fighter jet

Local Chapter


Natalie Linville-Mass

Executive Vice President
Brittney Benson

Todd Prouty

Ernie Cychosz


Timothy Bower

Joy Fleming

Alan Kruse – Donations

John W. Masengarb – Scholarships

George B. Rivard – Nominations

Flint Znamencek – Membership

Logan Brincks – Symposium

Celia Hadden

Michael J. Lux – STEM

Todd Prouty – Membership

Kevin Stevens

Chapter History

The History of the Iowa-Illinois Chapter
National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)

The Chapter was founded in 1945 as the Iowa-Illinois Chapter of the Army Ordnance Association. During World War II the Army Ordnance Association represented about 150 Government owned ammunition plants, 175 arsenals and over 200 storage and maintenance depots, all government owned and many contractor operated. This vast organic production and maintenance capability was the core of the famed “Arsenal of Democracy” which contributed in great measure to winning World War II. To this date the Iowa-Illinois Chapter still has a strong focus on representing the “Organic Base”, i.e., the government owned Defense Industrial Base, as well as honoring our history in World War II and those who served in that and future wars.

The Iowa-Illinois Chapter was dormant in the early 1980s and much of the early history has been lost to us. The chapter was restarted in 1988 by Mr. John Spuller from Deere & Company. Mr. Spuller re-constituted the board of directors and resumed chapter operations. The chapter has remained active since then and has one of the top chapter programs within the NDIA.

The Chapter’s on-going activities are focused on three primary areas: Sponsorship of Seminars/Symposiums, Scholarship Programs, and Community Events/Activities.

The Iowa-Illinois Chapter has run numerous symposia broaching key issues in National Defense. Among the subject areas we’ve addressed are: Manufacturing, Small Business, Logistics and Logistical Data Management, Ammunition, Small Arms weapons, Defense Transformation, Total Quality Management, Lean Six Sigma, and Women in Defense. It was through our Women in Defense symposium series that we initiated creation of the first chapter of the now national organization bearing that name. The symposium series was transitioned to the new local organization as a means for their financial support. The Women in Defense (WID) ‘Chapter #1’ continues to be represented on our board of directors and their members are afforded complimentary membership in NDIA, a real win-win arrangement. In 2008, the Chapter devoted increasing focus to Small Business and Government Contracting with annual Small Business Government Contracting Symposiums. As these evolved and greater efficiencies were sought, there was further integration of previously separate Arsenal Island events (e.g., RIA Industry Day, Army Sustainment Command (ASC) Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry (APBI)) into a singular overarching annual event, with the Chapter’s Small Business symposium becoming the anchor event. By 2015, the Chapter had successfully held its 8th Annual Midwest Small Business Government Contracting Symposium. In 2018, “Small Business” was dropped from the title as it became obvious that discussions were equally applicable to both small and large businesses. 2019 marked the 12th Annual Midwest Government Contracting symposium hosted by the Chapter with plans to continue the annual event.

The proceeds from our seminars/symposium, coupled with corporate member contributions, are used to fund our activities in the two other focus areas:

  • Annual scholarship program – Initiated in 1993, the Chapter had provided nearly $200,000 in scholarships by 2018. The dollar amount and the number of scholarships awarded annually have continued to grow. As an example, in 2013, a total of $26,000 was provided 13 very worthy recipients. In that year, there were 2 SGT Paul Fisher scholarships, 10 NDIA scholarships, and one STEM specific scholarship awarded – each in the amount of $2000. In the 2019-2020 scholarship year, 9 – $2500 scholarships were budgeted for award. That represents 1-STEM specific scholarship and a mix of 8 NDIA/SGT Fisher scholarships dependent on the pool of applicants.
  • Sponsorship of Community Events/Activities – The Chapter has traditionally and continues to respond to donation requests for such events as the Army Birthday Ball, USO, Healing on the Fly, Wounded Warrior, Jason’s Box, Navy Birthday Ball, Honor Flight, Soldier Show, Holiday Ball, AUSA Golf Outing, and Disabled Veterans. The Chapter has been a participating member and sponsor of “Embracing our Military” led by a local Public Broadcasting Station – WQPT. The Chapter also was a major sponsor of the local celebration of the Vietnam Veterans 50th Commemorative Anniversary Parade as well as the Wall that Heals, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC.
  • In 2008, the Chapter began a focused effort to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities and initiatives. The Chapter initiated linkage with the Quad Cities Engineering & Science Council (QCESC) and other similar groups to further broaden its awareness of STEM activities and provide support – both in time and contributions. The Chapter was the lead proponent for establishment of a DOD STARBASE on Arsenal Island, doing preliminary coordination and drafting an application package submitted to DOD by the RIA Garrison in Aug 2011. The Chapter also became increasingly and directly involved in supporting Project Lead the Way, QC FIRST Robotics, FIRST Lego League, Putnam’s STEM Learning Center, Rock Island Center for Math & Science, and other STEM activities ($3000 was budgeted in FY2015 and $5000 budgeted for FY2019)
  • Donations to all the above community events/activities annually total $6000 to $10,000, as the Chapter budget permits.

