Along with two discussion panels with industry experts on digital twin technology and its application, and a tour of the OIA Terminal C Brightline train station, the summit will feature keynotes from Will Roper, former AF acquisition exec and Istari CEO, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) senior VP of multi-modal planning and environment, Brad Friel, and Christine Kefauver, senior VP of corporate development for Brightline. Register here

The National Center for Simulation (NCS) and Orange County Government will present the 2023 Florida Simulation Summit: Digital Transformation and the Airport of the Future on May 10 at the Hyatt – International Airport. The program will feature keynotes from Will Roper, CEO of startup Istari and former Air Force acquisition chief; Brad Friel, senior vice president for multi-model planning and environmental, GOAA; and Christine Kefauver, senior vice president of corporate development for Brightline. The Airport of the Future will bring attention to the growing uses of digital twin technologies, which has expanded to include buildings, factories and cities, not to mention the talk of people and processes.

“The Florida Simulation Summit synergizes our storied excellence in the development of military-based modeling and simulation with our area’s strong entertainment, gaming, transportation and overall tech industry development,” said George Cheros, NCS CEO. This event offers a program that features speakers and panelists from organizations making extraordinary advances developing and applying digital twin technologies. Attendees are also invited to an introduction to and tour of the new Brightline train.”

The Florida Simulation Summit began in 2015 and highlights the strong progress, synergy and development of Central Florida’s multibillion-dollar modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) industry as a showcase to the state, nation and beyond. With strong roots in the defense sector, over time MS&T has diversified into other clusters like life sciences, healthcare, sports, gaming and engineering. Additional industry experts will be announced in the coming weeks and will discuss the growing importance of digital twin technology and how Central Florida can utilize it and the region’s MS&T expertise to tackle present and future challenges.

Florida Simulation Summit Keynote Speakers

Dr. Will Roper

Dr. Will Roper is the founder and chief executive officer of technology startup Istari, Inc. Backed by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Istari is building the world’s first engineering metaverse, where all technology – from software to satellites – is created and certified completely digitally. Making innovation lightyears faster, cheaper, and greener is Istari’s mission.

A Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, Roper is also a board member and advisor of numerous startups and investment firms. He previously served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force and Space Force, overseeing $60 billion of annual technology development and operations for 5,300+ aircraft and satellites. A career innovator, he spearheaded the U.S. military’s first uses of artificial intelligence, digital engineering, venture capital investments, hypersonics, and sustainable aviation.

Prior to this, he founded the Pentagon’s secretive Strategic Capabilities Office, creating over $1.6 billion of advanced prototypes annually, including the world’s largest drone swarm unveiled on CBS’s 60 Minutes and at SXSW. Will began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Missile Defense Agency’s chief futurist.

Will has received the Pentagon’s and Air Force’s highest awards for public service. His features in Wired, Popular Mechanics, McKinsey & Co. reports, and his Matrix-inspired guide to digital engineering, “There is No Spoon,” continue to drive thought on technology and innovation.

He holds a bachelor’s and master’s in physics from Georgia Tech and doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University, where he studied string theory as a Rhodes Scholar.

Christine Kefauver

Christine Kefauver has over 30 years of transportation planning and policy experience in the public and private arena. As senior VP of corporate development, Christine’s focus at Brightline is to lead the efforts to connect Orlando to Tampa upon our completion to Miami. Previously Christine was the operations lead for HDR Engineering for the Southeast. In addition, she served as the Transportation Policy Advisor for Mayor Dyer at the City of Orlando for seven years. While at the City, Christine focused her efforts on advancing Central Florida’s first commuter rail line, SunRail and Florida’s High Speed Rail Program.

Christine serves on the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, is the Transportation Co-Chair for the Tampa Bay Partnership and is a member of the Orlando Economic Partnership.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Maryland and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida.

Brad Friel

Brad Friel is the senior VP of multi-modal planning and environment for Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. More information coming soon!

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