On June 7, the National Center for Simulation held the induction ceremony for the Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame class of 2016, recognizing industry pioneers Ralph H. Baer, General (Ret) Gordon R. Sullivan, and William “Bill” Waite. The event showcased their stories, as well as the plaques that will honor them on the “Wall of Fame” located in the South Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center.

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Lt. Gen. (Ret) Tom Baptiste, NCS president and CEO, welcomes attends to the 2016 Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame induction at the Orange County Convention Center.

NCS Board Chair Steve Painter welcomed attendees before turning it over to NCS president and CEO, Lt. Gen. (Ret) Tom Baptiste to begin the ceremony. Baptiste took the opportunity to talk briefly about each of the 14 members that were inducted in the previous two years to share how each of them had impacted the modeling and simulation industry.

“The NCS Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame is our way of thanking and honoring these individuals for their singularly distinctive contributions to expanding state-of-the-art simulation,” Baptiste said. “These pioneers drove an evolution in the quality of simulation and have paved the way for a future limited only by our imagination.”

The first Hall of Fame inductee recognized this year was Ralph H. Baer. On behalf of their father, who passed away on December 6, 2014, Mark and Jim Baer accepted the award presented to them by NCS board member and 2015 Hall of Fame class inductee Hank Okraski.

Baer is known as the “Father of Video Games.” In his 50-year career, Baer developed foundational gaming technology that contributed to both military and commercial video technology. He recognized the potential of using television for more than program viewing, and developed the first interactive commercial gaming unit, Magnavox Odyssey. He later developed the electronic pattern-matching game Simon, followed by Super Simon.

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Brothers Mark (left) and Jim Baer (right) accept the award from Hank Okraski for their father.

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Major General (Ret) Karl Horst (center) accepts General Sullivan’s award from AUSA Sunshine Chapter President Wells Barlow, and Mary Trier, president of Capital Communications and AUSA Third Region President.

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Katie Waite (center), flanked by her daughters, Emily and Portia (right), accepts the Hall of Fame award on behalf of her late husband, Bill Waite.

General (Ret) Gordon R. Sullivan is current president and CEO of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), but will complete his term at the end of this month. Sullivan was inducted in recognition of his innovative use of simulation to design, equip, and train the United States Army. His policies and leadership redesigned and delivered, through the use of simulations, a new Army with new force structure, new tactics, new equipment, and new training that impacted the Army’s focus from foxhole to the industrial base.

Due to prior obligations in Europe, Sullivan recorded a video to thank the attendees and NCS, as well as Mayor Teresa Jacobs for her unwavering support of Central Florida’s M&S industry. Major General Karl Horst attended on Sullivan’s behalf to accept the award, and read a letter from Sullivan that said he was both honored and surprised of his selection to the Hall of Fame.

The late William “Bill” Waite was the final initiate of the 2016 Hall of Fame class. Waite was the founder of AEgis Technologies and over a professional career spanning five decades, was instrumental in the invention and evolution of M&S technologies, practices, and standards impacting a broad spectrum of M&S programs and activities.

Waite’s wife Katie, standing with her daughters, accepted the Hall of Fame award for her husband, who passed away last July. She said she never really knew the impact that her husband was making in the M&S industry until the outpouring of support and kind words last summer. Steve Hill, AEgis co-founder, also shared stories about his business partner and friend.

M&S Hall of Fame member profiles are on the NCS website, as well as nomination requirements, which are due each year by Oct. 31.

Photos from the 2016 NCS M&S Hall of Fame event can be viewed on the NCS Flickr account.