President’s Desk

INFORMS goes to Washington, Part II

Inaugural INFORMS Government & Analytics Summit set for May 21

Nicholas G. Hall
INFORMS President

Nicholas G. Hall

In my February column, I discussed several components of INFORMS’ 2018 Visibility and Awareness initiatives. Among these components is INFORMS’ inaugural “Policy Day” event in Washington, D.C. This column provides additional and updated information about that event.

INFORMS has a great story to share about how Washington can work more efficiently and more effectively by better leveraging O.R. and analytics and the expertise of our members. We are excited to be planning this event, which will take place on May 21 at Top of the Hill, a great conference facility that is literally across the street from the U.S. Capitol.

Working with our consultants at Signal Group, the “Policy Day” concept has been rebranded as the “INFORMS 2018 Government & Analytics Summit.” We believe that this creates a brand that will attract the interest of our target audience. This audience includes policymakers, congressional and administration staff, as well as the policy-oriented media in Washington. We are also including the tagline “Saving Lives, Saving Money, Solving Problems.” This new theme will be woven prominently into INFORMS’ overall visibility and awareness activities.

Signal Group has been working to develop an agenda and panel topics that align INFORMS’ expertise with areas of great interest to the policy community, and also to secure high-profile keynote speakers.

Event Structure and Panels

The 2018 Summit will be a half-day event to accommodate the availability and work demands of our target audiences. The morning will feature two keynote speakers, followed by three concurrent panel discussions. The panel discussion topics are: national security, healthcare and transportation. Since we are planning similar events for 2019 and 2020, there will be a chance to explore several other topics later. A networking lunch will conclude the event.

The Summit planning committee has asked INFORMS Fellows and subdivision leaders to recommend panelists and moderators – INFORMS members who not only are experts in the three topics we are focused on, but who are also dynamic public speakers with an ability to engage with non-technical audience members.

These recommendations will then be provided to Signal Group, which will make the final choices to ensure that we have panelists for the Summit who are the best possible match for our target audience. If you have suggested names for panelists, please provide that information quickly to an INFORMS Fellow or a subdivision leader.

We are confident that these panels will establish a robust case for the value of O.R. and analytics in solving important problems in these three topics. However, in the fluid environment of Washington, great panel content alone may not draw busy staff away from their primary obligations in order to attend the Summit. That is why securing premier keynote speakers has been an important focus for Signal Group, and we are thrilled with the results.

Keynote Speakers

I am delighted to announce that the Summit will feature two prominent former leaders in Washington.

Our first keynote speaker of the Summit will be Anthony Foxx, who served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation (2013-2017). He previously served as the mayor of Charlotte, N.C. (2009-2013). The scheduled title of Secretary Foxx’s talk is, “Beyond Traffic: How Operations Research and Analytics are Driving the Emergence of the Connected City.”

Our second keynote Summit speaker will be Gen. Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general who served as director of the National Security Agency (1999-2005) and as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2006-2009). Gen. Hayden also served as the country’s first principal deputy director of national intelligence (2005-2006), the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country. The scheduled title of Gen. Hayden’s talk is, “The Importance of Data Analytics and Operations Research in Government and Defense.”

INFORMS is honored that Secretary Foxx and Gen. Hayden have agreed to participate in the INFORMS 2018 Government & Analytics Summit. It is rare that government leaders of their prominence participate in events of this type. This marks an important step in INFORMS’ Visibility and Awareness initiatives.

For the latest information and updates about the Summit, visit or join the INFORMS Connect group by searching on “Connect for INFORMS 2018 Government & Analytics Summit.”
As always, feel free to contact me at with any questions or ideas about the Summit or other ways INFORMS can continue to promote and support the success of our members.