By Dolly Rairigh Glass
NTSA President RADM (Ret) James Robb presents Kent Gritton with his award. Courtesy of EPNAC Photography at I/ITSEC 2015

NTSA President RADM James Robb, USN (Ret) presents Kent Gritton with his award. EPNAC Photography at I/ITSEC 2015

Capt. Kent Gritton, USN (Ret.), director for Joint Training Integration and Evaluation Center (JTIEC)/Team Orlando and founder of the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C), was recognized during the 2015 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference as the winner of the NTSA Modeling and Simulation Award for Training, for his vision, leadership, and hard work in the formation, growth, and evolution of the SGS&C. This year marks the 10th anniversary for the challenge.

“What an unexpected surprise!” Gritton told his fellow SGS&C committee members. “My heartfelt thanks to all of you. I definitely accepted this award on behalf of all of you.”

Capt. Wes Naylor, Naval Support Activity and Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) commander, said that Gritton is a true serious games visionary.

“Before others even thought about how we could bring this great technology to bear, Kent was deeply immersed in pioneering training solutions in this arena,” Naylor said. “Kent continues to innovate with his stewardship of Operation Blended Warrior at this year’s I/ITSEC, and I have no doubt that he will continue to be a driving force in bringing serious gaming and cutting-edge technologies to meet the toughest training challenges that our forces face.”

More than 10 years ago when, immediately following the 2015 I/ITSEC, then commanding officer for NAWCTSD, Capt. Larry McCracken, requested a “special” special event to address issues with regard to serious games.

Gritton knew that serious gaming would play a vital role in the future of training, and upon securing the support of his command, and building a team who also believed in the growing market, he and his band of believers made their way to the I/ITSEC Executive Board to seek support to begin the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge.

Gritton said that Amy Motko, Carley Corporation’s vice president and chief operating officer, played a vital role in getting the early buy-in of the I/ITSEC executive committee and helping to set the stage and excitement for the long-term commitment from NTSA and I/ITSEC.

“Many of us on the SGS&C IPT have been involved on various levels over the years, but Kent has been the foundation, strength, and visionary for all 10 years,” Motko said. “Without Kent, there simply wouldn’t be a Serious Games Showcase & Challenge.”