Orange County, FL Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ Modeling, Simulation and Training (MS&T) Blue Ribbon Commission toured key downtown locations in a fact-finding mission that included stops at IDEAS and the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA/UCF) Center for Emerging Media. Leaders from seven Central Florida counties participated in an effort to gain knowledge of the critical MS&T assets that propel the region’s innovation-driven, high-wage, high-technology sector.
Mayor Jacobs formed the MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission to work in partnership with the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force (MODTF) and others in helping to protect and grow Central Florida’s MS&T cluster. The purpose of the MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission is to help defense partners tell the broader MS&T story to key audiences; to bring awareness regarding the highly synergistic nature of MS&T with other key sectors of our economy – including the medical, gaming, education, aviation-aerospace, animation/theme park, emergency management and public safety sectors; and to help educate key audiences about the reach, and diversity of this key economic driver.
“MS&T represents precisely the type of science-driven discovery and high-tech economic activity that is so vital to our future,” said Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Mayor. “In partnership with our eleven local military commands and numerous defense contractors, the economic strength resulting from our MS&T assets will allow Florida and our region to remain at the forefront of national and global innovation economies.
In the midst of Central Florida’s continuing economic recovery, a critical area of vulnerability still exist from sequestration “realignments” to future BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission) closures which would dramatically and negatively impact the MS&T sector and local economy. Without action, Central Florida could be looking at a second catastrophic blow to the economy, similar to the massive cuts that resulted from the end of the Space Shuttle program. Team Orlando has been identified as a high risk for significant realignment, meaning that our MS&T units are extremely vulnerable to being re-located to an installation in the competitor states of Alabama or Virginia.
According to Blue Ribbon Commission Chairman Waymon Armstrong, “As Chairman, I am deeply grateful for the work of our Congressional and state leaders, the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force (MODTF) and others in protecting against sequestration and additional imminent threats.” Continued Armstrong, “Working with Mayor Jacobs, it is my intention to lead the MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission in partnering with defense industry leaders, elected officials and others in helping to protect and grow our MS& T cluster.”
“We have a history working in the MS&T industry and we were honored to have Mayor Jacobs and her Commission here to show them a little about us,” commented John Lux, Chief Operating Officer of IDEAS. “Our CEO, Phil Ruggieri, is on part of the Commission so we are deeply invested in the MS&T industry and understand it’s importance in the Central Florida community and we’re happy to do anything we can to further strengthen our region in the MS&T industry.”
In September, Blue Ribbon Commission members toured “Team Orlando” joint military command installation and National Center for Simulation at the Central Florida Research Park. On December 2nd, a joint meeting of the MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission and the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force will be held at the annual I/ITSEC meeting. The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) is the largest gathering of its type in the world. Founded in 1966, I/ITSEC promotes cooperation among the Armed Services, Industry, Academia and various Government agencies in pursuit of improved training and education programs, identification of common training issues and development of multiservice programs. Click HERE for For more information.
Members of the MS&T Blue Ribbon Commission represent the broader seven-county region, including Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Polk, Brevard and Volusia counties. The commission will meet with the Central Florida Legislative Delegation next to discuss the upcoming 2014 session.
About Orange County Government: Orange County Government strives to serve its citizens and guests with integrity, honesty, fairness and professionalism. Located in Central Florida, Orange County includes 13 municipalities and is home to world famous theme parks, the nation’s second largest convention center, and a thriving life science research park. Seven elected members make up the Board of County Commissioners including the Mayor who is elected countywide. For more information please visit www.OCFL.net