John Givens will assume the role of the VirTra’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Bob Ferris, the company’s founder and current chairman and co-CEO, will transition to the position of Executive Chairman of the Board.
Since joining the company’s board of directors in 2020 and subsequently being named co-CEO in 2022, Givens has played a pivotal role in driving VirTra’s rapid progress. His leadership has led to vast operational improvements and the implementation of key customer expansion initiatives that have resulted in record revenue and profitability in the first half of 2023. Givens’ extensive knowledge and established reputation in the simulation and military markets are invaluable assets to VirTra. The company believes his previous successes of quickly growing a company in this industry indicate strong promise for VirTra's future endeavors as he assumes the role of sole CEO.
Givens brings a wealth of industry experience from his time as the founder of Bohemia Interactive Simulations Inc. (BISim). Since its inception in 2010 under Givens' leadership, BISim rapidly evolved to become one of the most widely utilized simulation products across all branches of the U.S. and allied military forces. This success was underscored by BAE Systems plc's acquisition of BISim in 2022 for $200 million. Givens has been honored with several prestigious awards, notably the Halldale Group’s first Industry Award winner for the Pioneer Award category. This accolade was awarded by the trainees and industry peers and underscores his contributions that have enhanced the training and effectiveness of U.S. and overseas military personnel.
“As I assume the role of CEO, I am mindful of the solid foundation laid by Bob’s thirty years of dedication and visionary leadership,” said CEO John Givens. “As we look forward, we share an unwavering commitment to VirTra’s growth and optimization. We aren’t satisfied at all with the status quo and have plans to reach new milestones to make our recent progress pale in comparison.”
Ferris founded the Company in 1993 as Ferris Productions. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he shifted the company’s focus to simulation training to support law enforcement, first responders and the warfighters. The company’s name was changed to VirTra.
Ferris stated, "At the heart of our efforts at VirTra is the goal of saving and improving lives through our highly effective product line. Beginning as the smallest effective simulation company in our industry in 1993 to becoming the largest in 2023 is beyond my dreams. I am tremendously proud of the work we have done over the three decades as a company to support the men and women who serve and protect. I wish I could adequately express the vast number of people who have contributed to VirTra’s success and the immense effort that each person has provided. I have always been, and continue to be, just a small piece of VirTra. I wanted John to push VirTra to new heights, to find areas where we could improve, and then execute multiple improvement plans at the same time. John exceeded my high expectations; he blew past the limits of what I thought was possible. His instrumental role in enhancing every aspect of our operations, opening our state-of-the-art Orlando facility, and achieving two back-to-back $10+ million quarters is just a taste of what is possible. As I transition to my new role, VirTra is in excellent hands under John's leadership, and I look forward to supporting him as he propels VirTra to new levels of success."