Daniel DeVos announced his retirement from the chairman position and welcomed Ed Sheehan Jr. as his replacement during a press conference hosted by Johnstown Area Regional Industries and the Greater Johnstown-Cambria County Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown on Friday.
Sheehan also replaced DeVos as president and CEO of Concurrent Technologies Corp. in Richland Township when he retired at the end of 2008.
“Showcase is in very capable hands. I know Ed to be a true community leader who will be extremely proactive in shaping Showcase for the future,” DeVos said.
He estimated that more than $3 billion worth of defense contracts have been issued, thousands of jobs created and more than 100 new companies have been relocated or started in the region since the start of the event.
“Over the last 20 years it’s just been a great privilege for me to chairman Showcase,” DeVos said. “The Showcase and the economic development associated with technology and defense technology really is the new basis for the economy in this region. I’m very pleased to have been involved with that in a number of ways.”
Sheehan said he would continue a strong tradition as the new chairman. His first major announcement was the addition of Program Executive Officers briefings to the format. The officers are high-ranking governmental and military officials in charge of the military’s product acquisition process.
“The PEO briefings will add a whole new dimension to Showcase. The high profile of these individuals within the industry will add even more value to participating companies and draw interest from new companies,” Sheehan said.
The Showcase will be moved to June 6-8 this year. That means a Monday start for an event that traditionally ended on Friday. Organizers moved the event to coincide with the June 6 start of the House of Representatives summer recess, Sheehan said.
U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, said that several congressmen, including Norm Dicks, D-Wash., the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Defense, and Adam Smith, D-Wash., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, have committed to attend the event.
Dicks attended his first Showcase last year when he was chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
“This region has so much strength and offers so much not only in the defense but industry-wide that what you’re going to see is another showcase that lives on its own,” Critz said. “These companies are still coming because there’s still business to be done here.”
JARI President Linda Thomson said that more than 170 exhibitors and 2,000 people are expected to attend the event.
“Thousands of jobs are created and retained because of the relationships that are maintained each year at Showcase,” Thomson said. “This is incredibly important to our region. This is the one chance we get every year to showcase ourselves to companies throughout the world about what it is to do business in Johnstown.”
Major sponsors of Showcase include BAE Systems, Boeing, Crown American Hotels, CTC, DRS Technologies, General Dynamics, Kongsberg, Latrobe Specialty Steel Co., Lockheed Martin and Wessel & Co.
More information is available online at www.johnstownchamber.com/showcase.