AFIMSC announces 2023 Innovation Rodeo finalists

  • Published
  • By Shannon Carabajal
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center announced finalists today for the 2023 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo.

Eight members of the Department of the Air Force will now compete for a share of at least $1 million in funding and resources to pursue their ideas. Submissions came from Airmen and Guardians across a diverse set of career fields, all with “fantastic ideas” that will help the Air Force better deliver I&MS capabilities, said Dustin Dickens, principal innovation program manager.

“Many of our finalists this year come from outside the traditional I&MS community, but they chose to innovate and improve areas that impact that community. It just shows the effect and tie all Airmen and Guardians have to mission support,” he said. “We’re excited to work with these innovators and help them connect and collaborate with the right multi-functional teams to jump start their ideas.”

The year’s theme is Mission Focused Innovation. Finalists, aligned to mission capability needs, will spend three weeks learning from leading innovators and collaborating with peers and industry partners virtually before coming to San Antonio in July to pitch their ideas to a panel of senior leaders and judges.

The top ideas and finalists are:

RHINO Vehicle Inspection Application & Database
2nd Lt. Leslyn Nuevo, 305th Aerial Port Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey
Idea: RHINO is a two-part vehicle management database and vehicle inspection application. The application would replace outdated Air Force forms and paperwork used to check out and manage government vehicles.

ACE Xpand: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)
Tech. Sgt. Dustin Spooner, Air Force Security Forces Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
Idea: Increase drone capability with expandable wing and specialized sensors carried in a pack and deployable in less than two minutes for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Tetherable Tactical Camera System 
Tech. Sgt. Darrin Sawn, AFSFC, JBSA-Lackland, Texas
Idea: A tetherable camera system capable of providing security forces Airmen and first responders with increased situational awareness during active shooter, nuclear recapture, or search and rescue situations.

Mission Readiness Training Scheduler 
Master Sgt. Michael Olsen, 325th Maintenance Group, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida
Idea: A modern model for scheduling requests for formal training courses. Currently, the Air Force Personnel Center processes over 60,000 training requests per year. All requests flow into an organization email box managed by four Airmen. This scheduler would be a hybrid model with web-based user input and unattended automation to reduce workload and turnaround time from seven days to less than 24 hours.

10K All Terrain (AT) Re-Power: Path to Hydraulic Lift Electrification 
Capt. Jonathan Soeun, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida
Idea: Project 10K AT Re-Power focuses on leveraging a novel alternative to fossil fuel-driven hydraulic systems to enable forklifts and other lifting equipment to operate with dramatically better efficiency, lift capacity, speed and maneuverability.

HULK-Wolverine-KRAYT initiative (HWKi) Hawk Eye 
Lt. Col. Brandon Baughman, 187th Operations Group, Dannelly Field, Alabama
Idea: HWKi is a uniquely innovative, pre-packaged and fully networked, command and control, security, and threat detection and response operating center. The center delivers a comprehensive, warfighter solution designed to support and deliver anything needed in sustained or extended military operations and deployments.

BaseBuddy: AI-Enabled Chatbot to Assist Airmen, Guardians and Families 
Varlin Sheffey, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
Idea: BaseBuddy is an artificial intelligence enabled chatbot designed to simplify the lives of Department of the Air Force personnel and their families. The chatbot provides instant, accurate and easy-to-navigate information from all base websites, enhancing readiness and improving overall quality of life.

Automated Robotic Dish Room
James Krueger, Air Force Services Center, JBSA-Lackland
Idea: Solutions to semi or fully automate dining facility, or DFAC, dish rooms through the use of customer tray down racking systems and robotic automation.

The 2023 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo finals will be held July 21 in San Antonio.