December Chairman’s Message

Colleagues and Friends:

The seasons have changed in the Kingdom; the weather is cooler, our own holiday season is roaring into the picture, and other changes are taking place! As is always the case here in the Kingdom, people come and go and the ABGR general membership body is no exception. We have a lot of new faces intermingled with the veterans and with this comes changes to the Board of Directors!

It is a real pleasure to announce our newest members of the Board, serving as interim Directors until elections next May. Please extend your own welcome to Kevin Darnell of Raytheon, Brad Jones of Boeing, and Ed Munter of Marriott! Our Bylaws require a Board of 15 Directors and I am personally delighted with their addition to the leadership team. By all means, lean on them! Additionally, a veteran of the board, and long time ABGR member, John Spitz departed in November for home. His humor and common sense influence will be missed and we all wish John a very warm and grateful farewell!

Also, and rather sadly, after four years of creative service and superb performance as our ABGR Office/Operations Manager, Christy Roe has advised me that she too will be changing her role in ABGR the end of December.  Christy is stepping down from her position of leadership with us in order to focus upon family.  Christy Roe created the management construct and processes that have made our operations group incredibly successful and effective.  In so many ways, Christy has defined our organization and made folks like me look much better and more organized than deserved.  Fortunately, she does not go very far and will still be around helping out and volunteering on occasion as her new priorities allow.  There are no words to express adequate thanks for Christy’s immense contributions.  She leaves shoes that are tough to fill.  But somehow, Christy recruited a superb bunch.  We are delighted to welcome Claire Bridge to the Operations team.  She will initially take on the Sector Committee support role and from what I have seen, she will not stop there!  Claire is a great add and most welcome!

On a rather bitter-sweet note, Maura and I too must take this opportunity to bid you all farewell. I will be moving my role for General Dynamics Land Systems to the Company Headquarters in Michigan in early December. Fortunately, Dan Cagle, standing ‘Ex-Officio’ Board Member and former Chairman, has agreed to step in to lead the Board through the balance of this season so our team will not miss a beat and operations will continue smoothly as always. I will hand the gavel to Dan on 30 November, grateful at his stepping up!

As my tenure as Chairman comes to a close, my warm regard for this special organization, the ABGR, and its members, as well as our US Embassy partners and Saudi hosts here in the Kingdom certainly continues. The ABGR is our island of America in this part of the world!  Relationships brought me back to the Kingdom after military service.  The ABGR made our re-entry to Riyadh smoother and warmer (ambient temperature not withstanding) and my tenure as Chairman has been a great pleasure!  These same relationships will go on and serve as the reason for my future visits to Saudi Arabia.

Change really ends nothing, it is merely a constructive means of continuation and growth! Wishing you all a safe and wonderful Holiday Season this year, and a prosperous future wherever life takes you! Farewell!!

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