VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – July 30, 2019 – Just over a year after being named the first-ever recipient of the MS&T Outstanding Innovative Product Award, Cape Henry Associates (CHA) will be featured in an upcoming campaign leading up to MS&T’s announcement of the 2019 award winners this fall.
Military Simulation and Training Magazine (MS&T) recognized CHA for its proprietary Lighthouse High Velocity Learning Environment (HVLE) technology stack, a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) technology purpose built to advance the capabilities of training systems and requirement analyses. It powers the Carrier-Advanced Reconfigurable Training System (C-ARTS), a mobile, scalable, reconfigurable training system that is part of the Navy’s Sailor 2025 Ready Relevant Learning (RRL) initiative. CHA’s chief revenue officer, Chuck Wythe, says that Lighthouse HVLE as utilized within the C-ARTS system “bridges the gap between brick-and-mortar schoolhouses –
the old style of training – and the Fleet by providing the opportunity for ready, relevant training that is brought to the Sailor rather than the Sailor having to go to it.”
In the last year CHA, with Huntington Ingalls Industries and other partners, has delivered two C-ARTS trainers to the Navy, and they are in use providing state-of the- art training to Sailors right at their home port. A third unit is in final fitting out, and a fourth is currently under construction.
In addition to the C-ARTS program, Lighthouse is currently being used in a DoD artificial intelligence project and continues to be adapted for even more uses. “Lighthouse HVLE is the most advanced, empirical data-driven training technology agnostic, reconfigurable, mobile learning solution available,” says Wythe. “The success Lighthouse has already achieved and the numerous ways it will be implemented in the
coming year are proof.”
Sometimes the stars align and you get a chance to sit down and chat with some truly fantastic people; happily, that’s pretty much every day here at CHA. Recently, we were able to talk with CHA’s vice president, Charlie Arrants, who graciously answered questions ranging from “What was CHA like back in the day?” to the reader-favorite, “Tell me something fun about yourself.” What came across more than anything is how much fun our vice president is having here at CHA.
“I love what I do,” were almost the first words out of Charlie’s mouth when we spoke, followed closely by, “It has been one of the most enjoyable, memorable experiences of my life.” Charlie first met CHA’s founder, Bill Allen, back in 2004 around the time CHA began. Shortly after, in 2006, Charlie joined CHA, the fifth employee to be hired. He has never looked back. He’s been through all the highs and lows that go along with growing a company from five employees to more than 150 employees. Along the way, he’s helped steer CHA from a company focused strictly on basic Navy training to one that is now paving the way in developing and utilizing state-of-the-art technology to serve many of our military’s training and manpower needs.
When asked what his favorite thing about CHA is, he quickly answered, “the people.” Seventy percent of CHA’s employees are former military. This gives the entire CHA team a unique insight into what its major military clients need and how to best meet those needs. According to Charlie, CHA’s greatest strength lies in hiring employees that are both reliable and “will give you more.” He went on to say, “We work for a higher calling. I know that sounds clichéd, but for many of us it is the reason we come to work.” At this point in his life, he doesn’t need to work. He could easily retire tomorrow, he says, but then he “wouldn’t have the joy of coming to work.” The fact that he goes to work with people who feel that same professional satisfaction is a big reason CHA has enjoyed the success it has.
C-ARTS ranks high on Charlie’s list of recent or ongoing CHA projects. With the Navy’s Sailor 2025 initiative, it’s clear the future of military training requirements lies less in traditional “brick and mortar” settings, and more in getting military members the training they need when they need and where they need it. That CHA, under the guidance of specific government leadership, was able to build and deliver the “most modern training facility ever made available to the carrier warfighter,” is something he is understandably extremely proud of accomplishing. Of course, being a ship manpower guy at heart, Charlie is also pleased with the work CHA does in that area as well. Manpower is, in his estimation, “the most expensive and most important component of any ship or system and the related life cycle costs.” While he’s seen multiple attempts over his 40+ years of experience, he’s very proud of how hard CHA is working on improving the base manpower for the existing crew members.
In five years he sees CHA “doing what we do best:” supporting the warfighter of today and tomorrow. Ten years from now is slightly trickier to predict as it depends on the needs of the nation, but Charlie is confident CHA will be there leading the way. When asked what project or idea he’d like to see CHA tackle he immediately answered, “Really, just providing the most advanced training we can deliver.” Precisely what CHA is already doing so successfully. “Great companies are known by how they react to change, not staying static, looking ahead of the curve. I hope CHA can continue down that path.”
Of course, we had to ask our venerable VP for some fun facts we could share. He told us he’s from the tiny town of Cleveland, Tennessee, outside of Chattanooga, but his accent kind of gives that away. So we pressed for more. He offered that he has been involved in three start-up companies, with CHA being the most successful one. OK…better, but we were looking for more. He told us he’s married to a wonderful lady, a veterinarian. Very cool – and possibly one of the coolest non-CHA jobs around – but we’re greedy. Finally, he provided us with this gem: he calls his 98-year-old mother every day. She was an English teacher, Charlie told us, and she still yells at him every time he uses words in the wrong way. Now that was worth the wait!
