Hail & Farewell Celebration!

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Dr. Bob Wolff and Bill Bersson

At times each poignant, inspiring and humorous, many reaches of the SAME family gathered October 30 to hail Brig. Gen. Joe Schroedel, F.SAME, USA (Ret.), the Society’s new Executive Director, and bid a fond and gracious farewell to Dr. Bob Wolff, F.SAME, who served 12 years as “SAME XD,” taking the organization to new heights in terms of professional development, national relevance and financial stability.

Distinguished guests, including the engineering service chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Public Health Service, the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs and other members of the West Point Class of ’65, a number of past national presidents of the Society, many SAME Fellows, national and Post officers, family and friends and SAME HQ staff, joined together to recognize Joe and Bob, and the contributions SAME as an organization and its membership make to national security, and to the professional and personal development of its members.

Jennifer Fogg, F.SAME, served as emcee, shepherding the program through introductory toasts including one from a classmate in Dr. Wolff’s West Point Class of ’65, presentations and speeches, including from Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, F.SAME, USA (Ret.), and of course, from the evening’s two honorees.

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SAME Executive Director Joe Schroedel

Gen. Schroedel, who took the reins as executive director in August, emphasized the role SAME and its members can play in the broader context of national security, not just the national defense, and why selflessness for America should be something we all aspire to.

Gen. Schroedel’s experience makes him well suited for his role as SAME XD, with 34 years in the U.S. Army, several years working for SAME Sustaining Member firm Parsons Brinckerhoff as well as service as a adjunct professor at George Mason University, mentoring the next generation of A/E/C professionals. Joe galvanized the attendees to bring SAME to new heights and be “the society of choice for public sector engineers.” Joe joined SAME in 1990. He has been an RVP, was Founder and inaugural President of the Baghdad Post, and was invested into the Academy of Fellows in 2013.

The evening included presentations that brought great memories of the last 12 years and also some good-natured levity. SAME National President John Mogge, F.SAME, presented Dr. Wolff with the “Book of Bob,” a yearbook of sorts cataloging through photographs and quotes from SAME members Dr. Wolff’s impact on the Society through his years of leadership. South Atlantic Regional Vice President Bill Bersson, F.SAME, presented Bob with a gift from all 18 regions of SAME—a framed collection of all the regional coins, including the newest region, California. Lt. Gen. Tom Bostick, USA, U.S. Army Chief of Engineers, presented to Bob the Commander’s Award for Public Service and to Bob and his wife Phyllis, a crystal engineer castle from the Corps of Engineers in recognition of Bob and Phyllis’ support of STEM and mentoring future engineers. 

The evening’s pièce de résistance, however, may just have been the travels of Flat Bob! The SAME HQ staff, in conjunction with the RVPs, sent “Flat Bob” around the globe to visit with SAME Posts, attend conferences, meetings, golf tournaments and volunteer events. Tracing along a map of the world, the Flat Bob photo slideshow exemplified the tremendous reach SAME has worldwide and throughout the United States in supporting military engineering through its 105 Posts and more than 50 Student Chapters.

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LTG Tom Bostick, Chief of Engineers, with Phyllis and Bob Wolff

Dr. Wolff has been an SAME member for 31 years. Before becoming Executive Director, his volunteer positions included Washington DC Post President and two times a member of the SAME National Board of Direction. He was invested into the Academy of Fellows in 1995. Dr. Wolff, in his farewell speech, thanked the countless people, at the Post, regional and national level who have helped over the last dozen years shape SAME into the 29,000-plus member organization it is today, ready to ascend to new heights. Dr. Wolff also alluded to the many who have come before in leading SAME in its first 94 years.

With the Hail & Farewell complete, SAME can now look ahead to another major celebration just a few years awaythe Society’s Centennial in 2020. To view more photos from the event, visit SAME’s Flickr page.