DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Airmen assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing gathered to share their innovative ideas during the Dyess Spark Tank Competition in the base theater April 13 at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
The competition called for individuals or teams to present ideas that reduce spending, increase readiness, return time to Airmen or enhance lethality. Squadrons were provided funding for the implementation of winning ideas.
The 7th BW received $500,000 as part of the Air Force-wide $64 million Squadron Innovation Fund initiated by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright.
Goldfein said in a Feb. 23 article, “We need our squadrons to be aggressively persistent and take risks in the pursuit of new ideas and solutions. No one knows the problems we face day-to-day more than the Airmen in our squadrons.”
The judges were Col. Brandon Parker, 7th BW commander; Col. David Owens, 317th Airlift Wing commander; Chief Master Sgt. Kenny Mott, 7th BW command chief; and Amber Kimmel, Abilene, Texas, real estate expert in military relocation.
Presenters had 10 minutes to explain how their ideas would cost-effectively modernize or enhance readiness at Dyess.
Eight of the 13 ideas received a golden ticket, which was given by the judges as a symbol of guaranteed funding.
“It feels amazing to earn a golden ticket for my squadron,” said Tech. Sgt. Derrick Kenning, 7th Munitions Squadron line supervisor. “We set the tone by receiving the first gold ticket, and seeing seven others follow was rewarding.”
Kenning requested a cellular data plan for multi-use integrated tablets, which are electronic devices that show members their job’s technical orders while on location. The competition provided the 7th MUNS with funding to change to this data plan and stop using the Wi-Fi plan that previously had dead zones around the base.
Other crowd-favorite ideas that received funding were GPS watches for pilots, building of a Junior Enlisted Airmen lounge and GPS trackers for aerospace ground equipment.
Ideas that didn’t receive a golden ticket are still being considered for implementation at a later date.
“I knew that if we called on our Airmen to bring us ideas, they would show up with new perspectives that would make a difference,” said Parker. “We’re proud of everyone that had the courage to go to their leadership, put this together and get [on stage.]”