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General Session

Monday, October 31

9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Allan GuthrieNormal-ish...the New Normal...a Post-COVID World (whatever you call it) joined forces with Infrastructure Spending, Supply Chain Issues, Inflation, and Employee Shortages to make for a topsy-turvey year for STAFDA members. STAFDA President, Allan Guthrie, will discuss how the Association’s members are managing the out-of-the-ordinary challenges facing them. Outgoing Board of Directors and Liaison Committee members also will be recognized for their service and dedication during the General Session program.

Jude NosekJude Nosek, Vice President-Marketing and New Product Development, for Keson LLC, Aurora, IL, will be STAFDA’s Associate State-of-the-Industry Speaker. Founded in 1968 by Jude’s grandfather, Roy Nosek (the company name is the family name spelled backwards), Keson has weathered more than 50 years, growing stronger and more relevant to those who need measuring and marking products. The greatest challenge to date came with the joining of Austria-based SOLA products with Keson Levels to form Keson LLC and the subsequent introduction into the North American market. Jude worked with teams on both sides of the Atlantic to help craft an offering, compose messaging, and launch the next phase of Keson’s evolution, balancing the needs of both brands under one company’s offering.


Bear Grylls
British extreme adventurer and wilderness survivalist, Bear Grylls, will discuss Resilience & Overcoming Obstacles during his keynote address.

Grylls first drew attention after embarking on a number of outdoor adventures and then became widely known for his wilderness survival TV shows in the United Kingdom and America: The Island with Bear Grylls and Running Wild with Bear Grylls. For the latter, Grylls takes celebrities and professional athletes on a two-day trip into the wilderness where he pushes the boundaries on their physical capabilities and mental toughness.

The son of a British politician, Edward “Bear” Grylls got the nickname “Bear” from his sister a week after his birth. From an early age, he learned to climb and sail with his father. Then came skydiving and a second dan black belt in Shotokan karate. After college, Grylls briefly hiked in the Himalayan mountains of Sikkim and West Bengal. From 1994-1997, he served in the Territorial Army with 21 SAS as a trooper trained in, amongst other things, unarmed combat, desert and winter warfare, survival, climbing, parachuting, and explosives. Becoming a survival instructor, he was twice posted to North Africa. Some of Bear’s adventures include circumnavigating the British Isles on jet skis; climbing one of the most remote unclimbed peaks in Antarctica; setting a Parajet paramotor record in the Himalayas near Mount Everest where he looked down on the summit while coping with temperatures of -60 degree Celsius (-76 Fahrenheit) in addition to summiting Mount Everest at age 23, becoming one of the youngest Britons to have done so. The most notable thing about his adventures are they are all attached to a charity. Whether it’s a children’s charity (Global Angels), raising awareness of global warming, or The Prince’s Trust, Bear always names a philanthropic organization to benefit from his extreme physical tests.

Bear will not put any STAFDA Convention attendee to the physical rigors he’s accustomed to, but his mental toughness tips should provide a refreshing and positive outlook on the world today.