49th Symposium Letter from NNOA President’s Desk
September 12, 2021
Greetings NNOA Shipmates, Family, and Friends!
Another outstanding NNOA Symposium is passed and opening! Bravo Zulu to all who organized, led, participated, and provided technical support! I offer a special thanks to LtCol Khalilah Thomas, USMC for her phenomenal leadership from start to finish as our Symposium Chairperson. Over 360 attendees heard speakers and panelists that included all three Sea Service Chiefs and many others. New offerings such as our first ever Senior Executive Service Panel was an unqualified success. Bravo Zulu to all!
As part of our tradition, I provided an NNOA Year in Review to the general body. Many were not able to attend but we did record it. Please take time to listen to it and send any comments. You can also open it inside our website. Send your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I assure you I will read them all.
Let me also take a moment to welcome (or welcome back) our new leadership for NNOA:
- Executive VP: Colonel Quintin D. Jones, USMC
- Treasurer: LCDR Bea Henderson, USN (Ret.)
- Veterans Rep: CDR Ernie Taylor, USN (Ret.)
- Public Relations Officer: Capt Larry Boyd, USMC
- Eastern Region VP: Major Matt Bowman, USMC
- Central Region VP: CDR Stacey O’Neal, USN
- Western Region VP: CAPT Kevin Reed, USCG
As I take a three-point fix on our organization, it is clear that NNOA is in a good place. Financially, we are sound, thanks to the great work of our treasurer Bea Henderson. Our membership continues to be very solid with over 1000 shipmates and growing – thank you Tremayne Williams our Membership Chair. And our reputation as an organization is well respected by the leaders of our Sea Services, NOAA, Public Health Service and MARAD. This is due to the work of the many at the chapter and national level. NNOA members are engaging Sea Service leadership over important issues and representing our organization well. Bottomline, we are squarely in the center of the channel and making way. As an “old SWO” I know where we have been and where we are now is not as important as where we are headed. I have a few thoughts but really need to hear from you – especially those on Active Duty, Reservists still serving, and Government Service members still in the fight. We Veteran’s have demonstrated our commitment and will continue to do so under the leadership of Ernie Taylor and others, but the future of NNOA is about those still serving. I need to know what is on your heart and mind.
There are many initiatives already underway in OUR NNOA. Here are just a few:
- NNOA turns 50 years young in 2022. We will be holding our symposium in person and back where it all started in Annapolis, Maryland starting July 25, 2022. We will put out the link for registration early. Please don’t wait to until the last minute to register your attendance. CAPT Robert Dews, USN (Retired) is our Symposium Chairperson. He is looking for volunteers. Please let him know if you are willing to support the effort in any way. CAPT Rick Wright, USN (Retired) Phd is our NNOA Historian. He is looking for volunteers as well. He is also requesting your NNOA photos, artifacts, and memories to help him put together our 50 year journey into a proper historical perspective.
- NNOA Logo Contest. We have conducted a small sample survey and there appears to be some who believe that our logo needs to be updated. I am sure there are also those who are more traditional in perspective and love our current symbol. With this in mind, we have launched a contest to see what ideas are out there for a new logo and will reveal it during our 50th symposium for vote.
- NNOA Roster and Membership Roles need to be updated. Many of us have changed email addresses, ranks, retired, or moved. The only way for NNOA to keep up with you, is with your help. Often, we are seeing members fail to renew membership and then tell me that it just slipped their minds. I understand, as it has happened to me before I became a life member. No worries! This is an easy fix but I need your help. I ask all to do two things:
- I need each of you to review their status and contact information in NNOA.
- I need each of you to renew their membership and spread the word to others.
- NNOA Foundation. We are modernizing our platform, our processes, and our infrastructure. Having been a member of NNOA since 1988 and served as your president since 2018, I have seen the ups and the downs of NNOA over the years. We are on a good pace right now, but we will not be able to continue meeting the needs of our members and the Sea Service leaders without a more stable financial foundation. We have gotten about all the juice we can out of an all-volunteer organization but need a modest investment in infrastructure to take NNOA to the next level. In the coming weeks, you will be hearing more from me and others regarding this new initiative.
- NNOA Diversity Strategy (NDS). VADM Kevin Scott, USN (Retired) has the deck and the conn on moving our NDS from PowerPoint to reality. He is already in flight making an impact with leadership. There are a few who have signed on to help, but more will be needed. Stay tuned.
In summary, the state of NNOA is sound. We have much to cherish about where we have come and what we can do moving forward. We have many irons in the fire, but I need you, our membership on board and in the fight to make our NNOA stronger and responsive to the call of recruitment, training, retention, and diversity. I close with two very important question for you – Where do we go from here and will you help us? . Remember, “we are stronger together.”
Sinclair Harris, RADM USN (Retired), President, NNOA