Dan Torgler currently serves as the Marine Corps System Deputy Program Manager for Training Systems for the Marine Corps System Command and has more than 25 years in procurement of training systems for the Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. As part of the team that stood up PM TRASYS in 2001, Torgler has also been involved with Team Orlando since its inception.
As one of the original members of Team Orlando, Torgler has a clear recollection of those earlier days. “We (PM TRASYS) stood up in 2001, had a $20m budget and less than 5 employees,” added Torgler. “There’s no way we could have met all our needs with so little funding, so we had to leverage and use Team Orlando as a business.” Torgler smiled, “We used the C.A.S.E. method: Copy And Steal Everything! That was our business model.”
Torgler grew up not far from Orlando, in Merritt Island, and as a graduate of University of Central Florida, he has seen the growth in the area. “I was recruited right out of UCF, and I’ve had the opportunity to work on many different projects,” said Torgler. “I was working for the Navy, when doing my Marine Corps rotation at Quantico, and they asked me to come to Orlando to help move our organization down to Florida.”
For Torgler, although the move back home was a no-brainer, he says this job has been one of his most challenging, and today, when budgets are shrinking, managing growth and expectations, will still be tough. “We’re going to have to produce more with less now,” Torgler explained. “It’s more prudent than ever before for us to actually do more together. We need to continue to combine and collaborate across the services, including non-DOD, to still meet our needs.”
The challenges will get even harder as they figure out innovative ways to tackle these upcoming ‘lean years.’ With budget cuts looming in every area of defense spending, an already low budget for training will take some cuts. “This will be our next big hurdle,” Torgler said of these cuts.
But the growth of Team Orlando has helped to put Orlando on the map, now seen in a national scope as a hub for simulation. “What we didn’t have in the past is the recognizability that we have now,” said Torgler of Team Orlando’s presence and stature. “Team Orlando has helped all of us grow our businesses. Working together we field projects quicker, save the tax payers money and most importantly, we’re producing the best training products for warfighters.”
Furthermore, this ‘best kept secret in Orlando’ has captured the attention of the State of Florida and University of Central Florida, both of which have shown their support and used their influence to continue Team Orlando’s growth, supporting things like the Partnership buildings built on UCF’s campus that house Team Orlando members and the National Center for Simulation. Torgler noted the state has made these important investments, focusing now on the advanced technologies as an important part of Central Florida’s infrastructure, redirecting the energy once used to support tourism and agriculture for Florida’s economy.
“I think the biggest acknowledgement of our Team Orlando success was when we started getting non-DOD organizations to invest time and money in these partnerships,” said Torgler. “They have a vision for Florida and they want to keep us here.”
The growth of PMTRASYS throughout the years has kept Torgler busy, and although he is extremely satisfied and successful in his job, like most he has an outlet for stress relief — if one would consider coaching youth sports a stress reliever?
“I love coaching youth sports, and depending on the season we’re in – soccer, volleyball, basketball and baseball – that’s the sport I’m coaching,” said Torgler. “I am an extrovert and I get my energy from being around people. But I especially love coaching kids because they’re like sponges and take in everything! You can actually see them grow.”
Torgler and his wife have two sons, both of whom he has coached in various sports. And the hardest part about coaching your own kids? “Probably trying to make sure that people feel like you’re not giving your own kid preferential treatment,” said Torgler. “But then my kids would say I treated them worse and was harder on them. I guess I may have gone a little overboard to make sure that no one thought that.” But he added that coaching his own kids wasn’t the hardest part of youth sports. “The parents are the hardest part of coaching!” said Torgler with a smile.
Whether his youth sports experience, his Team Orlando involvement or leadership at PMTRASYS, Torgler has seen success across the board. He also knows that for continued success and continued growth, collaboration and connections across services and industry are key. “We are all on this common mission,” said Torgler. “Even though we will be forced to do more with less, we still need to be good stewards of the tax payers’ money, focus on what all of us are already doing and then how best we can work together to fill the gaps.”
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