Setting the Standard: Celebrating the First 10 Years of The Open Group FACE™ Consortium

By Chip Downing, Senior Market Development Director of Aerospace and Defense, Real-Time Innovations (RTI)

This month marks the 10th Anniversary of The Open Group Future Airborne Capability Environment™ (FACE) Consortium.  It has been an amazing ride over the last 10 years, filled with memorable face-to-face (F2F) meetings, over two million minutes of WebEx calls and passionate technical and business discussions that covered all aspects of the FACE™ Technical Standard and Business Approach.

The FACE Consortium would not be the success it is today without the focused efforts of two people – Bob Matthews from NAVAIR/L3Harris and Judy Cerenzia from The Open Group.  These two individuals are the foundation of the industry monument that the FACE approach has become.  Their zeal drove the creation of a unique and powerful standard that showcases the commitment of government and industry to work together for the greater good.

Working in concert with Bob and Judy were FACE committee leaders from the military avionics industry that molded their vision into the highly functional and effective standard we have today.  All of these working group chairs made significant contributions to the standard and collaborated with hundreds of Members to create the library of FACE documents we have today.   Here is a list of these tremendous leaders:

Kirk Avery – Lockheed Martin

David Boyett – U.S. Army AMRDEC

Ben Brosgol – AdaCore

Terry Carlson – U.S. Army PEO Aviation

Joe Carter – U.S. Army PEO Aviation

Christine Collins – Lockheed Martin

Chris Crook – U.S. Army PEO Aviation

Rod Dailey – NAVAIR

James ‘Bubba’ Davis – NAVAIR, U.S Army CCDC Aviation & Missile  Center

James Doty – L3Harris

Fred Ducharme-Maymir – IBM

Rob Fleming – Northrop Grumman

Gabriel Flores – Northrop Grumman

Chris “Berk” Hoover – NAVAIR

Jeff Howington – Rockwell Collins

Margaret Horsfield – Rockwell Collins

Syl Jenkins – NAVAIR

Chris Kimmel – NAVAIR

Bill Kinahan – Sikorsky, Skayl

Bob Matthews – NAVAIR, L3Harris

Brendan O’Donnell – U.S. Army CCDC Aviation & Missile Center

Dennis Stevens – Lockheed Martin

Rob Sweeney – NAVAIR

Bill Thomas – Northrop Grumman

Everyone in the Consortium thanks these Members for stepping up to the challenge of managing vastly competing interests into a common vision of the future.  These leaders are an integral part of the over 1,900 individual Members within the FACE Consortium.

In addition to those millions of minutes of Webex calls I mentioned, the most memorable moments over the last 10 years for me were certainly the in-person FACE meetings at locations all over North America.   We have supported 60 F2F events in a wide range of locations, from the  Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center in Crystal City, Virginia, to the Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona,  to the Northrop Grumman corporate facility in Falls Church, Virginia – and — who could forget that funky hotel in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida?  The FACE meetings at the new L3Harris location in Melbourne, Florida in December were particularly special, of course, because one event there was coupled with the incredible experience of a rocket launch at Kennedy Space Center.  And in thinking of the over 50 other facilities we’ve visited in the last decade, we always left with a mix of very unique memories and a sense of renewed purpose.  We wish to sincerely thank the FACE sponsors that made all these events possible.

Along the way, we also succeeded in creating eight FACE Technical Interchange Meetings (TIMs) to showcase the development of FACE products.   We held the first TIM at the Patuxent River Naval Museum in Lexington, Maryland, nearby the Pax River Naval Air Station, and it was quite poignant that we started making FACE history in a location so rich with military avionics history.  These events grew over time and now garner over 50 exhibitors and over 500 attendees at larger exhibition centers like the Dayton Convention Center in Ohio and the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  We even held a “TIM” for DoD leadership from the Pentagon and Industry Executives from FACE Member Organizations during  the FACE Executive Forum at the stately Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA.

As leader of the FACE Outreach team, it was also an honor to represent the FACE Consortium not only North American locations, but also for our coalition partners in Europe.   The FACE leadership supported multiple NATO meetings in Barcelona, Munich and The Hague, as well as at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.  Delivering a speech in a NATO auditorium is always a memorable experience – it certainly lends an air of gravitas to all the good work that the FACE Consortium has managed to accomplish.

Given the shared investment in the FACE ecosystem from government, academia and industry over the last 10 years, how exactly do we measure success?   There are of course lots of metrics we could apply to answer this question, but to me the most compelling metric is the number of downloads of published FACE documents.  To date we have had over 38,000 downloads of published FACE standards documents, from entities all over the world.  That’s a staggeringly high average of over 1,000 downloads per quarter, which is not only an amazing measure of success, but also a testament to FACE’s reach and influence.

In short, working within the FACE community led to fun and action-packed decade, and I’m already looking forward to the next 10 years.  Also, looking forward to virtually commemorating this occasion this week!

Chip Downing is the Senior Market Development Director of Aerospace and Defense at Real-Time Innovations (RTI).  In this position he manages RTI’s global aerospace and defense business and helps drive the OMG Data Distribution Service (DDS) industry standard into the commercial and military aerospace market with the RTI Connext DDS platform, now used by over 800 customers in over 1,500 global systems.

Mr. Downing currently serves as the Chair of the FACE Consortium Business Working Group Outreach Subcommittee, promoting the FACE approach globally.  In addition,  he serves as the VP, Ecosystem, of the DDS Foundation, where he is tasked with growing the sphere of influence of the OMG DDS standard with organizations that have companion specifications.

A luminary of the embedded systems industry and an innovator for creating COTS safety certification for commercial RTOSs, he previously served as Senior Director of Aerospace & Defense at Wind River Systems, where he was responsible for the business development of the company’s global A&D markets. During his 14-year Wind River tenure, design wins grew for certified avionics products grew to more than 500 projects.  Mr. Downing has also led sales, marketing, and consulting organizations at Esterel Technologies (now Ansys), Validated Software, OnCore Systems, and Mentor Graphics (now Siemens).