Robert Gates Tapped as National Association of Convenience Stores Show Closing Speaker
July 15, 2014
Dr. Robert Gates, former secretary of defense and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been tapped as a closing general session speaker at the NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores )Show, which takes place Oct. 7-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Gates served as the 22nd secretary of defense from 2006 to 2011 under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. “Dr. Gates will deliver a compelling behind-the-scenes view of world events over the past quarter century, as well as the context for how current affairs could affect and reshape our political and retail landscape,” said NACS Vice Chairman of Convention Jack Kofdarali, president of J&T Management Company Inc. in Corona, Calif. He added, “From the ever-changing landscape in the Middle East, specifically, Iran, to security and defense issues like drones, Dr. Gates will address some of the most significant events in the world today.” Gates is the only defense secretary in U.S. history to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected president. In 2011, President Obama awarded Gates the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. In 1966, Gates began his 27-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as an intelligence professional. During that period, he spent nearly nine years as part of the White House’s National Security Council, serving four presidents of both political parties. Gates served as CIA deputy director from 1986 to 1989 and as assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser at the White House from 1989 to 1991. He served as director of the agency from 1991 until 1993 — the only career officer in CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director. Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal and the the Presidential Citizens Medal, and is a three-time recipient of both the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s highest award. His book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War”, was published earlier this year. NACS announced earlier this year that author and journalist David H. Freedman is a keynote speaker Oct. 8 for the opening general session. Freedman is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and at Inc. Magazine, a contributor to Scientific American and a consulting editor for Johns Hopkins Medicine International. He is the author of five books, the most recent being “WRONG”, about the problems with the published findings of medical scientists and other experts. Much of his current work addresses obesity, nutrition and health-related behavioral change. This year’s NACS Show features 400,000 net square feet of sold out exhibit space. Attendees also will have three days of general sessions and 65 educational sessions, as well as training sessions for small operators with five stores or less. Reflecting the growing international scope of the NACS Show, the general sessions will be once again translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, and select educational sessions will be translated into Portuguese and Spanish.
As event professionals, our job is to host people and while we can’t prepare for everything, it’s essential to develop an emergency plan that can be adapted to any situation. In Boston, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority’s (MCCA) Public Safety Team at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) and the Hynes Convention Center, have taken their experiences to develop a comprehensive crisis management training program, starting with crisis communications.