Cape Henry Associates (CHA) was recently awarded a one-and-a-half-year contract worth over $2 million. The contract calls for CHA to design products for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in support of their objective “to achieve the capabilities of fast autonomous sort, search of threats and exploitation in captured media.” Specifically, CHA will use the latest available technologies in machine learning and convolutional neural networks to build experimental platforms and algorithms tuned to process large DIA datasets and provide faster methods of analyzing captured media. CHA Chief Revenue Officer Chuck Wythe stated, “We’re honored to be working with the DIA on this key capability and look forward to putting the talents and abilities of our incredible staff to work for the benefit of our nation’s intelligence services.”
Eric Davis is our stellar Project Lead for manpower, personnel, and training development plans. That is, Eric is instrumental in the development of new and groundbreaking training and support mechanisms for our clients. He is a U.S. Navy veteran who is making a second career out of supporting our military via CHA, where he has now been for almost three years – ok, 2 years and 10 months (he’s a stickler for particulars).
It’s no surprise Eric’s favorite thing about working at CHA is the flexibility that all employees enjoy. It’s that flexibility that helps breed creativity and a passionate desire to provide our clients with the absolute best products. Eric, as project lead, not only benefits from that flexibility but fosters that creativity and fluidity in others. As humble as he is, Eric probably wouldn’t put it quite like that, but those of us lucky enough to work with him know it’s true.
Eric is fun and outgoing and loves a good laugh. Although he can be a man of few words if asked to discuss himself, he makes coming to work something to look forward to. We’re not necessarily saying Mondays are lauded, but Eric definitely makes it easier to say goodbye to the weekend!
Eric is married with four children ranging in age from 21 all the way down to 8. He is, understandably, incredibly proud of all his children from his oldest, Demetrius, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University and one of their rugby players, to his daughter who is a sophomore at the University of South Florida, to his two younger children who love soccer and track and field and excel at their school in Chesapeake. It doesn’t take long once you meet Eric to understand how important family is to him and how much he enjoys his time with them.
Eric’s hobbies, beyond his family time, include fishing and coaching youth sports. We love that Eric is so giving of his time to not only his family, but to other kids in the community. It’s truly a hallmark of who he is.
Eric believes CHA will continue to be at the forefront of training solutions for military and government customers in the future, propelled largely by C-ARTS, which continues to rack up accolades as it revolutionizes training for the U.S. Navy. We’re confident that with Eric on board CHA’s products and solutions will be innovative and defiant of expectations.
Eric thinks it’s a “secret” that he likes to work with his hands. But given that he loves to coach and fish, it might be more common knowledge than he thinks. Whatever the case, the next time you stop by the office find Eric and ask him about his favorite fishing spots. He may not tell you, but he might let you in on what lures he uses. Maybe. Who knows, maybe your questions will lead him down the rabbit hole to the next CHA training product. Eric’s mind works in truly flexible ways!
CHA’s innovative C-ARTS system is leading the headlines again. FOA, the Fiber Optic Association, Inc., featured an article about CHA’s newest technology in its September online newsletter. The article focuses on the way C-ARTS is changing how the Navy will train personnel going forward and announces that FOA, working with CACI International, is slated to provide fiber optic training within the C-ARTS-specific-designed Lighthouse system. In addition, FOA has received permission to offer fiber optics technician certification through the Navy’s COOL program. Yet another way CHA is revolutionizing military training.
This installment of “Who in the world of CHA” features Samantha Nerys, one of our very talented Human Systems Integration Analysts. Samantha, or Sam, has been with CHA for two years as of this past August. She spends her time here determining how many Sailors are needed where, for what purpose, and what training they’ll need to best support the capabilities of their current ship. This is especially close to her heart as Sam is a veteran of the Navy, having spent eight years serving her country and ending her career as an Operations Specialist 2nd class (SW/AW).
Sam says her favorite thing about CHA is the flexibility allowed for the crucial family/work-life balance. Since CHA very firmly believes happy, well-balanced employees are the best employees, we’re glad Sam finds this such a significant draw. Sam will tell you she’s extremely introverted, but we’re not sure we believe her. She does have a tendency to keep to herself and really observe when she first meets a new person, but once she knows you it’s like she’s known you forever! Absolutely every topic under the sun will come up and you’ll probably find yourself laughing quite a bit. In other words, she fits right in here at CHA.
When she’s not enlivening our offices, Sam stays extremely busy as the married mother of two active boys. She loves how busy they keep her, especially when they’re experiencing new things, like this year when the family explored Mexico together and swam with dolphins. When asked what her favorite thing is about her boys she said, “They are fearless and each day they help to ease some of my own fears!”
