From the ITI Kaleidoscope 2021. Click to read more articles from the magazine.
Maj. Gen. Stewart Wallace had been away from the University of Iowa for nearly 50 years while serving as an Army officer and later an executive in the defense industry.
But he remained a Hawkeye at heart. Born at UI Hospitals and Clinics and raised in Britt, Wallace attended Hawkeye games as a child and graduated from UI with a finance and insurance degree in 1968. Participation in the campus Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) led to a distinguished 33-year military career followed by 15 years in the private sector.
After retiring from full-time employment, Wallace returned to campus in 2017 to speak at a military ball and began reconnecting with the alma mater that shaped his life.
“I thought the best way I could give back to the university was by volunteering my time,” said Wallace, who also donates to a scholarship fund through the Tippie College of Business. “I don’t have enough to build a building, but I can give my time.”
The Iowa Technology Institute has been a beneficiary of Wallace’s goodwill. Wallace, who is ITI’s military advisor and advisory board chair, has become one of ITI’s biggest advocates.
Before the ball, Wallace met with then-UI President Bruce Harreld, who made the connection to ITI.
At the meeting, Wallace relayed his background in simulation technology, which included 18 months in the Pentagon as director of Army-wide training. The program incorporated simulation to implement new gunnery and tactics.
In the private sector, Wallace was an executive in a simulation group at MPRI (Military Professional Resources Inc.) and directed a $100 million simulation contract for the Egyptian National Railway.
Harreld urged a meeting with ITI Director Karim Malek.
Malek, a professor of biomedical engineering, is a world-renowned expert in human modeling and simulation and inventor of Santos, a virtual human avatar that has tested product designs and training procedures for the Armed Forces and industrial giants such as John Deere, Caterpillar, and General Motors.
“I was blown away with the capability of their simulation,” Wallace said. “I had experience with simulation in the Army, so I understood the value and importance of simulation. Iowa has the best, most accurate human simulator that I’ve seen.”
Simulation technology allows replicating tests over and over with minimal investment of cost, time, and human resources. In the context of the military, soldiers still need live training, but simulation reduces the demand on soldiers while testing new procedures.
Malek offered Wallace a salaried position. Wallace counter offered to support ITI on a volunteer basis, opening doors to Department of Defense and military leaders. Wallace has become an important liaison, supporting projects such as ITI’s independent review of the Army Combat Fitness Test, a new fitness regimen required annually of all soldiers.
In addition to increasing opportunities within the military, Wallace envisions the advisory board will focus on expanding ITI’s commercial partners.
“I like what they are doing, and I think it is important,” Wallace said. “This is a good way that I can give back.”