Some historical insights into how the Iowa-Illinois Chapter has been active in honoring our Soldiers and Veterans include:

  • One of the major activities undertaken by the chapter was organizing and sponsoring literally hundreds of World War II 50th Anniversary celebrations throughout the Iowa-Illinois area during 1994 and 1995 culminating in celebrations the 50th anniversaries of VE Day and VJ Day in 1995 with over 50,000 participants in all activities. Among the honored guests participating were General Wayne Downing, CINC US Special Operations Command; Hon Togo West, Secretary for Veterans Affairs (and former Chief of Staff of the Army); as well as five area Congressional Medal of Honor recipients (SGT John Baker III, SGT Sammy Davis, MAJ Robert “Bobbie” Dunlap, MAJ Allen Lynch, and MAJ Joseph J. McCarthy). As a part of those celebrations almost one thousand commemorative “Ruptured Duck “pins were ceremonially presented to World War II Veterans to honor them for their service and sacrifice to their nation. These presentations included a visit to the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City by SGT John Baker III, CMOH (a Medal of Honor recipient born in the Quad Cities) and Cy Howard, a Vietnam Veteran who was the image and embodiment of “Uncle Sam” as well as Art Heyderman, the chapter president. It was a very special experience, many of the old Soldiers were sedated, awaiting surgery and as we made the presentations some awoke and, semi-consciously stared out to see Uncle Sam and a fellow Soldier in uniform wearing the congressional Medal of Honor and telling them how proud we were of their service in World War II.
  • Another event honoring our Soldiers was the organizing and sponsoring of the retirement ceremony of last active duty Korean War service member, CW5 Cecil Hutson in 1996. At the time of his retirement, Mr Hutson was the last actively serving Korean War Veteran from any military service and any allied nation. This important milestone was scheduled to be officiated by the Chief of Staff of the Army, but only a few days before the event the Chief had to cancel due to more pressing requirements from the Secretary of the Army. Unfazed, the chapter approached the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, GEN Ronald H Griffith who immediately accepted the invitation and officiated at the ceremony. On an Interesting side note, after the ceremony GEN Griffith was given a tour of the Rock Island Arsenal and, after seeing the impressive work being done on the Aviation Mechanics Tool Set and the Contact Maintenance Vehicle, he assigned the National Tool Set mission to the Arsenal. That mission continues to reside at the Arsenal to this day.
  • Continuing the program of honoring Soldiers and Veterans, the chapter organized and sponsored the Korean War 50th Anniversary celebration in 2003. While not on the scale of the World War II commemorations, this event still was widely attended and marked an official recognition of the difficult service of these Veterans, many who had also served in World War II and some who later went on to serve in Vietnam. One of the key objectives of the celebration was to assure that those who served in the “Forgotten War” would not themselves be forgotten. In this regard we were highly successful.
  • On September 11, 2001, the American Homeland was attacked for the first time since the Civil War. Within hours of the attack, the Operations Center at the Rock Island Arsenal went active on a 24 hour a day basis in support of defense of the nation and preparation for contingency operations. The chapter was approached to see if we could get a few “American Flag” ribbons for the workers in the Operations Center as a sign of support. What started with a handful of ribbons eventually led to distribution of over 9,000 American Flag ribbon pins to Arsenal workers and area first responders immediately after 9/11 as a symbol of solidarity and determination to keep America safe and free. These pins were in short supply from the distributor and in high demand by the public. Still, virtually all the American Flag ribbon pins distributed in the Quad Cities and the surrounding area at that time were done so for free by the Iowa-Illinois Chapter. The local distributor always gave the chapter first crack at new supplies because they knew that the ones we got would go to the folks who were most deeply involved in supporting the defense efforts. A special thanks to Regalia in Rock Island for granting us this honor.
  • In the Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery there is a flagpole which flies the POW/MIA Flag and a memorial stone dedicated in May 1998 honoring the chapter. The chapter learned that the National Cemetery wanted to put up a flagpole from which to fly the POW/MIA Flag. This was to be the anchor for the “Memorial Walk” that was being started by the cemetery. The chapter Board of Directors approved a donation of $5,000 to the National Cemetery for the purpose of buying the flagpole. Once the flagpole arrived at the cemetery, they were unsure of how they would erect the flagpole. The chapter offered to help them, and approached retired US Marine Corps SGM John Hernstrom, who at the time was the Commander of the Marine Corps League in the Quad Cities. SGM Hernstrom offered to have his construction company erect the flagpole at no additional charge; they completed the job later in the week. Subsequently, the cemetery director offered to erect a small memorial to the chapter in recognition of our assistance. The memorial stone placed there was their design but the words were ours. We didn’t want our organization to take anything away from the true heroes, our service men and women, which the inscription honored. SGM Hernstrom remained active in the Marine Corps League until his passing.
  • The chapter also supports the total military community. One of the ways it accomplishes this is thru sponsorship of the Army Soldier Show. In fact, the first visit by the Show to the community would not have happened without the Iowa-Illinois Chapter. When the CG invited them to the Rock Island Arsenal, they jumped at the invitation and quickly accepted. Still, the Arsenal had the problem of how to pay for renting the Adler Theater, the only local venue suitable for the show. The chapter immediately stepped forward and guaranteed those costs, and solicited sponsorship donations to help make the Soldier Show cast feel comfortable in our community. For many years the Arsenal has continued to sponsor the Soldier Show with the financial support of the chapter.
  • Iowa-Illinois Chapter also continues to honor and recognize individuals for their achievements and accomplishments. In this regard we have created the Frank Brodsky Award for service to the Association. Frank Brodsky was an early member of the chapter and was Civilian Executive at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in Middletown Iowa. Frank was instrumental in restarting the chapter and well liked. Upon his passing the chapter named an award for service after him. The Chapter has also established three “Lifetime Contribution Awards”. MG Paul Greenberg was the former commander of the US Army Armament, Munitions & Chemical Command in Rock Island, who dedicated his military service to the ammunition and the Ammunition Industrial Base. His auto license plate even read “AMMO 1”. MG Greenberg went on to serve as a Vice President of the American Defense Preparedness Association (the predecessor organization of NDIA). At ADPA he was preceded as Vice President by MG William “Bill” Eicher who commanded the US Army Armament Command in Rock Island. Both worked for LTG Lawrence Skibbie who was the President of the ADPA and a former commander of the Rock Island Arsenal. Each had strong roots in the chapter and was a strong and effective leader in the association with dedication to their special areas of interest -ammunition, weapons, and the industrial base – and hence the reason for these three awards in their names.
  • Finally, in addition to the Chapter Scholarships mentioned above, the chapter awards the SGT Fisher Scholarship named for a Cedar Rapids Soldier killed in one of the worst single incidents of the Iraq War. In 2005 the chapter established this scholarship in memory of Sergeant Paul Fisher. SGT Fisher, a flight engineer with Company F, 106th Aviation, deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The CH-47 Chinook helicopter that he was aboard was shot down by a missile west of Baghdad. He sustained multiple injuries and later died. SGT Fisher was a quiet man that believed actions spoke louder than words. He was a man who lived with truth, honor, and respect. He knew hard work was the key to your own success. We remember the sacrifices he made so that our journey in life can be paved with freedom.

