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ABOUT US

History

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Virtual Heroes was founded in January 2004, and through the efforts of its impressive team of creative, technical, and artistic talent, Virtual Heroes quickly won recognition and awards by establishing itself at the nexus of cutting-edge game technologies and world-class production values. From the beginning, Virtual Heroes’ approach to interactive instructional design and experiential learning has focused on simultaneously inspiring and educating across the enterprise. Our highly immersive, dynamic and fun content links learning objectives to measurable performance outcomes.

In April 2009, Virtual Heroes Inc. was acquired by Applied Research Associates, Inc. The Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates, with team members in Raleigh, North Carolina and Orlando, Florida, creates collaborative interactive learning solutions for the healthcare, federal systems, and corporate training markets, along with live training solutions and synthetic virtual environments for the government space. Our team has created many GOTS solutions for government customers in the areas of large-scale terrain, automated building generation, and synthetic environment export to a wide range of training platforms. Virtual Heroes’ Advanced Learning Technologies (ALT) platform leverages simulation learning and digital games-based learning paradigms to accelerate learning, increase user proficiency, and reduce training costs.

TEAM

Leadership

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  • Randy Brown | VP & Division Manager

    Randy Brown | VP & Division Manager

    Mr. Randy Brown is the Virtual Heroes Division Manager at Applied Research Associates, Inc., creating immersive training and education content for commercial, medical, and government customers.  Randy has over 25 years' experience in the software development industry.  Prior to joining Virtual Heroes, Randy developed interactive 3D graphics software at Amoco, Digital Equipment, Ex Machina, Data General, SAS Institute, Southpeak Interactive, and the Research Triangle Institute of North Carolina.  Randy has worked with a wide range of commercial, government, and private organizations, directing content related to science, oil exploration, graphics libraries, visualization, training, education, simulation, and gaming.  Randy holds an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.S. in Computer Science from Oklahoma State University.

  • Ingrid Silva | Assistant Division Manager

    Ingrid Silva | Assistant Division Manager

    Ms. Silva is the Virtual Heroes Assistant Division Manager at Applied Research Associates, Inc., directing and overseeing daily operations of the division.  She has been in the modeling and simulation industry for 18 years, 15 of those with Applied Research Associates.  Prior to joining ARA, Ms. Silva worked at the Bank of New York.  Ms. Silva specializes in financial and proposal management.

  • Oliver Gray | Game Programming Lead

    Oliver Gray | Game Programming Lead

    Mr. Oliver Gray is the Game Programming Lead for the Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates, Inc. He has worked at Virtual Heroes in the serious games industry for 7 years, working exclusively with the Unreal Engine. Prior to joining Virtual Heroes, Oliver attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to earn his Bachelor of Computer Science, then attended North Carolina State University to earn his Masters in Computer Science.

  • Brad Willson | Game Design Lead

    Brad Willson | Game Design Lead

    Mr. Brad Willson is the Game Design Lead for the Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates, Inc.  A nine-year veteran of the game industry, Brad began his career at Rockstar San Diego as a Development Support Supervisor, where he worked on various commercial game titles including the Midnight Club series, Table Tennis, and Red Dead Revolver.  He joined Virtual Heroes in 2006, with the goal of incorporating his commercial game experience into games that had a true altruistic focus.

    At VH, Brad works to create, drive, and deliver the overall creative vision for the numerous serious games in development.  Brad creates compelling software designs from conflicting viewpoints, communicates the designs to the development team, and translates the designs into detailed software mechanics, gameplay progression, and interface flow.  Brad holds a B.S. in Wildlife Science from Purdue University.

  • Tim Walker | Technical Lead & Program Manager

    Tim Walker | Technical Lead & Program Manager

    Mr. Walker is the Virtual Heroes Division of ARA technical lead and program manager for the Assimilation of Sources for a Cohesive Environment Description (ASCEND) program.  Previously, he served in the same role for the Interactive Terrain Generation (ITG) software suite, including the Rapid Unified Generation of Urban Databases (RUGUD) tool, the Urban and Underground Model Generator (U2MG) tool, and the Virtual Infrastructure Protection Editor (VIPER) tool.  Prior to his time at ARA, Mr. Walker worked on the CCTT PPSS project for three years, applying previous coursework in graphics and simulation to design/implement new requirements and otherwise maintain the CCTT SAF simulation system.  He also worked with the OTB Army team for one year, implementing HLA interactions and introducing functionality required to effectively use the CTDB terrain and MSDE scenario formats.

  • Wesley Milks, Ph.D. | Group Leader

    Wesley Milks, Ph.D. | Group Leader

    Dr. Wes Milks is a Group Leader for the Virtual Heroes Division in Orlando. He has over 20 years experience performing systems engineering and architecture development for large, software-intensive systems. He was chief architect for the Common Training Instrumentation Architecture (CTIA) and Warfighter Simulation (WARSIM) programs. He was also selected as the Standards Category Coordinator for System Design & Architecture coordinating architectural standards for Army simulation systems. In addition to architectural work, Wes performs operations research and experimental analysis including leading the experimental design, data collection, and analysis for DARPA's Real-time Adversarial Intelligence and Decision making (RAID) project. Wes holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio Northern University, an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M, and a Ph.D. focused on Operations Research from the University of Central Florida.