Speaking of fears (or not), Sam loves international travel. She feels blessed that the Navy sent her around the world for eight years and let her indulge in her obsession with international cuisine. She loves experimenting with the dishes she’s tried in other countries and won’t rest until she has perfectly recreated those dishes at home. She is ecstatic that now that she’s “turned civilian,” she has increased opportunities to explore the globe with her family. She also loves planning parties. Give her any excuse to celebrate and she’ll plan a huge party around it.
Sam loves what CHA is doing for the Navy and predicts that in five years we’ll be doing even bigger things. She believes that expanding our capabilities through our new C-ARTS endeavor will only open more doors for us and that our potential is limitless. You can understand why we think Sam is going to be with CHA for as long as she wants. With enthusiasm, dedication, and talent like she has, she’ll be instrumental in taking us toward that limitless potential.
We asked Sam to tell us something no one else at CHA knows. She responded with this little fact: she comes from a family full of military personnel, but she is the first (and only) woman in her family to serve. We think that deserves a party. Tell us the next time you’re coming to the office and we’ll have Sam plan one. It’s one of the things she loves to do, after all.
We’re focusing on one of our newer Project Analysts this time, Emily Trautwein. Emily has been a Project Analyst here at CHA since August, but she’s been with us for three years. She started in May 2015 as our receptionist before transitioning to the crazy job of being the vice president’s executive assistant from November 2017 until August of this year. Our vice president didn’t want to lose her, but we like to share the wealth and we’re thrilled she’s bringing her incredible talent to our Project Management Office.
Emily loves her co-workers, which is fortunate because we love her. She loves the mix of humor and fun combined with hard work that defines our workplace. She loves coming to work because she knows everyone is extremely dedicated to the job at hand while fostering a healthy and creative environment, all while working toward the greater purpose of supporting our military forces. While not a veteran herself, Emily enjoys working in support of our military.
We asked Emily how she would describe herself and she initially demurred saying, “These [types of] questions usually trip me up since I don’t really know how to describe myself.” She agreed to let her family try. Her brother said she’s goal-driven, ambitious, caring, compassionate, and extremely intelligent. All things we’d agree with wholeheartedly! Her dad described her as “weird” and one who “enjoys silly humor yet can be very serious, and a perfectionist who loves to learn.” We’re beginning to understand why she fits in so well at CHA! Her mom said Emily is “smart and prepared,” which Emily attributes to her Eagle Scout father who repeated the Scout motto, “Be Prepared” regularly while she was growing up. She does always have some random or unusual tool available whenever needed so it seems to have rubbed off.
Speaking of family, Emily loves spending time with hers, and with her friends when she’s not working or hosting the family shih-tzus, Harpo and Libby (when they’re not running her mom’s or sister’s lives). You’ll often find her exploring First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, traveling, taking road trips, hiking, or reading and enjoying a good cup of coffee or tea. She’s likely to have a camera with her, as Emily loves photography.
Emily sees CHA staying quite busy with our current work regarding the innovative training system C-ARTS. She thinks the potential and applicability of C-ARTS will only grow and offer more, not just to the Navy but to all the military branches. She sees herself continuing to be part of its development and supporting the growth of this initiative.
While Emily may not know how to describe herself, she did share a couple of fun facts that even her CHA compatriots might not know. She used to be absolutely terrified of heights (and still isn’t a big fan), but she conquered her fear when she visited Notre Dame in France. Since it was her first visit to Europe, and since “everything worth seeing in Europe is tall,” she decided she’d better learn to scale the heights in order to be able to see what she wanted to see. This is Emily in a nutshell: she just won’t let anything stand in her way! It’s why we never want to lose her. Also, she shared that her birthday (December 5) is the same day as Walt Disney’s, which she figures is why she loves Disney movies so much. Now that we know this, we’ve got her birthday cake theme all picked out! Next time you’re in the CHA offices, track Emily down and tell her what your favorite Disney movie is. We’ll take a poll and get her a cake with the “winning” movie’s characters!
From brand-new to well-seasoned. We’re excited to feature a longtime CHA employee and member of our Project Management Office this time around. Scott Sones has been with CHA for 10 years (his anniversary is Sept. 22). He works with functional managers to provide project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and close-out functions. He’ll tell you it’s straightforward stuff, but juggling all those unplanned events and costs makes his job very interesting. We’re impressed he can make the craziness of the unexpected look so mundane!
Scott loves that CHA provides a small business feel with a sense of transparency and self-sufficiency. That, along with our clients, has made 10 years fly by very quickly. We’ve certainly seen Scott grow professionally in his time here and the skills and knowledge he has gained continue to make him a very valuable team member.
