa's (USAFE-AFAFRICA's) requirements and showcased their cutting-edge technology to help the field in warfighting capabilities across the two-continent theaters of Europe and Africa. At the conclusion of the TechExpo, Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, USAF, commander, USAFE-AFAFRICA, presided over the retirement ceremony honoring Col. Andrew D'Ippolito, USAF, director of communications and chief information officer, A6, Headquarters USAFE-AFAFRICA, and his 27 years of service. Col. D'Ippolito was a long-standing chapter member, avid AFCEA supporter and mentor to all chapter members. With Col. D'Ippolito's retirement, Col. Oscar Delgado, USAF, moved from Joint Staff to take the reins of A6. The chapter looks forward to working with him as closely as with Col. D'Ippolito and grow a relationship with local USAFE-AFAFRICA leadership.
Events throughout the TechExpo week included: Emerging Leaders Ice Breaker; HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA briefings to industry by directorates and local units; breakfast with Air Force chief information officer speaker; vendor hall with exhibits; educational TechTalks and the Annual AFCEA Chapter 158 Golf Tournament for STEM. The head cart that led the tournament's shotgun start included Long-Past USAFE A6: Maj. Gen. John Maluda, USAF; Previous A6: Col. Jon Sutherland, USAF (Ret.); Present A6: Col. D'Ippolito; and Future A6: Col. Delgado. Throughout the event, the chapter spotlighted what it meant to be a chapter member and an AFCEA member overall. Also, discussion of STEM was highlighted. Next month, the chapter will showcase its Cycle for STEM Team and Program as the group rides through the vineyards and along the hills of the German countryside during the first week of August!