The MS&T Monthly Wrap

5 September 2023

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U.S. Air Force photo by Vanessa R. Adame

Modeling, simulation and training has become one of Central Florida’s key industries, building upon the region’s strength in immersive technologies and defense.

The region is home to the MS&T arm of nearly every US military agency.

Every month, we will take a look back to see what happened within the industry here while also looking ahead at what’s in store next month.

Women in MS&T gather in Orlando

The longtime bias against women-owned defense businesses in technology is all too real for Dolly Oberoi.

As she looked to launch her business in the 1990s, she struggled to secure a line of credit and feared it might crumble her efforts. That is, until she hired her husband.

Suddenly, the bank’s message changed and her budding business, C2 Technologies, secured a $10,000 line of credit.

“Two years is a long way to go without capital,” she said. “So much has changed and yet nothing has changed.”

Oberoi sat on a panel in August hosted by Women in Defense’s regional chapter and Tampa’s Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship.

At Orlando’s Central Florida Tech Grove, WTE Founder and CEO Raechel Canipe felt it was important to bring together some of the region’s leading women in the industry.

The goal, she said, was to both inspire those in the industry and share resources that they could access through various programs in the area.

“This represents a huge economic impact and opportunity for people of all backgrounds,” said Canipe, who hosted the panel. “If women are not at the table, it would be a huge economic loss for women and their families. Beyond that, we know that teams of more diverse backgrounds bring more innovative solutions, and that those solutions are more likely to work for a wider range of people and use cases.”

Canipe gave the example of crash test dummies of the past based exclusively on the average male measurements.

The panel also included the Grove’s Carol Ann Dykes Logue and Engenium CEO Ana Irving.

The group represented a mix of some of the more-active defense contractors in Central Florida along with Logue, who has helped build the Grove into a space where defense companies can connect with military officials in the region.

When asked about her takeaways from the panel, Irving mentioned Canipe’s focus on the barriers that still exist in defense.

“This is still a difficult space for women,” said Irving, whose staffing agency works within engineering and program management in defense, among other industries. “We are still facing many of the same issues, such as disrespecting of women in certain roles. You still need to persevere.”

A recent Florida High Tech Corridor study found that MS&T contributes nearly $8 billion annually to the state’s economic output.

Of that, $6 billion comes from Central Florida alone.

Oberoi said it’s crucial for women to actively engage in the industry.

“Women are a force to be reckoned with but they sometimes get forgotten,” she said. “It was a great forum for them to be uninhibited, listen to the women who overcame barriers, learn and understand that they are not alone.”

SGS&C deadline extended

A key date in the simulation industry has been extended as the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge pushed its deadline back to Sept. 8 for projects.

The SGS&C contest annually reaches out for games and projects that handle serious topics, with winners landing a spot on the I/ITSEC showroom floor in December.

That event attracts thousands of attendees to Central Florida, including top brass from each of the military branches, and is considered the largest military MS&T show in the world.

This year, I/ITSEC will take over the Orange County Convention Center for five days, starting Nov. 27

What’s ahead in MS&T around CFL

An annual event that builds tech solutions that solve military problems returns to Central Florida in September.

The U.S. Armed Forces Jam, a three-day hackathon put together by the group Indienomicon, starts Friday, September 8 and runs through the weekend, with final projects presented to a panel of judges Sunday evening.

The gathering puts dozens of programmers and tech enthusiasts in a room, lets them loose on specific challenges and then rewards winning teams with prizes.

Along with a cash prize, the winning team at the event will have exhibit space at I/ITSEC, where it can gain exposure to the community.


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