552nd ACW Hosts First Spark Tank Competition

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt Ashlyn K. Paulson

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – In the hopes of obtaining funds for innovative ideas, nine representatives made their pitch to 552nd Air Control Wing leadership on April 15th at the Tinker Event Center during the 552nd ACW Spark Tank.

Spark Tank, a play off the hit television show, Shark Tank, gave members of the 552nd ACW three minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of four judges. The judges were allotted five minutes in return to ask follow-up questions. Following the presentations, the judges ultimately selected three winning ideas who would receive funding.  

The winning ideas were selected based off innovative potential and the ability for future sustainment. The winning ideas included: Immersive Media Training introduced by Capt. Jared Evans and Capt. Anthony Cummings of the 552nd Training Group, a training report enhancement network device by Capt. Jessie James from the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron and a mission planning room for the 965th AACS by Capt Kalan Clark.

The Immersive Media Training features 360 video and virtual reality, creating an accessible, immersive, self-paced learning environment for students of all disciplines, enabling superior preparation and reduction in re-training. TREND, on the other hand, is a proficiency assessment/enhancement software tailored specifically to battle management command and control objectives. Lastly, the new mission planning room will allow for all crew positions to participate and improve communication crossflow.

All nine initiatives focused on increased readiness, reducing cost, returning time back to airmen and or enhancing lethality of the force. Other proposed ideas included weigh-in-motion scales, random access memory computer boost, an Internet Protocol radio concept, Computer Numerical Control 4th and 5th Axis Upgrade, an ACCURL master shear and feminine products trashcans for the Airborne Warning Air Control Systems.

This Air Force wide event, called AFWERX, was introduced to empower and enable squadron commanders and their airmen to creatively solve problems by providing resources and authority to be innovative. More on this initiative can be found here.