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Second Annual Simulation Summit: Key Takeaways

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Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the National Center for Simulation (NCS) hosted the second annual Florida Simulation Summit on Sept. 22 at the Orange County Convention Center.


By Jacob Engels


This year's Summit highlighted the state’s multibillion dollar modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) industry and helped identify opportunities for businesses to commercialize simulation.


“From scientific discovery to the creation of high-value jobs, the MS&T sector will provide unlimited opportunities for generations to come,” Mayor Jacobs said.


“We are inspired by this sector’s innovation and all of the emerging simulation technologies and applications highlighted at the Florida Simulation Summit. We’re creating a vision for the future and an environment that fosters collaboration, productivity, profitability and jobs in Orange County.”


The goal of the Summit is to raise awareness of the vast impact that the simulation industry has on Central Florida. From the creation of simulated cutting-edge surgical procedures to sophisticated simulated medical applications, MS&T is a catalyst for jobs and capital investment in the region.


“Mayor Jacobs’ Blue Ribbon Commission on MS&T created the Florida Simulation Summit to help demonstrate how the MS&T industry is vital, not only to our local defense industry, but to many industries throughout our community,” said President and CEO of the NCS, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Baptiste.


“The commercial application of simulation technology can help grow our diverse local industry sectors in new and exciting directions.”


The lineup of speakers included industry experts from Florida Hospital, Orlando Health, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Veterans Health Administration, United States Tennis Association, EON, Syndaver Labs, Engineering & Computer Simulations, Guidewell Innovation, LLC, CAE Surgical, the University of Central Florida and the Orlando City Soccer Club.


Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine Board Chairman Dr. Jeffrey Gold was the opening keynote speaker and discussed the use of simulation and virtual reality to educate and prepare students for real-life scenarios in the medical field.


Dr. Thomas Graham, Tavistock Group Chief Health Strategy & Innovation Officer and Chairman and CEO of HEMISPhere Global, shared information on health and wellness innovation strategy within Medical City during the lunch keynote presentation. He also spoke about his experience as a renowned surgeon.


He previously served as a hand surgery consultant and team physician for numerous major league sports organizations.


Chairman of Mayor Jacobs’ MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission Waymon Armstrong; U.S. Congressman John Mica and Florida Simulation Summit Chairwoman Beverly Seay provided opening remarks and introductions. President and CEO of the NCS, retired Air Force Lt. Gen.


Thomas L. Baptiste provided the closing remarks at the Summit. Secretary of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald was also in attendance. The robust MS&T sector contributes more than $6 billion to Florida’s gross state product and directly employs more than 30,000 Floridians with an average annual salary of almost $79,000.


The Central Florida Research Park, located next to the University of Central Florida, is the epicenter of the MS&T industry and fosters collaboration, cooperation and partnership between academia, industry and government.


By working with the County’s many industry partners, including Orange County’s MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission, the Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida High Tech Corridor, Team Orlando, the City of Orlando, Central Florida Research Park, the National Center for Simulation, the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force and the Orange Technical College, Central Florida is investing in the future of this high-tech industry.


Recognizing the importance of the MS&T cluster’s presence in Central Florida, the state has appropriated $42 million over a three-year period, which will help mitigate the rental costs at Central Florida Research Park.


Many lawmakers championed the efforts to secure funding for this high-value, high-wage industry including Gov. Rick Scott, Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.



Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at