Spark Tank 2023 Finalists Showcased at AFA Symposium

Finalists in the Department of the Air Force’s capstone innovation campaign, “Spark Tank,” presented their ideas to a panel of judges in an event on the last day of the Air and Space Forces Association 2023 Warfare Symposium, March 8.

More than 230 ideas were submitted to Air Force Research Laboratory‘s Basic Research Innovation and Collaboration Center in Arlington, Virginia. All of the ideas were evaluated, and the top 15 were presented to be voted upon by Department of the Air Force members. The top six were selected as finalists for presentation at AFA.

“There is a feeling of empowerment that Airmen and Guardians sense when they witness support from their leadership,” said Maj. Aaron Beebe, Air Force Spark Cell program manager and Spark Tank production manager. “However, this event is more than that—they are seeing the support of their peers. Sometimes that validation can speak louder, knowing that you are not alone in the fight.”

The six innovation proposals selected to compete as 2023 finalists were:

Accelerated Development of Multi-Capable Airmen/Guardians, from Maj. Caitlin Harris, 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Air Education and Training Command

Advanced Maintenance and Troubleshooting System, from Master Sgt. Aaron Cordroch, 1st Special Operations Maintenance Group, Hurlburt Field, Florida, Air Force Special Operations Command

Infrastructure in an Augmented Reality World, from Lt. Col. Mark Wagner, 374th Contracting Squadron commander, Master Sgt. Sarah Hubert and Tech. Sgt. Raymond Zgoda, 353rd Special Operations Wing and 374th Civil Engineer Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Pacific Air Forces

Project Kinetic Cargo Sustainment, from Capt. Andrew Armor, Master Sgt. Brandon Allensworth, Master Sgt. Peter Salinas, Master Sgt. Jet Nesle and Tech. Sgt. Justin Sprinkel of the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, Pacific Air Forces

Real-Time Asset Management System, from Michael Dolan of Space Base Delta 3, at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, Space Systems Command

Project Oregon Trail, from Staff Sgt. Michael Sturtevant, 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, Air Force Special Operations Command

The Spark Tank judging panel was made up of the Department of the Air Force’s most senior leaders and two special guests: Michael Moe, founder and CEO of GSV Holdings, a growth-focused investment platform based in Silicon Valley, and Michelle Johnson, the first female superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Panelists listened to pitches from each of the six idea creators, conducted live evaluations, and selected a winner.

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