Lt Gen (Ret) Tom Baptiste bids farewell to NCS

We mark the end of an era at the National Center for Simulation as Lt Gen (Ret) Tom Baptiste retires as our President/CEO. Please join me in thanking him for his tremendously successful 9 years at NCS. Under his leadership, our membership more than doubled and we accomplished some great things. 

Tom was the driving force behind the creation of the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force (MODTF) – a unified coalition of powerful Central Florida stakeholders – Orange County Mayor and County Commission, City of Orlando Mayor and City Commission, UCF, Orlando Economic Partnership, the Corridor and the Central Florida Research Park. I was proud and honored to serve at his side as NCS co-chaired this group of community leaders to galvanize the Central Florida community and convince our State Legislators and Cabinet to appropriate $42 million and approve the purchase of two UCF Partnership buildings. The MODTF’s mission is to promote, protect and set the conditions to grow this valuable $6 billion modeling and simulation business.
The addition of over 207,000 square feet of office space to alleviate the military’s annual rent burden of $5.4 million lays the groundwork to achieve this lofty mission. Partnership IV will be the home to the new Army Futures Command Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Team, an Army Two-Star command. 

Partnership V will house a Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) that will contain a cyber security training facility, an important key priority in our national defense strategy. In addition, an Air Force network operations center will reside in Partnership V. All three of these new operations represent new missions AND new business for Florida’s modeling and simulation industry!
As we move forward and celebrate our 25th anniversary, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. NCS will continue to lead the MODTF and the industry as our mission shifts to attracting new business, leveraging existing technologies in the commercial sectors and bridging our MS&T sector with other regional technological capabilities. We are diligently working with Team Orlando to enhance the collaboration between industry, academia and government, and look forward to rolling out some of these new initiatives.   

As always, we continue to support our scholarship and STEM initiatives. Our March 25th scholarship golf tournament was one of our most successful to date. This year we will award scholarships to at least 10 high school seniors and 4 college/university students in addition to contributing several thousand dollars, and hundreds of volunteer hours, to middle and high schools across the region. Our MS&T Certification program has awarded certificates to over 400 students and teachers. The program is operational in Florida and Virginia and will soon be rolled out in Ohio and Alabama. We are extremely proud of these educational outreach programs!

I am honored that the NCS Board of Directors entrusted me to lead the organization through this important transition period. I have reached out to a number of members over the past month and will continue to do so as we move forward. Please feel free to contact me with suggestions or questions. We are here to serve our members. For those of you who are not members at this time, I sincerely hope you will consider joining us!

Finally, please mark your calendars for our annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 31, and the Florida Simulation Summit that will be held on September 26. Both events will take place at the Orange County Convention Center.

Thanks for your continued support!

Best regards,

George Cheros
Interim President/CEO