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WHAT WE DO : EVENTS : Annual Dinner

Annual Dinner





Today, Angela Pakes, President and CEO of Forward Janesville, announced General Andrew Poppas will be the featured speaker for Forward Janesville’s Annual Dinner moderated by Former Speaker Paul D. Ryan on November 9th, 2022 to be held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Janesville, Wisconsin.   

"We cannot thank General Poppas and Speaker Ryan enough for their willingness to be part of a very important community event for Janesville. They are Janesville natives who have served our country with honor and a deep sense of service, and we are so proud of them.  Over the several years, we have seen how small our world is and how important our armed forces are to the stability of the international order. We look forward to hearing from these incredibly knowledgable leaders as we look to understand the changing landscape of our military strategy and international engagement while honoring our Veterans during this important week. Janesville has a proud of history of supporting our armed services.”

Forward Janesville’s Annual Dinner has been an important event in Janesville’s community fabric. Bringing together national speakers to address leadership, politics, civic service, communication and business, the event represents an opportunity for business, public and not for profit leaders to come together.  Past speakers have included Barry Alvarez, Greg Hughes, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Peter Feigin.

Paul Ryan shared “Andrew Poppas has been a lifelong friend and I’ve watched with pride as he graduated from Craig High School, shipped off to West Point, and rose through the ranks of the Army. General Poppas is an example of a true servant-leader. Throughout his distinguished 34-year career in the Army, he has put the interests of our country and his fellow citizens before anything else. From leading troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, to serving at the Pentagon, and now as the Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, the largest command in the Army, Andrew Poppas has spent his entire adult life defending our freedoms and fighting for our country.

“Drew represents the very best of Wisconsin and so it’s fitting that Forward Janesville, an organization dedicated to improving our community, would have him serve as the keynote speaker at this year’s Annual Dinner. It should be a great evening and I can’t wait to recognize Drew and all those who make Janesville so exceptional.”

Forward Janesville leads private sector economic and community development efforts to ensure the continued health and prosperity of business and industry in Janesville and Rock County.

Tickets for event will be available later in September as seating format is finalized.

General Andrew Poppas

Commanding General U.S. Army Forces Command  General Andrew Poppas became the 24th commander of United States Army Forces Command, Fort Bragg, N.C., on July 8, 2022.  As commander of the U.S. Army's largest organization, he commands 216,000 active-component soldiers and 190,000 members of the U.S. Army Reserve, while also providing training and readiness oversight to the Army National Guard. In total, the Forces Command team includes more than 740,000 soldiers and 13,000 civilians. 

A native of Janesville, Wisconsin, General Poppas graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned in 1988. He spent his early years serving within the 3rd Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer, Va.; the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.; as a foreign area officer in Thessaloniki, Greece; and on the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.  In 2005, he returned to the 82nd Airborne Division and Fort Bragg, where he commanded 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment and later 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, which he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He then served in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky., as its 1st Brigade Combat Team Commander and later as the division's Deputy Commanding General (Operations). In both these roles, he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  General Poppas then returned to Washington, D.C. where he served as Deputy Director for Regional Operations and Force Management on the Joint Staff, and Director of Force Management in the Headquarters, Department of the Army G-3/5/7. In 2017, he assumed command of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and again deployed with the division to Afghanistan. 

Prior to assuming command of Forces Command, General Poppas served more than three years as a senior leader on the Joint Staff, first as Director for Operations, and later as Director of the Joint Staff. In this role, he assisted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as advisor to the President and Secretary of Defense, coordinated and directed Joint Staff activities in support of the Chairman, and served as the Staff Inspector General. 

In addition to his Bachelor of Science degree in National Security Affairs from the United States Military Academy, General Poppas holds a Master of Science degree in Occupational Education from Kansas State University. He is also a graduate of the Defense Language Institute, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a fellowship at Harvard University.  He and his wife of 22 years, Beth have three teenage children.

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan was the 54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. In office from October 2015 to January 2019, he was the youngest speaker in nearly 150 years. During his tenure as Speaker, Ryan spearheaded efforts to reform our nation’s tax code, rebuild our national defense, expand domestic energy production, combat the opioid epidemic, reform our criminal justice system, and promote economic opportunity.

As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee he worked to protect health care choices, advance free trade, and strengthen the economy. Before that, Ryan served as chairman of the House Budget Committee where he outlined revolutionary blueprints to balance the federal budget and pay off the national debt. In 2012, he was selected to serve as Governor Mitt Romney’s Vice-Presidential nominee. Ryan was first elected to Congress at age 28 and represented Wisconsin’s First District for two decades.

In 2019, Ryan launched the American Idea Foundation, a non-partisan, not for profit organization that expands economic opportunity by partnering with local organizations and academics to advance evidence-based public policies. In 2020, Ryan was named as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Executive Network Partnering Corporation and in 2021, he was named as a Partner at Solamere Capital.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fox Corporation, of SHINE Medical Technologies LLC, and of UniversalCIS. Ryan also serves on the Advisory Board of Robert Bosch GmbH and is a senior advisor with Teneo.

He is a Professor of the Practice at the University of Notre Dame and a visiting fellow in the practice of public policy at the American Enterprise Institute. Ryan serves on the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute and on the Board of Directors for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Paul and his wife Janna have three children: Liza, Charlie, and Sam. He holds a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio and was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University. 


For additional information, please contact:

Forward Janesville
Jenny Tschudy, Director of Events, Marketing and Membership, | (608) 757-3160

US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM)
COL Kathleen Turner, Director of Public Affairs | COMM (910) 570-7201 |Mobile (910) 689-3844

Office of Former Speaker Paul D. Ryan
Kevin Seifert, Senior Advisor to Former Speaker Paul Ryan | 608-774-6008