Although Scott would say his goal-oriented, analytical personality makes him seem aloof at times, we see his ability to focus so intensely on a project as an asset, giving us confidence it will be as near to perfect as it can be before our client sees it. He loves to analyze every aspect of something, to pick it apart and figure out exactly what it needs to be for a specific client. Couple that with a desire to understand why a client wants something means that Scott’s projects give the client precisely what they want. So, while Scott might think he’s remote and aloof, we know he’s simply so focused on our clients’ needs that we’re sure to deliver the highest-quality product to them.
Scott spent 20 years serving in the United States Navy and retired as a Senior Chief. When asked about his service, Scott describes it as his “good fortune” to have spent so long dedicated to his country’s needs, and truly enjoyed all the world travel he accomplished. But his absolute favorite things in life are his wife of 28 years, Paula, and their two daughters. Scott and Paula are fortunate to have both adult daughters living in the Hampton Roads area and they all meet once a week to catch up and stay connected. In between time spent with family, Scott and Paula love traveling around the region with friends, trying micro-breweries, and working on classic cars.
Scott is proud that while CHA has grown more technology-focused over the years as Lighthouse continues to evolve, we’ve maintained our core competency within the MPT domain. He believes that in the next few years CHA will develop computer-based training products and technological solutions not previously employed. It’s because of people like Scott that CHA will succeed in these fields and we look forward to his contributions as we move forward.
Scott claims to not have any crazy, fun, hidden facts. He describes his life as “relatively simple.” We think he may be a superhero in disguise, but will respect his right to keep that a secret. His deepest desire is to someday travel the world with Paula. He spent 20 years with the Navy traveling the world, but he wants to share those kinds of experiences with Paula. So, stop by and give him your favorite international destination next time you’re in the office. IF you can pull him away briefly from his intense focus on CHA’s stellar clients.
Cape Henry Associates (CHA) was recently awarded the 2018 MS&T Industry Awards’ Outstanding Innovative Product Award for its Lighthouse High Velocity Learning Environment (HVLE) product. CHA is the Lead Systems Integrator supporting PEO CARRIERS with the Carrier Advanced Reconfigurable Training System (C-ARTS) HVLE program. Military Simulation and Training Magazine (MS&T) is the leading simulation and training publication for the defense industry and is “committed to the development of simulation and training as a force multiplier for our highly capable warfighters,” according to its website. This is the 17th year MS&T has recognized industry forerunners for their innovation and dedication to the simulation and training field.
This year, three award finalists were hand-picked by a panel of MS&T editors and invited judges. Once the finalists were chosen, MS&T subscribers voted for the winners. Award winners will be featured in the September edition of the magazine. In addition, CHA will be honored for its achievement at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) at the end of November in Orlando, Fla.
CHA is honored to be the recipient of this award. “Recognition of our accomplishments by our peers is a humbling experience. We will continue to strive to produce the exceptional value and service to our clients that are at the foundation of everything we do,” said Chuck Wythe, CHA’s chief revenue officer.
This month we are featuring a nearly brand-new CHA employee, Kristen Dixon. Kristen is a Junior Instructional Systems Designer (ISD) here at CHA and describes her job as, “basically technical writing. I take information from manuals provided by the client and turn it into digestible, classroom instructor-led lessons.” She’s been at CHA for just three months, but has already ensconced herself in the CHA family.
Kristen loves that CHA is focused on what one can offer professionally while still fostering a family-style environment. She was seven months pregnant at her interview and loved that no one even batted an eye. As she says, “Not only did they hire me, they even threw me a baby shower.” Of course! CHA loves any excuse to celebrate our employees and their milestones!
Kristen is smart, quick-witted, loyal, and open-minded. She loves learning and making people laugh with her sarcastic commentary or sardonic sense of humor. Kristen will go to great lengths to support people or causes she believes in, and we’re glad she believes in CHA.
Kristen and her husband, Waymon, have been married since June 2017 and recently welcomed their son Luke into the world. Luke joins his big (dog) sister, Flurry, a gentle and loving pit bull mix. The whole family recently relocated to Hampton Roads from Clearwater, Florida. Kristen is a native Virginian whose parents are living the retired life in Norfolk, making this a perfect place for them. When not working her magic at CHA, Kristen enjoys the beach and pretty much any water-related activity. But she’s most happy hanging out at home in her pajamas with her dog, her husband, and that new baby boy. Who can blame her?
Kristen loves what she’s doing at CHA and sees a lot of growth potential, both in her job and in CHA. She hopes to be a part of the innovative, creative, supportive environment at CHA for quite some time. From what we’ve seen so far, she’s welcome!
One interesting fact about Kristen is that she can recite almost every word of the movie Fletch. Why Fletch? Next time you’re in the CHA offices, stop by Kristen’s desk and ask her.
