Dear NCS Members and Prospective Members,
I hope all of you and your families are doing well and staying safe. The last few months have been a time of major adjustments for all of us. Even though the COVID-19 virus has changed the way business is conducted, the National Center for Simulation has adapted and I want to make all of you aware of some of our key programs and announcements:
Thanks to the generous contributions of our MS&T community, I am happy to report that we have raised and will award $25,075 in scholarships this year. The application period for college students runs through July 31; the application form and instructions are located at www.all-ncs.com. I would personally like to thank the Central Florida chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and Engineering & Computer Simulations (ECS) for their generous $5,000 contributions!
We also awarded ten (10) individual $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors pursuing a STEM related college degree, and within the past year, we have also awarded $5,000 to two (2) UCF M&S students and $1,000 to a Seminole State College student. In total, that amounts to over $40,000 in scholarships that we have awarded or will distribute over the past year!
In conjunction with the US Army Educational Outreach Program, US Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, National Defense Industrial Association of Central Florida, The Corridor, UCF School of MS&T and our industry sponsors led by Aptima, SIMETRI, Dignitas and R-Squared Solutions, NCS has moved the third annual Gains in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) camp to an online STEM program for 5th through 8th graders. The camp is free of charge to all the students and they will each receive $125 when they successfully complete the program. The students are learning about virtual reality, teamwork, and building their own VR headset and program in the Unity Game Engine to walk through the environment. This all takes place during a one-week course. The camp counselors delivered boxes of supplies to each student’s home. Early STEM education camps support Team Orlando and the entire MS&T community by creating unique ways to build the future education and workforce pipeline. My sincere thanks to Ms. Lindsey Spalding for developing the camp curriculum and programs, our counselors, and NCS COO Dr. Neal Finkelstein for being the visionary behind this terrific program! Look for this program to be expanded as we move forward.
I would like to welcome Adm. (Ret) Paul Sohl, the new President of The Florida High Tech Corridor, as an ex-officio board member. Many thanks to Roger Pynn, who represented The Corridor on our board during the transition period during the search for the new President. In addition, with the transfer of BG Michael Sloane, PEO to Ft. Meade, it is also my pleasure to welcome Mr. Timothy Bishop, SES, Interim PEO as a Military Advisor to the Board. He joins Capt. Timothy Hill in this role that has been reinstated. Both PEO STRI and NAWCTSD were charter members when NCS was formed more than 25 years ago, and our bylaws designate that their leaders will provide advice to our Board. Their leadership and counsel are invaluable to us as we develop strategies and policies to best serve the modeling and simulation community.
As required by our bylaws, NCS will hold annual elections for three board positions that serve three-year rolling terms. The call for nominations will be issued on August 1. Nominations must be received by August 31. The online elections will run during the month of September, and the winners will be announced in early October.
Events: COVID-19 has impacted the scheduling of our signature events. Here is an update on the scheduling of these outstanding events:
For more details, please see the press release. As we are not able to have a live ceremony at the Orange County Convention Center during the summer months and planning for the Fall months is uncertain, we have decided to postpone this ceremony until late Spring; we will induct the 2020 and 2021 classes together. Our distinguished 2020 class of inductees would not be adequately recognized by a virtual only ceremony and we look forward to inducting them in person next year.
The MODTF, co-chaired by NCS and the Orlando Economic Partnership, has coordinated the submission of initial bids by Orange and Seminole counties to enter the selection process for Space Force Command headquarters. Central Florida, with its proximity to the Space Coast, synergies with all military branches’ MS&T missions, and many other attributes of living and working in Central Florida, is a very viable candidate for this command that will have 1,400 employees. The selection process will run through the remainder of 2020 and the selection is scheduled to be announced in January 2021.
I am thankful to be a part of this great NCS team and live in this great community. Stay safe and well!
George E. Cheros
President and CEO