MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- A local group of communications, electronics, and information systems professionals held a chartering dinner Monday at the Merry Acres Restaurant in Albany.
The ceremony officially created the Southwest Georgia chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, and swore in the three chapter officers; William Torbert, president of the Southwest Georgia chapter; William Dodge, vice president; and John Palmer, secretary/treasurer.
Among the more than 40 participants at the dinner were Brig. Gen. Richard S. Kramlich, LogBases commander, who offered a few words on the AFCEA organization, and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. C. Norman Wood, who serves as chief executive officer and president of AFCEA International.
"AFCEA is designed to provide an ethical forum with partnership of governments, industry and academia, focused on information technology and national defense," said Wood.
"In my mind, organizations like this provide an avenue for innovation across all functional areas of the Department of Defense," said Kramlich.
AFCEA is a telecommunications and information technology society for professionals. It is open to anyone in the electronics or information technology field, including student memberships, said Torbert.
"This organization is ideal for career-minded people," he said. "It provides a forum for government and industry professionals to meet and discuss ideas. It is a very positive career move because it networks various organizations together."
According to Torbert, AFCEA is the most extensive international communications, intelligence and information systems network in the world.
It provides world-renowned conventions, conferences and symposia featuring an interchange of the latest communications, intelligence and information systems capabilities and requirements.
"The Albany chapter of AFCEA is important for three reasons," said Kramlich.
"One -- AFCEA is pertinent. This chapter will link the various aspects of information technology -- what Materiel Command is all about. This community will be better for it -- the business aspect, government aspect and the academic side of it.
"Two -- (AFCEA is) professional. There is a worldwide organization that provides a basis for career development.
"Three -- (AFCEA is) prospering. Scholarships will enable people to prosper. AFCEA also provides a fellowship program for high-qualified field-grade officers."
AFCEA has approximately 27,000 individual members and 12,000 corporate associates from government, military and industry.
There are more than 1,000 corporate sponsors, which represents the world's leading producers, manufacturers and users of communications, electronics, intelligence and information systems.
Corporate sponsors in Albany include Advanced Engineering and Research Associates Incorporated, Darton College and Miller Brewing Company.
There are more than 30 international chapters of AFCEA, and almost 100 in the continental United States. The Albany chapter is the 139th chapter to be inducted, and the fourth Marine Corps chapter.
Others include one at Quantico, Va., that is focused on the Marine Corps University; one at Camp Pendleton, Calif., that is focused on tactical support systems activity; and one at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Three other AFCEA chapters already exist in Georgia, making Southwest Georgia the fourth. A chapter is located in Atlanta, Augusta at Fort Gordon, and at Warner Robins.
"Georgia is well-represented with AFCEA international," said Jim Coleman, regional vice president of AFCEA international. "Last year, all three (existing Georgia chapters) were named 'Model Chapter of the Year.'"
"There is no set standard for a chapter," said Wood. "All activity is at the local level. The success of the chapter lies with local support."
Although the Southwest Georgia chapter will meet independently of the other chapters in the state, an international network is in place for sharing and discussing ideas. AFCEA provides various international events such as conventions, expositions and conferences throughout the United States, Canada and various European cities.
Chapter activities include meetings, featuring technical expert and government, military and industry leaders in communication, intelligence and information systems; technical symposia and conferences; opportunities to interact with professional contemporaries; and other activities focusing on information exchange.
AFCEA also strongly supports international academia.
"We are about education," said Wood. "The extra money we have goes into a treasury for the community."
AFCEA hosts fundraisers and programs to raise money for scholarships for local students.
"Last year, AFCEA gave away over $1 million in scholarships and awards," said Wood.
To become a member of the Southwest Georgia AFCEA chapter, call Bill Torbert at 639-5313.
For more information on AFCEA, visit http://www.afcea.org.