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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

ACQUIRE taps astronaut-wife team as keynote speakers

The husband and wife team of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly will be the keynote speakers June 9 as part of our ACQUIRE trade show in Washington.

As I’ve written before, ACQUIRE is a two-day conference for government, military and contractors looking for training, education and professional development. The conference and trade show are focused on the entire lifecycle of the acquisition process.

Giffords and Kelly will be the keynotes on day two of the event and will talk about how they overcame a horrible tragedy.

Giffords is the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the face by an assassin at an event with constituents in 2011. Kelly is a former astronaut and Navy captain. He flew 39 combat missions in Iraq and Kuwait during the first Gulf War. As an astronaut, he flew on four space shuttle missions. He also has been in the news a lot lately as his twin brother and fellow astronaut Scott Kelly recently returned from the International Space Station after a year in orbit.

Giffords spent six years in congress as well as serving previously in the Arizona legislature.

After the Jan. 9, 2011 shooting, Giffords and Kelly faced a tremendous challenge to overcome her wounds and somehow return to a normal and productive life. Their journey is chronicled in the book they wrote, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, which became a bestseller.

They’ll bring a message of hope, courage and survival. According to their bio: “Giffords and Kelly bring audiences inside their journey, motivating individuals to overcome any challenge they face, and to be passionate, be courageous and be their best.”

What I like about these two as the keynote is that while few of us have personal stories as dramatic as theirs, we all face adversity.

And a message of overcoming adversity is an important one for the government, including contractors. It pains me at times to see how the government sector has come under attack in recent years.

Yes, there are bad actors and inefficiencies and silly rules and regulations, but by and large, the people working day after day in the government are dedicated public servants. And dedication to public service applies to contractors as well.

The government does a lot of great things, but generally only gets attention for the things that go wrong.

So, I think Giffords’ and Kelly’s message will resonate with many because of its focus on mission, success and family. I know they'll have my attention.

Click here for information on the ACQUIRE show

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 03, 2016 at 10:23 AM


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