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The voice for the Army in North Alabama has a new speaker.

Retired Col. John Wright is now president of the local chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army. He will serve a two-year term, leading the award-winning chapter of the professional organization that works on behalf of Soldiers, Army civilians, contractors and North Alabama’s robust veteran community.

“I want to thank and recognize our past president Kris McBride for the exceptional job that she has done over the past two years,” Wright said.

Wright, who was garrison commander for Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, before retiring from active service in 2005, has long served AUSA in several capacities, most recently as the chapter’s executive vice president. A Huntsville native, he first became involved with the chapter while stationed at Redstone and took on more leadership roles after his retirement from the Army and return to his hometown. Wright is the senior vice president of sales and business development for PESA. He and his wife, Tammy, reside in Madison and have three daughters and two grandchildren.

Wright said that under his leadership, AUSA will continue to evolve while still meeting the needs of Team Redstone and the surrounding military retiree community. While AUSA will continue their hallmark events and involvement in such local events as last week’s Armed Forces Celebration Week, the Vietnam lecture series and Veterans Week, they have branched out with a new initiative aimed at reaching out to young professionals. The chapter sponsors the Civilians Leadership Summit, which gives young professionals an opportunity to connect with senior Redstone leadership. Events are also planned to join with the next generation of up and coming leaders, the next one scheduled for Sept. 3 at Straight to Ale brewery in Huntsville. Wright said they are encouraging young professionals to join committees and take leadership roles in the organization, both to introduce new ideas and perspective to chapter, and to also “pass the torch,” he said.

“We want to educate and communicate to our young professionals about AUSA and educate them on what it means to serve as a Soldier, a contractor or a civilian,” Wright said.

The Redstone-Huntsville Chapter has more than 2,500 individual members and 350 corporate members. AUSA is a 501c3 nonprofit and membership is open to anyone who wishes to support the Army mission.

“We are here as a resource, a backstop and helping hand,” Wright said. “We want to make sure that we are called when there is a need.”

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