Greetings from San Jose and the ASPA Conference… this is Day # 2 for me and WOW!! What a beginning we had today. This morning at 7:00am the First Time Attendees and New Member event started and it was a GREAT SUCCESS!!! Jeannie Jeffries as usual did a fabulous job with creating an exciting and welcoming event. The room was full with first time attendees, long-time ASPA volunteers/leaders, ALL of the ASPA Officers and even our new Vice President elect. Also, there was a great buffet always the best topper for an event. Thank you to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation for sponsoring this important event. This is the first impression to our attendees and the greetings from the ASPA Leadership, the welcoming from all in the room and the fun raffles are a great way to introduce all to the experience of an ASPA Conference.
After the breakfast the Opening Plenary Session began – it was one of the best I have attended in years. I had an opportunity to say hello to John Berry in the hallway as he is from the DC area and has participated in the North Capitol Area Chapter (NCAC) events. He is a Maxwell School MPA graduate and long-time member of ASPA. The San Jose Color Guard opened our ceremony with bringing in both the American Flag and the California State flag. We listened to the National Anthem, said the Pledge of Allegiance and then heard “O Beautiful” sung by a member of the arm services. This was a great start to the Public Service discussion presented by the speakers.
Paul Posner opened with his words about the theme of this year’s conference “Invigorating Public Service for Change”. This is the 70th Anniversary for ASPA and change has been what has kept us going. Paul discussed his awesome experience as President and how many great, smart and dedicated people he has met and how they energize him to create change in ASPA. Mayor Chuck Reed spoke and welcomed the attendees as well as gave us some history on the city and the work of the people in Silicon Valley – the birthplace of innovative thought. In the next century, this will be the center for Clean Technology. He asked us to do two things – spend all our money in the great venues around town and use the great brain power here to create a “White Paper” that can help fix the great problems this state is facing.
John Berry spoke next and it was invigorating. He spoke about the steps that have been made to make the HR process for the Federal Government efficient and effective. He also inspired us with his closing remarks about creating the next generation of Public Service leaders lies within this organization and he is expecting great things from us to assist with the future of the Federal Government.
I don’t know about how others in ASPA feel, but I am ready to take on this charge and being here assists me with taking that energy home to make the field of Public Administration the best field. I also attended the National Council meeting and took a picture of Jose Louis Irizarry, the first Student Representative on the National Council, as well as our leaders at work. Well, I am off to the welcome reception. So long until my next blog entry – thanks.