Cape Henry Associates (CHA) has been awarded a 12-month contract with United States Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) in support of Ready Relevant Learning (RRL) initiatives. The contract will run from June 2019 through May 2020 and provides Career-Long Learning Continuum Analysis and Support. The purpose of the USFFC effort is to identify and coordinate the career-long training requirements necessary for both the individual Sailor and the Fleet in order to provide for quicker learning and better knowledge retention.
“This contract award adds to CHA’s RRL-focused business portfolio alongside our other programs like the Carrier-Advanced Reconfigurable Training System (C-ARTS), and the continued development of our Lighthouse technology stack via DoD investment through SBIR Phase III contracts,” said CHA Chief Revenue Officer Chuck Wythe. “This win is in line with our vision for CHA’s involvement in the future of Navy training. We are looking downrange and there is nothing in that view that isn’t RRL, LVC, AI, and AR. Our long-term business strategies reflect that observation. Our internal R&D initiatives reflect that observation. Our product roadmaps reflect that observation. And now our training and training systems business growth are validating that observation.”
It’s hard to pin down Cape Henry Associates’ chief revenue officer, Chuck Wythe, but when you do, you’re always guaranteed a good chat. Recently, we had the privilege of spending some time with Chuck and catching up on where he sees CHA now and in the future.
CHA: Thanks for taking some time to chat with us today, Chuck. We just have a few questions. To start, what are some current CHA projects you’d like to ensure we talk about?
CW: Well, I think I can boil it down to my top three. First, C-ARTS, obviously. I know it’s a project that was big for us last year, but now it’s been tested and is in Fleet and has had some high-level visitors. It’s been a great product that we’re continuing to refine even as we’re taking orders for more. That program allowed us to make additional investment in our Lighthouse technology and add more features to the stack. It’s been well received; we are seeing the demand and we think it will be a large growth segment of our business going forward.
Second, I am excited about the recent developments in the AR/MR world, or what my daughter still calls the “magic glasses.” Microsoft has just come out with a new version of the HoloLens right as the Army signed a half-billion-dollar contract with them to provide hardware. The developments in this technology are just scary, powerful, amazing stuff right now and we’re pushing to tie in the obvious next step, which is AI use with the new hardware. So our already successful Lighthouse technology is going “next gen,” for lack of a better word. Development is moving faster than we expected and I’m excited about the opportunities to be in front of AI and AR collaboration.
Last, I think our development as a company makes my top three. We’ve had some recent contract wins that will leverage our Lighthouse tech but deliver containerized, deployable solutions for machine learning and AI. Three years ago, we would not have been discussing some of the most exciting technologies on the planet here at CHA. We are doing that today, though, and that’s a testament to CHA’s agility. It puts a smile on your face.
CHA: Speaking of AI and the AR/MR world, what’s CHA’s vision for the future of MR? Where does CHA envision taking the technology?
CW: I think, for CHA, we’re looking at the “low hanging fruit” for AR, the stuff that is an obvious application for us. For us, that means tools at the point of work. Envision a virtual helper, guide, or safety watch, if you will, for those who work in maintenance, safety, and related fields. That’s short-term, because the ROI is obvious. For the long term, we’re looking at the confluence of AR technology and machine learning and AI. The predictive analytics market is hot and it’s hard to imagine a better game-changing combination of technologies than the AR wearables with all the sensors and AI. It’s mind boggling, really. and not theoretical. The tech is here, and capable.
CHA: What are you most proud of right now?
CW: That’s a two-fold answer. On a corporate level, I’m so impressed by how CHA has transformed over the last couple of years. True, it’s been on a plan, but we’ve gone from a 100% services company to one that is split 50-50 between services and products. This has been incredibly challenging for our leadership team, but they’ve risen to that challenge and grown professionally. Then I’d say that I’m proud of how we’ve expanded our customer base. We’re not just a Navy company anymore, but have expanded to include more Navy program offices, as well as the Army and Defense Intelligence Agency. It’s just a fun time to be in tech and training again. After a 10-year lull, people are engaged and not so risk-averse. They want to see where tech can go and what they can do with it.
CHA: What are some of the upcoming events CHA will attend?
CW: We just got back from the Technical Exchange on Augmented Reality in Maintenance and Material Management (3M) conference in San Diego. That was just a great time. It was interesting and great to be there where they were showcasing new tech and to see what agencies are doing with it. We’ll be attending I/ITSEC again this year. I’ve been asked to serve on the Training subcommittee, which will review all the papers ahead of the conference. And we’ll be at the SBIR/STTR conference in Massachusetts in April. That’s what I know off the top of my head.
CHA: Thanks for taking time to sit down with us. It sounds like CHA has a lot of exciting things happening in 2019. Any final words?
CW: Just that I’m looking forward to the growth I expect for CHA this year. It’s an exciting time to be doing what we do.
Did 2018 seem to fly by for you like it did for us here at CHA? We were amazed when we realized it was already time to reflect on this year and look forward to 2019. Still, it was fun to take a stroll through CHA’s 2018 and look back on all that happened.
