Admiral William McRaven

The Manufacturer & Business Association Board of Governors is honored and pleased to announce that retired U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McRaven will be the keynote speaker at our 116th Annual Event. McRaven, a four-star admiral, is one of the most decorated and inspiring U.S. commanders. He has exceptional leadership experiences, and we look forward to hearing his lessons and insights on the force of teamwork and personal initiative, resilience in the face of opposition, accountability and the unconditional importance of never giving up.

During his time in the military, McRaven commanded special operations forces at every level, eventually taking charge of the U.S. Special Operations Command. His career included combat during Desert Storm and both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He commanded the troops that captured Saddam Hussein and rescued cargo ship skipper Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates in 2009. McRaven is also credited with developing the plan and leading the Osama bin Laden mission in 2011.

During his time as chancellor of the University of Texas (UT) System, McRaven led one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems of higher education. McRaven also is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and other U.S. leaders on defense issues.

McRaven has been recognized for his leadership numerous times. In 2015, he received the Intrepid Freedom Award for his distinguished service in defending the values of democracy. In 2016, McRaven was named the recipient of the Ambassador Richard M. Helms Award by the CIA Officers’ Memorial Foundation and, in 2018, he received the Judge William H. Webster Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime of service to the nation.

McRaven graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1977 with a degree in journalism and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1991. He is the author of three books including, SPEC OPS: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare and Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe the World, based on his 2014 UT Commencement Speech that received worldwide attention. His third book, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, released in May 2019, is a memoir full of inspiring and action-packed stories from McRaven's life in the special operations world.

You are cordially invited to attend our Annual Event, which will take place at 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie. Given the number of reservations that rolled over from last year’s postponed event, we encourage those interested in attending the 2021 program to make your reservations as soon as possible.

We look forward to an unforgettable evening together and appreciate your continued participation.


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