LEADERSHIP

Elizabeth Burch, President/CEO

Ms. Elizabeth Burch is President/CEO and majority owner of Dignitas Technologies since 2009. She began her career in the early ’90s from being a software engineer and the Program Manager of numerous complex simulation systems to currently running a successful small business. Before Dignitas, Elizabeth held the position of Senior Program Manager and Assistant Vice President of Program Management at SAIC in Orlando, FL for 16 years.

 

Her specialization is in MS&T for research, development, and production contracts. Elizabeth’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from UCF, management courses from George Washington University, and the Defense Management Acquisition University. Elizabeth has been presented with numerous awards in simulation, including the 2013 SBA Woman-Owned Business Person of the Year for the State of Florida, and supports many industry and charitable organizations as an advisor.

Jon Watkins, COO

Mr. Jon Watkins is the founder, co-owner, and COO of Dignitas Technologies. He started his M&S experience in the early ’90s by deciphering the SIMNET TDB format for PC-based research on GCFs. While he has worked in many disciplines within M&S, he has a particular interest in CGFs, virtual simulation, SNE, and lightweight simulators.
 

Beyond executive leadership, Mr. Watkins oversees project PMs, cross-project coordination, and continues to serve as PM on selected programs, and is sought after as an expert in M&S SNE. Mr. Watkins also supports company business development activities and has been directly responsible for bringing in a wide array of research activities across multiple customers.

Bob Burch, CTO

Mr. Bob Burch is the CTO of Dignitas Technologies. Mr. Burch has a wide range of simulation experience, from simple maintenance trainers to aircraft cockpit simulators, to large complex constructive systems. From the start of his career in the 80s, Mr. Burch’s simulation experience focused on virtual system architectures, executive scheduling systems, concurrent systems, simulation time management, hard real-time performance and monitoring, computational resource utilization, modeling frameworks, and I/O systems. His constructive experience has been in technology leadership positions of the Army’s two largest Computer Generated Forces systems: CCTT SAF and OneSAF.
 

Mr. Burch has been the Chief Scientist, Software Architect, Architecture Modeler, and System Architect of numerous programs, providing key guidance and proactive simulation performance modeling. He has practical experience with Product Line Architecture development and provides technical guidance on numerous advanced simulation research initiatives in AR/VR, Cyber Training, and Adaptive Learning.

Greg Dukstein, Director of Engineering

Mr. Greg Dukstein is the Director of Engineering at Dignitas Technologies. He manages research and development projects for PEO STRI and RDECOM customers. Mr.Dukstein brings experience in professional leadership and technical development on complex real-time and simulation systems. He has worked on virtual and constructive simulation systems with a focus on Semi-Automated Forces (SAF), Synthetic Natural Environments, Dynamic Environments, and SAF terrain database development.

Mr. Dukstein has leadership experience at all levels from small software development teams to chief engineer of a major simulation program. As technical lead, he has experience in project planning, estimation, managing project plans and timelines, and working with customers on requirements definition and project execution. He has served roles such as software developer, systems engineer, team lead, and Chief Engineer. 

Marlo Verdesca, Director of Programs

Ms. Marlo Verdesca is the Director of Programs and Business Operations Manager at Dignitas Technologies. She brings professional and technical leadership, as well as business operation experience. Her program management experience includes knowledge of management principles and practices in leadership, accountability, and mutual cooperation. She is part of the winning team on numerous proposals and has effectively managed small and large-scale simulation programs for the U.S. Army in the virtual and constructive domains. She has a strong process understanding and execution experience with CMMI Level 5 and ISO 9001.

 

Ms. Verdesca has held the position of OneSAF Deputy PM, SE Core A&I Deputy PM, and Deep Green Deputy PM. She has successfully supervised geographically dispersed subcontractors for large research and development programs for DARPA. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from UCF and numerous management certificate courses in the field of Program Management.

Susan Fernandez, Business Development

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Ms. Susan Fernandez is Director of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development. Serving on the executive team at Dignitas Technologies, Ms. Fernandez supports company growth initiatives through strategic planning that includes marketing, new business opportunities, and relationship development and engagement. Prior to this role, Ms. Fernandez served as the Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Government Relations at Mitsubishi Power Systems, where she led corporate communications, public and governmental relations, and developed strategic growth and alignment initiatives with C-Level colleagues. Before her work with Mitsubishi, Ms. Fernandez was a Regional Director in the U.S. Senate where she oversaw collaboration with professionals in the MS&T, Space, and other industries.
 

Ms. Fernandez received her Bachelor of Arts at Rollins College and completed an executive education program at Harvard Business School. Ms. Fernandez has also supported numerous organizations, including Rollins College Hamilton Holt School Board of Advisors, Seminole State College Board of Trustees, and the Crossroads Corral board.

Shannon Baran, Contracts Manager

Ms. Shannon Baran is the Contracts Manager at Dignitas Technologies. Her background includes full life cycle activities for contracts and subcontracts, including proposal submission, negotiation, management, and closeout for multi-million dollar funding portfolios. Ms. Baran’s unique contracting experience in both the public and private sector has exposed her to a wide range of contract and acquisition types from Federal, State, For-Profit, and Non-Profit customers, and a multitude of contract compliance issues.

 

Ms. Baran is an active member of the NCMA and has held multiple positions in the Mid-Florida chapter, including President and Treasurer. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science and Master in Business Administration from UCF.

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Eliana Booker, Finance Manager

Ms. Eliana Booker is the Finance Manager at Dignitas Technologies. She has experience in company finances through managing employee payroll, purchases, and travel. Ms. Booker manages company accounts and works closely with both large and small scale programs by submitting invoices, reviewing costs, billing, and assisting with financial analysis for the company executives.

 

Ms. Booker is a key member of the administrative team assisting with the implementation of business technology and improving financial processes to be CMMI level 3 compliant. She has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from UCF.

Patricia Markuck, Human Resources Manager

Ms. Patricia Markuck is the Human Resources (HR) Manager for Dignitas Technologies. Ms. Markuck is responsible for all on-boarding activities; recruitment; training; compensation analysis; benefits administration; compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations; and monitors the performance evaluation program. Ms. Markuck also works with the Executive team to develop and implement policies and procedures. Prior to joining the company, she managed her own law firm for over 10 years. 

  

Ms. Markuck has a Bachelor of Science in International Business from Western Carolina University and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University. 

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