AFWERX hosts first in-person Collider event since COVID-19 pandemic
AUSTIN, Texas (AFRL) – More than 20 industry partners attended the first in-person AFWERX Collider event in over three years at Fed Supernova in Austin, Texas. Colliders went virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic but the return of face-to-face interaction gave Air Force leaders the opportunity to share the same room with small businesses and entrepreneurs to spark interaction and unleash American ingenuity to solve warfighter problems.
“Many of you may be wondering, how can I serve my country?” said Col. Elliott Leigh, AFWERX director and chief commercialization officer for the Department of the Air Force, to the audience. “For some of us, we put on a uniform. But all of you are audacious Americans with ideas and recognize that there is a way you can benefit your country. You’re going to hear about some of the problems in the Air Force. Go back and think about your value proposition and how your company can contribute to that and roll that into your proposal.”
“We want to make sure that we’re getting access to the best that the private sector can offer for the Department of the Air Force,” Leigh said. “Let’s all be in this together. Think about what’s going on in the world and be ready to face the threat.”
“We scheduled this Collider during Fed Supernova because a lot of industry attends,” said James Foutz, AFWERX Spark Collider program lead. “The companies invited to each Collider are selected through a Partnership Intermediary Agreement to ensure they are focused in the technology area proposed during the event.”
The problem for this Collider was proposed by the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and aligned with operational imperatives five, resilient basing, and seven, readiness to deploy and fight. AFIMSC’s mission is to deliver globally integrated installation and mission support to enhance warfighter readiness and lethality.
The morning portion of the Collider featured presentations from Air Force leaders to industry attendees on the need to reduce the logistical footprint required to sustain operations in the future. The afternoon was an opportunity for industry to talk with those leaders about their technologies and possibly find solutions.
Foutz said the goal moving forward is to have in-person Colliders every quarter while also providing a virtual option to maximize attendance. He said Air Force organizations can reach out with their problems via www.afwerx.com or contact your local spark cell or innovation lead.
“Please get in touch with AFWERX and we can set up an event like this to support whatever problem areas you are trying to get after.”