Things at NAATBatt International are always pretty busy.  But this past week has seen series of developments within the organization, each of which could warrant its own Executive Director’s notes column.  Consistent with the way this week has gone, I will try to squeeze them all in here.

New Director of Meetings

I am pleased to welcome this week NAATBatt’s new Director of Meetings:  Paula Szyper.  Paula is a nearly 20-year veteran of the meetings and convention industry.  Prior to joining us earlier this week, Paula organized meetings and conventions for the American Hospital Association and the Young President’s Organization.  She is a member of the Professional Convention Management Association and several other professional association management groups.

Paula’s principal focus will be the 2016 annual meeting in Indian Wells on February 29-March 3, 2016.  NAATBatt has done a great job, for a group of meeting amateurs, building our annual meetings into unique, interesting and increasingly profitable programs.  With an “adult in the room”, I am confident we can take NAATBatt programming to the next level.  I hope you will all get the chance to meet Paula soon and welcome her to our organization.

NAATBatt SD Survey

As previously announced in this column, NAATBatt International will sponsor the formation of a new group within NAATBatt dedicated to funding cooperating, pre-competitive research on technology and market data that is of mutual interest to participating members.  A cooperative funding vehicle will help our members cost share on expenditures that they currently must each bear in full and in duplicate or forego entirely because of expense.  NAATBatt SD will offer a new solution.  In addition, as a consortium, NAATBatt SD will be in an excellent position relative to individual companies to apply for match funding from government agencies and private foundations.

The NAATBatt SD survey, which was sent out yesterday to the principal NAATBatt contacts at each of our member firms, will help NAATBatt identify the initial topics and areas of interest around with NAATBatt SD will form its first research projects.  Please take a look at the survey (check your junk mail folder, as the survey was sent by Survey Monkey and may have ended up there) and complete it in order to indicate what sort of projects, if any, your company might be willing to support.  I will be reaching out to responding members over the next few weeks to finalize the precise identity and nature of the initial research projects.

A special thanks to Jaime Navarrete of Crown Battery for his work on the Survey Monkey survey and to our President, Davion Hill, and the other members of the NAATBatt SD committee.  If your company is a NAATBatt member and you have an interest in getting involved in NAATBatt SD or ideas as to possible NAATBatt SD projects, please contact me.

Members Site Visit Meeting at BIC-NSA Crane

This week also saw the official announcement of the next NAATBatt Members Site Visit Meeting at Battery Innovation Center (BIC) and NSA Crane Naval base in southern Indiana on Thursday, November 12 (see: Event Registration).  This program will be particularly interesting.  NAATBatt will rent a bus, which will depart from the Crowne Plaza hotel adjacent to the Indianapolis International Airport, for the full day trip down to BIC and NSA Crane and back with a stop, of course, for a networking dinner at one of the best restaurants in Bloomington, Indiana (the Uptown Café).  The bus only holds 55.  So when I say that space is limited; sign up soon, I really mean it.

BIC is a dedicated 40,000 sq. ft. testing facility for batteries and smart grid equipment with existing relationships, among others, with Duke Energy and UL LLC.  NSA Crane is, amazingly considering its Southern Indiana location, the third largest U.S. naval base in the world and the central battery testing facility for the U.S. Navy.  Through its new relationship with BIC, NSA Crane will be making some of its testing facilities available to private industry on a contract basis.  This is the first time that an industry group has been invited onto the base to see what those facilities are and what opportunities for private companies there might be.

An important note:  NSA Crane retains the right to deny admission to the base to non-U.S. citizens.  NAATBatt members who are not U.S. citizens must register for the visit by October 1, 2015, in order to apply for admission.  Attendees who cannot be accommodated will wait at BIC during the NSA Crane portion of the tour.

Next week should be pretty active too (among other things, registration for the annual meeting should open), so keep an eye on your e-mail and on www.naatbatt.org.