Crane- Crane Regional Defense Group (CRDG) hosted its first Annual Stakeholder Meeting at WestGate Academy Friday, Sept. 8.
Programming included a Team Crane leadership panel, 2023 highlights and future plans for CRDG, and a keynote fireside chat with U.S. Senator Mike Braun.
CRDG President Kent Parisien hosted the event, sharing an overview of the organization’s accomplishments since its inception in 2020. Highlights included the successful Connect to Mission series, which has garnered over 350 attendees from at least 18 different states. Additionally, Parisien noted the increase in membership (60), with a new goal of reaching 80 members by the end of the year. The organization has also established the highly attended Crane Congressional Reception to accompany the annual Team Crane Congressional Breakfast every June in Washington D.C. and the event continues to grow.
“We’ve had tremendous success in our first three years,” said Parisien. “But we’re not ready to stop there. The more members we have, the more events we can offer and greater impact we can have on our regional defense ecosystem. We are prepared and excited to carry this momentum into 2024.”
Team Crane’s new slate of commanding officers, Colonel Franyate D. Taylor, Crane Army Ammunition Activity, Commander Luis G. Martinez, Naval Support Activity Crane and Captain Rex A. Boonyobhas, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, addressed the audience, to discuss current installation missions and initiatives, future plans and personal goals.
“The future is bright for the Army as we drive toward building the Crane of 2030,” said Col. Taylor. “We are fortunate to be making heavy investments into our facilities and equipment as part of the Army’s once-in-a-generation modernization strategy, as well as building in house talent and developing the next generation of leaders to support these efforts.”
Matt Craig, Director Crane Community Support at Radius Indiana, moderated the conversation with the theme of unity, collaboration and breaking down traditional barriers that exist to eliminate silos throughout the installation. “It is critical for the continued success and growth of the installation that we break down those traditional stove pipes and barriers of information and communications”, said Cmdr. Martinez. “In order to increase the collaboration and partnerships across our military missions and with our community partners, we will focus on developing our current and future workforce while communicating future requirements for infrastructure modernization which will benefit both the NSA Crane and the surrounding communities,” he concluded.
“One of the things that makes Team Crane great is the way the broader ecosystem works together to find new ways to support our missions,” said Capt. Boonyobhas. “One way to better support our missions is to continue strengthening the great foundation of partnerships that have been built over the years and look for new ways to collaborate, and I look forward to learning about the people that work at Crane and its surrounding community.”
The final session of the day featured U.S. Senator and candidate for Indiana Governor, Mike Braun. Craig led a fireside-style discussion with the Senator, welcoming him back to southern Indiana and covering his thoughts on the growing defense ecosystem in the region, as well as questions surrounding defense initiatives on both the local and federal level. Specifically, Braun was asked how he envisions leveraging Indiana assets, such as the Crane ecosystem and installation, to catalyze economic growth.
“This discussion was a great opportunity to talk about the important role Indiana plays in our nation’s defense and how we can leverage that role to grow Indiana’s economy,” said Senator Braun.
CRDG will host the final Connect to Mission event of 2023 Tuesday, November 7 at WestGate Academy and will feature NSWC Crane’s Business Departments. To learn more about CRDG, register for the next event, or become a member, visit craneregionaldefensegroup.org.