The National Center for Simulation (NCS) announced that Dr. Neal Finkelstein, former Army Research Lab Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) chief scientist and 30-year Department of Defense veteran, is the new NCS chief operating officer. Finkelstein, best known in the modeling, simulation and training industry for his passion for building government, industry and academic partnerships, has retired and will officially begin at NCS on October 1.

As the chief scientist at STTC, located on University of Central Florida’s (UCF) campus, Finkelstein served as the principle senior technical advisor on technical, programmatic and organizational issues that cut across the organization. He provided evaluation and recommendations on a wide range of diverse day-to-day issues arising from research and development of training aids, devices, simulations and simulators.

“I was lucky to spend many years serving the DoD, and having the opportunity to work on a number of superior projects with a lot of talented people,” said Finkelstein. “I am looking forward to applying that knowledge and experience to help NCS continue to grow and further develop our commitment to STEM, expand the use of this valuable technology in key vertical markets, and foster collaboration and integration between the military and the commercial technology markets.”

Finkelstein is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University where he earned his degree in electrical engineering. He also holds a master’s in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University, as well as a doctorate in industrial engineering from UCF. Throughout the past 30 years, Finkelstein worked in various capacities of increased responsibility in the Army including human-in-the-loop specialized immersive training and simulation effectiveness; human/system integration; human sciences, mixed reality, and a number of other projects that cut across the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, DHS and VA. Among his other positions, Finkelstein served at the Pentagon while supporting the establishment of the Army Modeling and Simulation Office in Alexandria, Virginia.

And while his career highlights are numerous, he also gives feely of his time, sitting on several boards, including UCF, Valencia State College, Daytona Beach State College, and the Florida Governor’s Defense Alliance, to name a few. He has a deep commitment to STEM and serves as the Florida outreach STEM coordinator for the Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP) at the Army Futures Command.