Brittney Checchio is one of our brilliant junior instructional systems designers (ISD). Almost a year ago we managed to lure her away from the very noble career of teaching our next generation. After six years as an elementary teacher in high-poverty schools where it’s critical to establish safe and supportive environments, Brittney brought her talents to CHA where she provides support in the assessment, design, and development of high-quality training programs that exceed our customers’ expectations. Brittney loved the relationships she created with her students and their families, believing that where you can make a difference, however small, you should. Luckily for us, she decided she could continue to make a difference joining us at CHA.
Brittney’s favorite things about CHA are the culture and environment. Here, she finds the company values its employees and fosters the types of relationships that make coworkers more like family. She loves the support, encouragement, and respect we provide while we work together effectively and efficiently to achieve a common goal. It’s true we pride ourselves on creating and maintaining a work environment that fosters such dedication, but it’s easy when we have people like Brittney in the office. She is passionate, empathetic, and thoughtful. She enjoys making others happy, which means she gives everything she has to the job she does. Her integrity and authenticity foster a positive environment even in the fast-paced, dynamic area in which she works.
While Brittney herself is not a veteran, her “Papa” served 43 years in the Navy and various other family members have served well and honorably. The close connection she feels shows in her passionate dedication to creating and providing the best training programs for our military members. In June she married “the kindest, funniest, most caring, patient, and giving person” she knows. Funny, we’d say Brittney fits that bill herself!
When she’s not working out at Orange Theory, you might find Brittney at concerts or festivals or traveling. She enjoys crafting and novels (when she has the time), or forcing her very patient husband to watch all those reality shows you love to hate! She also spends time supporting her husband’s venture, 757 Sports Collectibles, a retail store on Virginia Beach Boulevard that sells – you guessed it – sports collectibles! See how she got us to give him a shout-out? That’s the type of support you get when you befriend Brittney.
CHA continues to grow because of employees like Brittney. She is confident we’ll continue to be recognized as one of the top companies in Hampton Roads because of our high-quality, innovative programs. We’re pretty sure we’ll accomplish this and more thanks in no small part to the incredible work ethic, drive, and proactivity of Brittney and the rest of our CHA family.
We asked Brittney what we should know about her that not many others know. She told us that she’s ridiculously afraid of balloons (maybe this is one of the reasons we were able to lure her away from the educational field). She’s so afraid, in fact, that she covers her ears if she has to walk past them. Another tidbit she shared is that she’s a huge *NSYNC fan. Huge. (Though she’s not a fan of Justin Timberlake’s solo ventures.) In fact, the only way we might lose Brittney is if the band decides to tour again (she’s already decided if that happens she’ll have to become a groupie). So, to forestall the groupie thing, stop by Brittney’s desk if you’re in the office and let her know how much you appreciate everything she does for CHA. Just don’t bring any balloons with you!
Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Admiral Bill Moran toured the Navy’s newest delivery approach to Ready Relevant Learning July 24 in the Carrier-Advanced Reconfigurable Training System (C-ARTS) at Cape Henry Associates (CHA) in Virginia Beach, Va. He was interested in the mobile and reconfigurable training delivery system, an advanced electronic classroom and associated lab packed with the latest virtual reality capabilities and built on technologies developed under the Navy’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program.
Specifically targeting CVN 78 training, Cape Henry Associates developed these state-of-the-art mobile training systems under the guidance of PMS 378L’s Training Manager as a potential part of the Sailor 2025 initiative. Admiral Moran formerly served as the 57th Chief of Naval Personnel where his duties included planning and programming for all manpower, personnel, training, and education resources for the U.S. Navy. Visiting and experiencing the new C-ARTS was an extension of his passion to ensure all naval personnel have the best, most effective training available. Admiral Moran shared that he enjoyed the presentations and his tour, including his interactions with the Sailors from CVN 78. He also shared that the 16-month concept-to-reality development schedule and innovative acquisition strategy was “really impressive” and offered the team encouragement. “Last year at I/ITSEC, I said I wanted a holodeck. We’re almost there.”
John Jackson, CHA’s chief executive officer, said, “It was a tremendous opportunity to show the Vice CNO how Cape Henry worked with real-world Navy customers to utilize our SBIR technology in support of the Navy’s strategic direction for training Sailors. We hope this visit demonstrated Cape Henry’s dedication to supporting the Navy through transition from legacy training modalities to enhanced techniques and technologies that drive Ready Relevant Learning (RRL) and the Sailor 2025 initiative.” The VCNO’s visit highlights the potential impact C-ARTS can have on bringing training capabilities into the 21st century and beyond.