Chief Executive Officer
John Hayward is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the DiSTI Corporation, one of the world’s most experienced Training and Simulation companies and home to some of the most respected products around the globe, including GL Studio® and VE Studio®. A visionary leader, he has brought his extensive knowledge in the realm of Training and Simulation to DiSTI to further the company’s growth, drive expansion while improving the customer experience. With a talent for building and leading strong teams around him, John has already successfully implemented groundbreaking new business models and developed business objectives to sustain long-term growth for the company.
Joe Swinski is a founding partner and President of the DiSTI Corporation. Recognized as an industry leader with more than 20 years of experience in the simulation and training industry, Joe began his career at the University of Central Florida Business Incubator, a landmark of central Florida’s simulation and training community. Joe pioneered the development and use of interactive Virtual Maintenance Trainers with the military and today DiSTI is the recognized world leader in this rapidly growing field that now is seeing dramatic commercial demand. Under his leadership, DiSTI has more than doubled its revenue and staff and launched numerous products including its flagship product, GL Studio, and virtual training software, VE Studio.
Chief Operating Officer
Alongside Joe Swinski, Bill, was an early pioneer in simulation instructional philosophies and network protocol standardization leading to the development of virtual maintenance training that has revolutionized the way operators and maintainers are trained on complex machinery. He leverages his passion for technology and buying power to ensure DiSTI delivers programs of the highest quality and best value for each and every program.
Chief Financial Officer
Kyle Menzel serves as the VP of Finance/Controller. He leads the finance team in delivering accurate value-adding financial information to support strategic business decisions. Recognized for his proven track record of utilizing technology to drive value-adding financial analysis, he brings necessary insight into data that helps drive strategic business decisions. Kyle brings the essential and best practices Big 4 public accounting experience, having worked at Ernst & Young. Having worked for Siemens, a Global 500 corporation, he brings financial management expertise that understands the challenges of both project-based profitability and leveraging analysis and financial tools to improve corporate efficiencies having led the Business Controlling Solutions Americas team.
Chris Van Duyne
Chris has been a trusted subject matter expert at DiSTI for 20 years. As the Chief Engineer at the DiSTI Corporation, Chris is a major stakeholder in tracking external technologies, tools, and techniques, along with internally influencing DiSTI’s technical solutions in proposals, designs, and implementations for both GL Studio and VE Studio product lines. Most recently, he has been instrumental in the evolution and successful design, architecture, and prototyping VE Studio-based projects using mixed reality display systems used militarily and commercially. In addition, Chris is also responsible for DiSTI’s VE Studio design, technical presentations, rapid prototypes, product support and upgrade tools. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida and is a regular speaker on VR/AR/Mixed Reality technology events held around the globe.
VP of Business Development
Steve Jackson is a Training and Simulation industry executive and recipient of the National Training Systems Association (NTSA) Governors Award for Lifetime Achievement in Training and Simulation with over 40 years of experience in a wide range of capacities, including business development, engineering, marketing, program management, and business operations. Focusing on defense-related systems, Steve leads DiSTI’s business development team in the identification, pursuit, winning, and management of new programs within DiSTI’s Virtual Training Solutions sector, covering aviation, land, and maritime systems for domestic and international customers.
VP UX/UI Technology
Chris Giordano has been a landmark employee at DiSTI since 1999, managing several of the company’s program for Boeing, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Lockheed, NASA, and The Space Ship Company. Upon starting as an engineer, he quickly moved into a program management position where he controlled nearly 60 different visual programs and product managed for all DiSTI’s UI development tools. Over the past decade, Chris has played an important role as DiSTI’s VP of UX/UI Technology managing the GL Studio business unit, where he develops global sales positioning, distribution channels and new market strategies. Chris holds bachelor degrees in Finance and Computer Engineering graduating with honors.
Director of Human Resources
As the Director of Administrative Services, Mary’s primary responsibility is the administration of the Human Resources functions at DiSTI, having held and maintained Senior Human Resources certifications since 2000. She has over 20 years of recruiting experience right here in Central Florida and has been instrumental in revising DiSTI’s approach to recruiting and retaining talent in the highly competitive capital of the simulation and training industry. In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree in business, a master’s degree in management and leadership, and an MBA, Mary Thies is also a member of the College of Engineering and Computer Science Experiential Learning Advisory Board for the University of Central Florida.
Director of Programs
An experienced Program Management professional with over 25 years of planning and delivering complex products, Tom Neary is the Director of Programs for DiSTI. He specializes in managing programs that leveraging COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) applications to deliver commercial results for military programs and implementing best practices to improve outcomes for commercial clients. Tom excels in shepherding programs through their entire Phase Life Cycle to deliver products and solutions that both meet and exceed expectations.
Director of Business Development
Serving as DiSTI’s Director of Business Development, Chris Worrell has been transformative in identifying new opportunities for the company. With a career in sales spanning over 20 years, Chris Worrell has brought his invaluable understanding of the defense market to guide DiSTI’s business development team. Over the course of his career, Chris has established a proven record of accomplishment for building relationships and exceeding sales and profitability goals, while working within high-performing teams to support organizational success. In Chris’s role as Business Development Director at DiSTI, he is responsible for strategic planning and pursuing opportunities within DiSTI’s defense-related businesses.
Chairman, Akoya Capital
Having spent more than 40 years in the in electronic information services and IT industries, John Regazzi currently serves as Chairman of the board of directors for DiSTI. John is also a published author, having written two books for information executives: Infonomics and the Business of Free and Scholarly Communications: From Content as King to Content as Kingmaker. In addition to his publications, he has also designed, launched, and managed some of the most innovative and well known information services in the professional communities including the Engineering Village, Science Direct, Scirus, Scopus, and many other electronic information services.
Having already served on several not-for-profit boards over the course of his career, Jim joined the board of directors for Akoya Capital in 2009. Jim Appleton has not only served on the faculty of the American Management Association, but has also been a frequent speaker on the subjects of organizational performance and business leadership at charitable, professional, and business events. An Economics graduate of Bowdoin College, Jim is a very experienced sales and is a P/L leader across two industries in addition to currently being on the Board of Directors for DiSTI.
Dos Rios Partners
Kevin Benoit is one of the four founding Partners of Dos Rios Partners and led the investment in DiSTI, as well as additional investments in Virtex, iKan, and Pro EM. Before forming Dos Rios, Kevin worked as an investment banker with Simmons & Company International and was a Vice President at Blue Sage Capital, where he was responsible for evaluating, structuring, diligencing, and modeling investment opportunities. Along with working extensively with Blue Sage’s investments in Environmental Design, Ashbrook-Simon Hartley, Parker Uniforms, Controlled Recovery (later R360 Environmental Solutions) and Primus Sterilizer, he also graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Finance.
Dos Rios Partners
Joseph Mercer is Vice President at Dos Rios Partners. In 2012, Joseph started his career as an Investment Banking Analyst at Raymond James where he advised on numerous transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, public offerings and private placements. He attended Baylor University, where he earned a BBA with Honors in Business Fellows, Accounting, Economics and Finance.
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