Presidents, the Beatles, and the Federal Project Delivery Symposium

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Presidents, the Beatles, and the Federal Project Delivery Symposium

by Andrew Ausel  |  July 15, 2015

On August 18th-20th, the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) will host the annual Federal Project Delivery Symposium at the Omni Shoreham Hotel for an invaluable collaborative event. Whether it’s the exposure to federal officials or the lessons learned from best practices and stories shared, the Federal Symposium is rich with opportunity around each corner. The Omni Shoreham Hotel is no stranger to providing a fulfilling experience to its guests. A long-time host of presidential inaugural balls and many priceless political moments, the Omni Shoreham draws guests each year interested in experiencing Washington D.C. at a whole new level. As the Federal Project Delivery Symposium seeks to do much of the same for its attendees, we think it appropriate to discuss this event through highlighting some of the Omni’s greatest moments.

Omni fact: As an iconic getaway for Washington D.C. elite, the Omni Shoreham has long been a host to the President of the United States. Since its relocation in the 1930’s the hotel has been the host of every presidential inauguration ball since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. The walls soaked with history, the hotel underwent renovations to accommodate the needs of President Roosevelt that year and was the location of Bill Clinton’s famous saxophone performance during his inauguration night.

Federal symposium: While we do not anticipate an appearance by the President, his administration will definitely be represented at the symposium. In 2014, representatives from the Departments of Energy, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security attended the symposium. In fact, the attendance of public agencies is often a top highlight of the event by its attendees who enjoy the exposure and networking with high level personnel. George Lewis of Broward County, FL attended the 2014 symposium and reflected that he “was able to network with various leaders from various governmental entities and learn from their experiences.” Currently set to attend this year’s conference are industry leaders and government agency personnel representing the likes of the General Services Administration, NASA, the National Guard, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Commerce, Department of State and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Construction & Facilities Management. Around 20 percent of the event’s attendees are expected to represent government agencies.

Omni Fact: The hotel famously hosted “executive forums” (if you will) that allowed local politicians to interact candidly with the President. According to hotel history, the hotel was a favorite spot for Senator Stuart Symington from Missouri who was known to host President Harry Truman for all-night poker games in the late 1940’s.

Federal symposium: The federal symposium will hold executive forums of a different sort (sorry folks, no poker). The executive forums give attendees a chance to interact with senior executives from the federal government including uniformed services and the private sector. The executive forums this year include discussions on project delivery of industrial control systems with a focus on cyber security; collaboration to deliver solutions to benefit federal government engineers; and the future of delivery models and practices for net zero energy and water. These sessions require preregistration due to limited seating, but garner rave reviews each year. Benjamin Davis of US Army Core of Engineers – Kansas City shared that he enjoyed last year’s symposium because of the opportunity to, “hear about new and exciting stories in design-build in the Federal Sector,” and that he was, “able to take those stories back to my agency and let them know of another way to execute our mission.” While no winnings will be collected from the Commander-in-Chief as in the days of President Truman, there is still much to be gained from this valuable face time with public officials.

Omni Fact: It was February 11, 1964; the Beatles were set to perform for the first time on American soil, and the Omni Shoreham was proud to play host. During their stay, the band stayed in Room 625 and used freight elevators to avoid the swaths of hopeful fans attempting to catch a glimpse of the four iconic British pop stars. Forever preserving the history of this legendary encounter, John Lennon jotted down the set list of the 12 songs the band would play that evening on hotel stationary – a copy of which remains publically available in the hotel’s lobby today.

Federal Symposium: Also publically available, while admittedly to much less fanfare, is our “set list” for the Symposium! The initiation of the three day event will begin on Monday, August 17th, with a pre-conference course titled Developing an Effective Acquisition Strategy. This course will be taught by Craig Unger, DBIA, Unger Security Solutions LLC. The Keynote Address, sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, will be held the next day Tuesday, August 18th which will officially kick off the festivities and feature a panel discussion with USACE and GSA on their recent projects. The Wednesday to follow is full of breakout sessions sorted into four tracks to highlight: best practices, innovation, or case studies and a specific track designated to our executive forums. While Paul McCartney failed to return any of my calls for an appearance at the symposium, I can assure you that the set list for our performance in Washington D.C. will not disappoint. Take a look at our schedule for yourself!

We are excited to host the Federal Symposium this year at such an iconic hotel and hope to see you there. Registration can be completed online or by downloading a PDF form from our website. The Advanced registration rate is valid until August 10. We look forward to sharing this special event and venue with you as you gain an experience that will enrich both you and your organization.