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7th BW leaders meet with small businesses, discuss innovation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca Van Syoc
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 7th Bomb Wing hosted its first collider this week between shift-work Airmen and representatives for several technology-based small businesses. A collider is a planned meeting between two groups of people who rarely interact. The meeting allowed for communication between 7th BW Airmen to talk about technical innovation with the personnel form the small businesses, who each are awardees of the Small Business Innovation Research program from the Air Force created AFWERX Tech Accelerator.

The two-day event began on Jan. 29, with a tour of several units to include avionics, accessories, emergency management and security forces, giving Airmen a chance for direct discussion of how technology, such as virtual reality, can improve their ability to train.

“Small businesses typically have a single focus to ensure they provide a good product for the customer,” said Tech. Sgt. Heidi Payne, 7th Civil Engineering Squadron emergency management NCO in charge. “I’m excited for what they’re able to offer us. Incorporation of new technology like virtual reality can greatly enhance the technical skills and training quality for our Airmen.”

The second day of the collider had base leadership sit down at the hangar center while each small business representative spoke about their company’s product and how it can be tailored to the needs of the units that they had spoken with the day before.

This event allowed Airmen and members from the small business to gain a better understanding of how to use various equipment to improve their ability to successfully complete their missions.

“Having a collider like this gives Dyess the ability to shape the emerging products of these small businesses to our specific needs,” said Capt. Anthony Bunker, 28th Bomb Squadron director of advanced training programs. “It streamlines the process of otherwise having to take an already-created product and adapt it. In this way we can help these companies develop products specially-made for our Airmen’s needs, such as in training.”