By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
“We’re bringing people what they want but also shaking it up a bit,” says Elizabeth Harm, the new Executive Director of the Energy, Technology and Environmental Business Association (ETEBA).
She’s referring to the upcoming “Business Opportunities and Technical Conference” (BOTC) that begins its three-day run on October 4. It will be the organization’s 23rd annual conference but its first since Harm assumed the role of Executive Director in March. She’s a South Carolina native who spent the past seven years in various roles at Savannah River National Laboratory.
Originally formed in 1989 as the Oak Ridge Waste Management Association, ETEBA today is a national non-profit trade association representing approximately 170 small, large and mid-sized companies and affiliate members that provide environmental, technology, energy, engineering, construction and related services to government and commercial clients.
“The audience for these events is those wanting to learn about opportunities,” Harm explains, noting those opportunities are with government agencies and prime contractors in the energy, environmental and defense markets. Between 500 and 600 people from 30 states are expected to attend the conference at the Knoxville Convention Center.
Leading up to this year’s BOTC, Harm said ETEBA hosted regional forums in New Mexico and at Savannah River that drew about 200 people each.
“There’s a local spin on the agenda,” Harm says, citing a panel session titled “East Tennessee Opportunities” that kicks-off the final day. It will feature speakers from TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant and Clinch River Project, Kairos Power, TrisoX, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Other local executives on the program include: (1) Ken Rueter, President of UCOR, the Oak Ridge cleanup contractor; (2) Teresa Robbins, Manager, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Production Office; and (3) Laura Wilkerson, Acting Manager, Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management.
“We will be highlighting the region,” she adds, and credits her “great board” for its involvement in helping shape the agenda.
“We have an exciting addition this year,” she added. “The Environmental Management (EM) program in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asked to be a part of the 2022 BOTC.” The activities include a matchmaking session on October 6 as well as two “opportunity” sessions that afternoon. The matchmaking session is part of the overall conference, so individuals have to register for the full BOTC event if they want to participate.
The first day (October 4) involves ETEBA’s annual scholarship golf tournament and an opening reception. The next two days are devoted to a series of sessions starting on October 5 with a keynote address and two additional presentations early that morning. First up is Kelly Cummins, Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director, Clean Energy Programs, DOE, whose topic is “Business Opportunity in Clean Energy Programs.” She’ll be followed by Cortney Piper, Executive Director of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council who will speak about “Clean Energy Opportunities: Creating the Future of Business.”
The balance of October 5 will be devoted to four consecutive panels focused on these topics: (1) “Cleanup Opportunities Across the Nation”; (2) “Business Opportunities in Defense of Our Nation”; (3) “NNSA Major Infrastructure Opportunities”; and (4) “Workforce Initiatives – Recruiting and Retaining a Quality Workforce.” Day 2 ends with a networking social followed by a reception.
The third and final day is billed as “SmALL Business Thursday” and will be kicked-off by Dae Chung, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary in DOE’s Environmental Management Office of Corporate Services. In addition to the DOE EM matchmaking sessions that morning, there are also four panels: (1) “Doing Business in Canada”; (2) “Hot Topics: Challenges Facing the Industry”; and (3) two consecutive panels focused on “Prime and Sub-Contracting Opportunities” – one for the eastern half of the country followed by one for the western region.