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Kevin Mikalsen was recently appointed as the Central Florida Tech Grove Manager to lead the development of industry’s only innovation hub specifically oriented to support our national defense partners focused on Modeling, Simulation, Training & Human Performance.

The Central Florida Tech Grove is used as both a physical and virtual platform to increase collaboration and drive innovation within defense organizations situated in Research Park, with non-traditional solution-providers and innovators. It is unique in the MS&T/HP world as it’s the only collaborative agreement across military commands to support the acceleration of technology adoption from outside the DoD Commands. Tech Grove sponsors include the Naval Air Warfare Center Training System’s Division (NAWCTSD), U.S. Army PEO STRI, U.S. Marine Corps PM TRASYS, and the U.S. Air Force Agency for Modeling & Simulation, with additional organizations such as leaders in AI, national security and space defense joining in FY 22.

Mikalsen got his start in MS&T in 1990 working with DoD’s Training and Performance Center. He later worked with DiSTI, further cultivating his knowledge in maintenance training programs and leading the emergence of VR/AR as it impacted MS&T. That experience led to working with BeBop Sensors to help penetrate the MS&T market with haptic gloves for VR/AR training. Now at the Tech Grove, he aims to reframe how MS&T interacts with small and large technology organizations in industry to drive innovation and collaboration faster.

Said Mikalsen, “I look forward to building the capabilities of the Tech Grove and to leverage Team Orlando in identifying new technologies and capabilities through its regional ecosystem that will help our partners and customers. We also plan to use our physical and virtual facilities at the Tech Grove to support future collaboration and capability demonstrations and events for the community.”

“We want the Tech Grove to be a collaborative, social hub that connects our defense partners with UCF academia, our large OEM partners and non-traditional organizations driving innovation in the commercial world that can radically help us in defense missions. Likewise, there are great technologies that we can transfer to the commercial world as we ‘spin out’ technology from our MS&T/HP work to open new opportunities for commercial applications.”

For Mikalsen, the chance to join the Tech Grove was one he couldn’t pass up. “The opening and building of the Tech Grove and expanding its capabilities was a once in a lifetime opportunity; I had to jump on it. It’s been fantastic working with really brilliant, caring, and motivated members of Team Orlando, and the support from the ecosystem partners has been enthusiastic and so supportive.”

In his free time, you can find Mikalsen hitting the trails around Central Florida. An avid road and mountain biking cyclist, he enjoys cycling with other members of the Team Orlando community.

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