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General Assembly Speaker

Brig Gen Patrick Kennedy, Assistant Adjutant General-Air, NJ National Guard and Commander, NJ ANG

Brig Gen Patrick Kennedy (Brig Gen Patrick Kennedy Brig. Gen. Kennedy is the Assistant Adjutant General-Air, NJ National Guard and also serves as the Commander, NJ ANG. He exercises command and control over two flying wings performing fighter and air refueling missions, and serves as principal advisor to The Adjutant General on the execution of Air Guard assets. He is responsible for the development and training of over 2,300 Airmen and the implementation of state strategy, policy, plans and initiatives related to the State Partnership Program, federal and state homeland security and civil support mobilization, readiness and strength within the New Jersey ANG.. 

General Kennedy’s military career began in August 1991 when he commissioned as a lieutenant in the NJANG. After completing his undergraduate navigation training in October 1992, he qualified in the KC-135 aircraft. General Kennedy has over 2,200 flight hours to include combat support sorties. He has deployed and flown combat support sorties for both Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. General Kennedy continued his career as a Maintenance Group Commander, Vice Wing Commander and Wing Commander. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Chief of Staff.



Banquet Speaker

Paula F. Penson (Colonel, USAF, retired)

Paula F. Penson (Colonel, USAF, retired) Colonel, retired, Penson has 20 years of experience in consulting, providing leadership and management development, program management skills, problem solving facilitation, and senior leader team building and strategic planning facilitation. Paula retired after four decades of service in January 2015. Serving in the Reserve and Guard allowed her to work simultaneously on her civilian career. 

Her positions have included management and development trainer, first line supervisor in a manufacturing plant, curriculum designer at a nuclear power plant, instructor and curriculum design manager for the Department of the Navy (Total Quality Leadership (TQL/TQM), and Sr. Health Administrator.

She was a Faculty Associate at Arizona State and Maricopa County Colleges for seven years before going into the private sector to practice what she taught.  Paula currently teaches Public Speaking at Pellissippi State Community College, in Knoxville, Tennessee, as her “retirement” job since fall 2017.

She culminated her U.S. Air Force career as the full-time Commander of an Air National Guard Medical Group at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland in January 2015.


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