VSD evolved out of a predecessor company, Ventures in Strategic Design, which was founded in Virginia Beach in 2001. This predecessor business was focused on training development and specialized in creating multimedia products and computer-based training (CBT) systems for the U.S. Navy. It succeeded because of the expert knowledge base of the founders, their strong network of relationships, and their reputation for delivery among the major contractors and the lean–yet systematic–approach to training development.
In 2006, to capitalize on the increased and expanding demand from customers, VSD’s management team entered into a management-driven recapitalization transaction with Q.E.D. Systems Inc. (Q.E.D.), a local engineering firm that provides services to the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.
In 2007, it became apparent to management that the long-term viability of the existing marketplace for computer-based training systems would be disrupted by new technologies and economies. Until this time, the state-of-the-art training systems for all but the most expensive and risky capital assets (i.e. fighter aircraft and nuclear power-based on-board power generation and propulsion systems) were computer-based training and live training. Prior to 2007, these training solutions represented the most efficient and cost-effective means to train recruits on a wide variety of tasks. It quickly became apparent to industry insiders that technology–specifically computing power and virtual reality modeling–would soon advance to the point where simulation-based training solutions were economically feasible for broad-based application in the military training marketplace. VSD anticipated that CBT development volumes would decrease and that new emphasis would be placed on augmenting CBT and instructor-led training with the now more economical simulation systems. In order to have a business squarely centered on the emerging technology trends in the marketplace, management repositioned and retooled the company to design and build simulator-based learning systems.
Through 2008, VSD expanded upon its core competency in instructional design, curricula development, systems integration, and program management.At the same time, the company developed the capacity to design, build, and deliver highly sophisticated, integrated training and simulation solutions. The company’s initial sales targets were in the U.S. defense arena, though it was clear to management that the opportunities for the expanded operation would be global.
Mid-2009 marked the beginning of VSD’s international expansion efforts, with the strategic objective of positioning the company to win a sizable volume of sales in a targeted key international geography. The first area chosen was the Middle East, and specifically Saudi Arabia, where U.S. security interests and the scale of the planned military capability expansion was priority.
VSD’s investment in developing advanced training and simulation solutions has proven to be a very successful and revenue-accelerating initiative. In 2009 and 2010, the company won two advanced state-of-the-art simulator-based learning system contracts with the U.S. Navy on behalf of a Middle Eastern government.