Author: Alex Soderstrom
25. September 2020


Slovakian contractor Virtual Reality Media launches U.S. arm in Orlando

When John Daniele led international programs for the U.S. Army’s simulation arm, he frequently worked with Slovakian training firm Virtual Reality Media A.S. (VRM Slovakia).

VRM Slovakia’s president always talked to Daniele about establishing a U.S. presence, but little did Daniele know that, years later, he’d be tapped to be its CEO. 

Daniele and Virtual Reality Media Inc. (VRM) in January launched operations as a U.S. spinoff of VRM Slovakia. Based in the University of Central Florida’s Research Park Innovation District, VRM has won its first contract and is actively pursuing others, with plans to create simulation industry jobs in Orlando. 

“I’ve been a part of the [Orlando] community for 27 years,” Daniele told Orlando Business Journal. “As the CEO, I want the company to be committed to the community as well.” 

A U.S. affiliate was attractive to VRM Slovakia because of federal contract regulations. It’s often the case that a foreign company can’t serve as the prime contractor on a U.S. defense deal, Daniele said. Instead, they serve as subcontractors to U.S.-based firms. 

However, VRM in Orlando can serve as a prime contractor when the Slovakian company cannot. In fact, VRM secured the first contract it bid on, a deal to provide virtual reality training for U.S. Air Force maintenance personnel stationed in the United Kingdom.

Plus, VRM has submitted proposals for three other larger contracts, Daniele said. “We’re doing pretty good for a three-man operation.“  

Winning any of those contracts means the firm would scale its local workforce. In fact, VRM will have between 12 and 15 Orlando employees by mid-2021, Daniele added. 

‘Known around the world’ 

Of course, defense work is important in the region, which wins about $4 billion in government contracts each year. A primary factor in bringing high-tech defense work to Orlando is its $6 billion modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) industry. 

“It isn’t just a tagline that Central Florida is the center of excellence for simulation,” he said. “It’s known around the world.”