AETC officials announce top ideas for Spark Tank ‘23 Challenge

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Keith James
  • Air Education and Training Command

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO- RANDOLPH, Texas --Two Airmen were selected to represent Air Education and Training Command for advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2023 AFWERX Spark Tank Challenge, here, Oct. 19, 2022.

Spark Tank, an annual event where Airmen pitch innovative ideas to Air Force leaders and industry experts, culminated at the AETC level as six innovations were presented and judged by leaders of the command. The committee was chaired by Maj. Gen. James Sears, deputy commander for AETC.

The ideas selected as the winners for AETC were Administrative Data Analysis and Maintenance Matrix program (A.D.A.M.M.), presented by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Fournier, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment craftsman, and Agile Content Evolution and Deployment (ACED), presented by Senior Master Sgt. Errick Wernecke, Air Force Safety Center superintendent of nuclear missile systems. 

“Innovation takes creativity and courage to challenge the status quo and our top two selectees did just that,” said Master Sgt. Michael Bridges, AETC’s Innovation Directorate non-commissioned officer in charge of futures and innovations. “We encourage the other 16 submissions from AETC to continue to break barriers and develop their ideas, we hope to see them come to realization in the future.”

A.D.A.M.M. is a relational database and graphic user interface that enables high resolution tactical and strategic decision capabilities from enhanced analysis across multiple dimensions of data points. The problem A.D.A.M.M solves is the inability to view and monitor assets in the categorical nature of Aerospace Ground Equipment, which has historically consumed tremendous amounts of time.

 The A.D.A.M.M. program addresses this issue by categorizing information with cross-table queries providing near-real-time asset tracking. Furthermore, by A.D.A.M.M. interlinking related data, maintainers can rapidly see fully kitted jobs and utilize the Theory of Constraints to reduce waste further and increase maintenance efficacy by equally empowering technicians with quality data, represented understandably. Finally, the time saved enhances training capabilities by providing the quality time necessary to mentor and develop the Air Force’s future leaders and technicians.

“A.D.A.M.M connects related data from an information system to paint a holistic picture to enable both high and low data driven decision making,” Fournier said. “With A.D.A.M.M., supervisors will be able to make those decisions quickly, getting time back to focus on developing and training their Airmen.”

ACED is a concept of operations which utilizes the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and AI-based technology, to create a platform capable of converting source documents into courses of instruction and procedurally generating assessment material. Those capabilities are then used to automatically generate instructional content, interact with stakeholders, assess students, and customize material based on unique individuals, teams, units and missions.

"Our Multi-Capable Airmen will need education and training to keep pace with the battlefield of tomorrow with courses of instruction being delivered in days not years," said Senior Master Sgt. Errick Wernecke, Air Force Safety Center superintendent of nuclear missile systems. "With ACED we are able to develop the Airmen we need by using customized courses tailored to individuals and accelerate change through competency-based learning."

The two teams will compete at the quarterfinals, in front of a judges’ panel comprised of AFWERX and secretary of the Air Force management members who will select the best ideas to compile a final slate of semifinalists for presentations to the next round of judges.

Winners at the semifinals move on to the final round of competition, which is scheduled during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colorado, March 6-8, 2023.

“The event empowers our Airmen and intrapreneurs to be innovative and look at making the Air Force better,” said Col. Thomas Wegner, AETC’s Innovation Directorate director. “Sharing ideas and working with innovation officials has led to success stories such as Developing Airmen & Guardians with games for enhanced readiness in AETC.”