Today Iowa-Illinois Chapter’s membership consists of approximately 600 individuals from both the private and public sectors. The Iowa-Illinois Chapter, as an arm of the national association, continues to provide geographic coverage for Iowa and the western 1/3 of Illinois, furthering the national objectives and policies. Our mission is still to:

  • Advocate cutting edge technology and superior weapons, equipment, training and support for the Warfighter and First Responder
  • Promote a vigorous, responsive, Government-Industry National Security Team
  • Provide an ethical and legal forum for the exchange of information between Industry and Government on National Security issues.

The Chapter is governed by its By Laws. Our focus areas today include small business, hosting of seminars/conferences, scholarship programs, STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) initiatives, and sponsorship of community and military events/activities. The chapter has been annually recognized by the national association as a Model Chapter since the inception of that award in 2002. As a matter of fact, the Model Chapter Award programis one of several innovations proposed by our Chapter and adopted by the national association.  Others innovations included free trial memberships for government employees and the creation of a chapter system for Women In Defense (WID) which included the earlier mentioned formation of WID Chapter #1 locally and which is now an NDIA affiliate organization.  In 2015, the Chapter celebrated its 70th Anniversary.  All chapter members and their families, along with WID members were invited to join in the celebration with a series of FREE events at the Putnam Museum, Davenport, IA.  A special invitation was also given to our military.  The highlight of the day was the 3D movie, D-Day: Normandy 1944, in the National Geographic GIANT screen theatre. The movie, narrated by Tom Brokaw, paid tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.