  • Marcia Clover | Senior Producer

    Marcia Clover | Senior Producer

    Ms. Marcia Clover is a Senior Producer for the Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates, Inc.  With almost 20 years in the interactive and e-Learning industry, Marcia is very passionate about leveraging technology and user experience design to deliver effective and impactful learning experiences.  Throughout her career, Marcia has designed, developed, and managed many projects, including those in the pharmaceutical, retail, advertising, and real estate industries.  She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and an M.S. in Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

  • Jeff Lyons | Group Leader

    Jeff Lyons | Group Leader

    Mr. Jeff Lyons is a Group Leader for the Virtual Heroes Orlando office of Applied Research Associates, Inc.  Jeff has been with Applied Research Associates since 2006, specializing in simulating weapons effects in real-time for the live, virtual, and constructive domains.  Jeff's accomplishments include helping to develop a complex radar simulation for the F-35 radar system.  In addition to having expertise in modeling and simulation, Jeff is well-versed in engineering design and analysis, holding a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Florida State University and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

ACHIEVEMENT OF EXCELLENCE

Awards & Accolades

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  • Client NASA Logo

    2011 NASA Group Achievement Award

    (Moonbase Alpha)

    NASA’s most prestigious awards are presented to a number of carefully selected individuals and groups of individuals, both Government and non-Government, who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the Agency’s mission. After a rigorous review, NASA’s highest officials present medals and certificates at the annual awards ceremonies at NASA Headquarters and Centers.

  • Orlando Business Journal Logo

    2018 Largest Technology Company

    Orlando Business Journal

    Virtual Heroes Orlando has ranked on the Orlando Business Journal’s list of Largest Central Florida Technology Companies. We develop an array of modeling and simulation technologies, such as 3D virtual worlds, serious games, and terrain-modeling software, for training and education.

  • Orlando Business Journal

    Largest Mod/Sim Companies for 2015 - 2017

    Orlando Business Journal

    Virtual Heroes Orlando has ranked on the Orlando Business Journal’s list of Largest Central Florida Modeling, Simulation, and Training Companies. For 15 years we’ve been developing high-fidelity synthetic virtual environments for the Orlando military training community.

  • 2017 Innovation Award

    2017 Innovation Award

    (MS&T Magazine)

    The Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates has been named an Innovation blue-ribbon winner in the 2017 Industry Simulation & Training Awards.

  • 2017/2018 Gamification Top 20 Company

    2017/2018 Gamification Top 20 Company

    (Training Industry)

    Training Industry in Raleigh, North Carolina named Virtual Heroes as one of their 2017/2018 Gamification Top 20 Companies.

  • 2016 Best Business Game, I/ITSEC, Serious Games Showcase & Challenge

    2016 Best Business Game, I/ITSEC, Serious Games Showcase & Challenge

    (Post Attack Reconnaissance)

    Virtual Heroes’ Post Attack Reconnaissance (PAR) Virtual Training game won the Best Business Game category at the Interservice and Industry Training, Simulation, & Education Conference (I/ITSEC).

  • 2011, 2013-2017 Top Game Developer

    2011, 2013-2017 Top Game Developer

    (Triangle Business Journal)

    The Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina has selected Virtual Heroes as one of the Top Game Developers, ranked by the number of Triangle-area employees, in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

  • 2015 International SERIOUS PLAY Conference Awards

    2015 International SERIOUS PLAY Conference Awards

    (Combat Medic)

    This recognition program honors outstanding titles that deliver a high quality of engagement and measurable training or learning opportunities. The Serious Play Conference is produced by the Serious Games Association, an international organization for the entire serious games industry.

  • Best Places to Work for 2015

    Best Places to Work for 2015

    (Orlando Business Journal)

    Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) has been named one the Orlando Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2015. The lists rank Orlando’s top employers, as voted by employees. Over 8000 employees in Central Florida answered an anonymous employee survey, dealing with such topics as benefits, work environment, and teamwork.

  • 2008 & 2009 Wake Tech Business Leader

    2008 & 2009 Wake Tech Business Leader

    (Computing & Engineering)

    In 2008, Virtual Heroes collaborated with Wake Technical Community College and Eisai Pharmaceuticals on the NC BioNetwork Project wherein 10 students learned how to create a video game to provide a controlled and instructive training environment for Eisai Pharmaceuticals’ tablet manufacturing process. In sponsoring this program, Virtual Heroes contributed to a pool of skilled potential employees.

  • 2005-2007 Military Training Technology

    2005-2007 Military Training Technology

    (MT2) Top Simulation & Training Companies

    Virtual Heroes creates collaborative interactive learning solutions for the federal systems, digital health and corporate workforce training markets. The company advances instructional design, digital engineering, project management, modeling and simulation, courseware development and assessment to provide unprecedented immersive training experiences.

  • 2011-2017 Military Training Technology

    2011-2017 Military Training Technology

    (MT2) Top Simulation & Training Companies

    Military Training Technology Magazine selected ARA and Virtual Heroes as a ‘Top Simulation and Training Company′. Sponsored by KMI Media Group, this annual process recognizes the companies that have made the most significant contributions to the training community with their products and services.

  • 2009 Global Business Coalition, Business Excellence Award

    2009 Global Business Coalition, Business Excellence Award

    (Pamoja Mtaani)

    The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) presented their 2009 Business Excellence Awards to eight innovative companies combating global disease. “These award winners are doing exactly the kind of thing that all companies can and should do.” said John Tedstrom, GBC’s President and CEO. “They don’t just talk, they take action. And their action saves lives.”

  • 2010 Best Government Game, I/ITSEC, Serious Games Showcase & Challenge

    2010 Best Government Game, I/ITSEC, Serious Games Showcase & Challenge

    (Moonbase Alpha)

    Virtual Heroes’ Moonbase Alpha STEM education-focused game won the Best Government Game category at the Interservice and Industry Training, Simulation, & Education Conference (I/ITSEC).

  • 2011 International SERIOUS PLAY Conference Awards

    2011 International SERIOUS PLAY Conference Awards

    (RoboMath)

    This recognition program honors outstanding titles that deliver a high quality of engagement and measurable training or learning opportunities. The Serious Play Conference is produced by the Serious Games Association, an international organization for the entire serious games industry.