Sparking innovation in automation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rhonda Smith
  • Air University Public Affairs

The 42nd Air Base Wing has partnered with MGMWERX to host the first ever Spark at the Max at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, April 14, 2022.

The spark tank style event serves to invest in Airmen and Guardians creative and problem-solving ideas that will increase readiness, recover airmen’s time, reduce cost and/or enhance the lethality of the force.

“This event provided wing leadership with a first-hand look at the 42 ABW teammates’ innovative solutions to enhance their capabilities in providing world-class installation support,” said Tech. Sgt. Lionel Gibson, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Commodities Flight, 42nd Contracting Squadron specialist, and event organizer.

The contest participants, also known as spark starters, were:

•   Staff Sgt. Audreianor Handsome-Crawford, 42nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, won first prize for her Warehouse Bay Door Automation innovation.

•  Master Sgt. Chaeann Herzog, 42nd Medical Group, pitched Virtual Reality: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.

•  Master Sgt. Joel Rodriquez, 42nd Security Forces Squadron, pitched Automated Installation Access Control Points.

•  Ms. Michelle Walker, 42 Force Support Squadron, pitched a digital Customer Service Portal for the Military and Civilian Personnel Flight.

•  Mr. Billy Anderson, 42nd Force Support Squadron, pitched cold vending machines for lodging and the dorms to enhancing the Maxwell/Gunter Experience.

The 2022 Overall Winner, or “Sparkmaster” of the competition, received funds assurance from Col. Eries L.G. Mentzer, 42nd Air Base Wing Commander, to turn her solution into reality! Handsome-Crawford will now work with the 42nd Contracting Squadron to develop her idea for execution in FY22, which will directly enhance the operations of the 42nd Logistics Readiness Squadron cargo flight. The remaining four competitors will also continue to develop out their ideas for potential future funding opportunities

“It was a phenomenal event overall, where we could directly see the diversity of ideas and solutions sets pitched to wing leadership,” said Lt. Col. Lashinski, 42d Contracting Squadron Commander. “Beyond the fact that the participants received real-time, direct engagement and feedback from the judges panel, they each have a path forward to continue building out their solution and connecting with their acquisition teammates to turn their solution into reality for their squadrons and secure their freedom to serve while they focus on preparing to fight tonight and fight tomorrow!”