Melvin R Downes
General Chair RAMS 2023
’m honored to be General Chair for the 69th
Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium. RAMS®
is a collaboration between eight professional
societies who have a passion for reliability, availability, maintainability, and safety (RAMS). RAMS® is organized by a dedicated group of volunteers from these societies. These volunteers have worked hard all year to produce a program that will provide a unique experience across the entire RAMS body of knowledge. Attendees have a unique opportunity to learn through tutorials, technical paper presentations, expert panel discussions, keynote and banquet speaker engagement, exhibitors, and interaction and networking with other professionals. It is my pleasure to welcome you to RAMS®2023!
RAMS is an extremely effective and cost-efficient way to educate yourself and your associates in reliability, maintainability, and product safety. The variety and depth of the RAMS program will satisfy the range of attendees from beginner to seasoned expert. Tutorials present a unique “basic fundamentals to advanced” forum, qualify for Continuing Education Units (CEUs), and supports our RAMS Tutorial Certificate Program. Paper sessions complement the tutorials with an emphasis on demonstrating effective practical applications and advancement in theory. The Panel sessions bring together, government, corporate, and academic experts on selected focused topics for providing their insight and experience. And, this year we will offer a dedicated ASQ Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) Preparatory training track for those interested in pursuing a CRE certification .
This year’s theme is “The Digital Transformation of R&M”. This theme was selected realizing that with the emergence of significant knowledge enabled by Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, reliability and maintainability can now be incorporated in the digital engineering design while also improving R&M through the collection and timely analysis of equipment-specific field data and health monitoring systems. AI/ML application to our R&M tools, techniques and processes (and products) promises speed and scale which is essential in a competitive acquisition and engineering environment to be relevant. The RAMS Program and Tutorial Committees have done an outstanding job of selecting papers and tutorials that are relevant to the theme and the needs of RAMS attendees.
Our keynote speaker is the Honorable Christopher J. Lowman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment (ASD(S)), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. As ASD(S), Mr. Lowman is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment (USD(A&S)), Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of Defense on DoD logistics, materiel readiness, and product support. On behalf of the USD(A&S), Mr. Lowman oversees the Defense Logistics Agency and Defense Microelectronics Activity, and is the principal logistics official within senior DoD management. His current and past experience will bring a great perspective to the DoD digital transformation effort and corresponding R&M value, the heart of this year’s symposium theme.
Our banquet speaker, Mr Don McMillan is a retired engineer from Silicon Valley who has taken different more enlightening comedic spin on data and presentations from the engineering and technical world. I know you will find his presentation enjoyable.
For spouses accompanying attendees, our arrangements committee has planned an informative and entertaining spousal program to explore nearby exciting attractions that Orlando has to offer. This program includes group transportation on a private charter bus to the Kennedy Space Center and other local attractions (Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Airboat Rides, etc.).
The symposium venue is the Florida Hotel & Conference Center located adjacent to and steps away from the Florida Mall and a quick ride from the airport. The Hotel is centrally located in Orlando to the nearby famous attractions of International Drive, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and of course Disney World. Orlando is a fantastic location with wonderful weather especially in January and a short drive to either coast (Tampa or Cape Canaveral).
I look forward to greeting you at RAMS 2023!
The Honorable Christopher J. Lowman
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment
Senate-confirmed in May 2022, the Honorable Christopher Lowman, the former senior official performing the duties of Under Secretary of the Army, took office as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment (ASD(S)) in June 2022.
As ASD(S), Mr. Lowman is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment (USD(A&S)), Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of Defense on DoD logistics, materiel readiness, and product support. On behalf of the USD(A&S), Mr. Lowman oversees the Defense Logistics Agency and Defense Microelectronics Activity, and is the principal logistics official within senior DoD management.
He has served across the U.S. Army and the Joint Force for more than three decades.
From 2021-2022, Mr. Lowman served as the senior official performing the duties of Under Secretary of the Army. As the Secretary of the Army’s senior civilian assistant and principal advisor on matters related to managing and operating the Army, he was also the Chief Management Officer of the Army and the Secretary’s principal advisor on effective and efficient organization of business operations and transformation initiatives, the senior official for all Executive and Senior Professional personnel actions, and responsible for supervising and directing all civilian senior leaders.
From 2018-2021, Mr. Lowman served as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff (ADCS), G-3/5/7 (Tier 3), providing oversight and guidance to the Strategy, Plans and Policy; Cyber Operations; Administration and Resources; and Command and Control Support Agency Directorates. His focus included Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution of Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7 program and budget; cyber activities; special access programs; sensitive activities programs; and support to non-Army agencies.
- 2017-2018: Director of Essential Function 5 (Sustainment) of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan
- 2015- 2017: Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition Policy and Logistics
- 2006 to 2015: Director for Maintenance Policy (Tier 2) & Programs for the United States Army, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4
- 2003 to 2006: Chief, Supply and Maintenance, HQ, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR)
Mr. Lowman enlisted as a U.S. Marine in 1984 and entered the Army Civil Service as an Army Maintenance Management Intern in 1989. He holds an MS degree from the National War College and an MBA from Monmouth University.
Mr. Lowman’s awards include the Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award (3), the Army Ordnance Corps Samuel Sharpe Award, the Army Quartermaster Corps Distinguished Order of Saint Martin, and the Department of the Army Integrated Logistics Support Achievement of the Year Award.
From a Master in Reliability … to a Comedy King
and we’re not joking!
Don graduated from Stanford University with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. He then joined AT&T Bell Labs where he was part of the team that designed the world’s first 32-bit microprocessor. His next move was to Silicon Valley where he helped launch the start-up company VLSI Technology.
After 15 years in the tech world, Don quit his job to become a stand-up comedian. No joke!
He has been doing his one-of-a-kind, Powerpoint-driven comedy show for audiences for over 20 years. In his show, packed with graphs and charts, Don will show you the funny side of your world that has been sitting right in front of you – you’re just too busy working to notice!
Don won the Comedy Grand Champion on “Star Search,” and has been on “The Tonight Show,” “HBO” and “Comedy Central.” He spends most of his time writing and performing customized corporate shows for companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Ford Motors and Exxon/ Mobil. Don has performed more than 800 corporate shows in the last 20 years — and was named the #1 Corporate Comedian by the CBS Business Network. Seriously.