CHA was awarded some impressive contracts this year. With the first contract win, we partnered with FoxGuard Solutions, Inc. in support of a $4.2 million task order related to the Carrier-Advanced Reconfigurable Training System (C-ARTS). FoxGuard brought their considerable expertise to developing high-end computer systems for C-ARTS, which we’ll discuss more in depth later.
Then we were awarded an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) contract under which we will support the FAA by providing services to several functional areas, including Computer/Information Systems Development, Documentation and Training, and Engineering Services. CHA has worked hard over the last couple of years to expand our offerings and this contract win highlights just one of the ways we’ve worked to broaden our horizons.
CHA also was recently awarded a contract in service of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Under this one-and-a-half year, $2 million contract, CHA will design products using the latest available technologies in machine learning and convolutional neural networks to process large DIA datasets and provide faster methods of analyzing captured media. A mouthful maybe, but we’re honored to be working with our nation’s intelligence service in such a capacity.
Additionally, CHA was the proud recipient of a couple of awards this year. We were named one of Virginia’s Fantastic 50 for a second year in a row. This list highlights the 50 fastest growing businesses in the Commonwealth. We’re proud to be recognized for a second year and will continue to work hard to grow and expand in the future. In September, CHA was also recognized with the MS&T Industry Awards’ Outstanding Innovative Product Award for our Lighthouse High Velocity Learning Environment (HVLE) product. In addition to being featured in the September issue of MS&T, CHA was honored for its achievement in November at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Fla.
However, our biggest and most exciting news of 2018 was the completion and launch of the Carrier-Advanced Reconfigurable Training System. C-ARTS impressed all who had a chance to see it this year. Even the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran, made a trip to check out this impressive new training system. By the end of 2018, C-ARTS had started offering its first classes to CVN 78 crews and is well on the way to providing top-notch, state-of-the-art training to our entire Navy. We couldn’t be prouder of how C-ARTS turned out and can’t wait to do even more impressive work in the future. C-ARTS will make its way to its permanent home at Naval Station Norfolk next year.
As you can see, CHA had quite a year! But we don’t rest on our laurels here. We’re already hard at work on exciting new offerings for 2019. Keep checking back in for periodic updates and the chance to meet more of our impressive employees. CHA is only as strong as the talent and dedication of our people. Judging on what they’ve done so far, we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
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!
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!
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 it’s our pleasure to introduce you to Michelle Flordeliz. She is a Project Manager at CHA and is assigned as our Project Management Office’s (PMO) representative to our largest department, Training Development (TRADEV). One of a great group of big brains toiling away in the small meeting room PMO calls home, Michelle manages TRADEV like a pro. She is currently working on her PMP (Project Management Professional) certification and judging by how well she’s doing at CHA, we’re pretty sure she’ll have that certification in no time!
Michelle has been with CHA for almost three years (2 years, 10 months, but who’s counting?) and loves the camaraderie, flexible schedule, and work/life balance. She truly appreciates that management trusts you can get your job done without being micromanaged and is a huge fan of the honesty and transparency CHA is proud to provide. We think she makes it easy by being the ultimate team player. She is always eager to learn and is just about one of the easiest-going people we’ve ever met. Watch out though – she’s a wicked prankster (and can usually pull pranks and crack jokes with a straight face) and is willing to try anything once. We’re guessing it’s because she values education and training more than anything and everyone knows experience is a great teacher.
When she isn’t ensuring TRADEV’s project health, Michelle loves hanging out with family. As she says, “Family is a big deal! Family time is a huge part of life.” She and her family spend their time on the water, on their bikes, or on road trips when they aren’t shuttling back and forth between sporting events, practices, or school functions. In addition to all the family time, Michelle loves surfing, snowboarding (we’re pretty sure she travels for that), softball, and basketball. She isn’t just an athlete though; she’s also an avid fan. So much of a fan that she actually roots for TWO professional football teams: the Green Bay Packers and the Miami Dolphins. In between the sports she plays or cheers on, Michelle loves being on the water and at the beach. Add in music concerts and great food (she’s a self-professed “foodie” who loves to both taste and cook) and she’s just about the perfect resident for our neck of the woods.
Michelle herself is not a military veteran, but she has spent her entire career primarily in support of the DoD/Armed Forces. She is a veteran of government agencies, which makes her a perfect fit at CHA. Michelle believes CHA is making the strategic moves necessary to become a key player in areas other than our current wheelhouse. She is especially excited about the advances we’re making in regard to creating a more advanced approach to training – such as our C-ARTS and AR/VR efforts – and is proud to be a part of it.
It may not come as a surprise that Michelle is mechanically inclined, though she thinks it might. She loves taking things apart, seeing how they work, and putting them back together. She says she can diagnose an issue, dismantle an engine or other mechanical component, fix it, and reassemble it, especially if there’s a YouTube video she can reference. Not really surprising since she’s so passionate about training and learning new things, but if you’re in the office and want to challenge her mechanical prowess, feel free. After all, she’s willing to try anything once!