2023 AEDC Spark Tank initiative funds multiple projects

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  • AEDC Public Affairs

Arnold Engineering Development Complex team members were recently granted funding for their innovative ideas as part of the 2023 AEDC Spark Tank.

An announcement was made in October 2022 calling all innovators to submit their ideas, and the last day for submissions was Jan.13. The AEDC Spark Tank program allows members of the AEDC workforce to propose suggestions for how to improve AEDC processes, products and test capabilities. The program is open to military, DOD civilians and contractors across all AEDC units.

Mike Glennon, an AEDC senior engineer with the Engineering Support Office, and one of the organizers of the AEDC Spark Tank, explained what took place once the innovative projects were submitted.

“The principal investigators presented their innovative ideas to the Innovation Board Feb. 7 and 9, and then those ideas were presented to an AEDC corporate board on Feb. 27,” Glennon said. “An additional $70,000 was applied to our AEDC Innovation Grant funds, which allowed funding for seven out of the 10 innovative ideas submitted.”

Along with Glennon, Dr. Justin Garrard, an AEDC Test Operations and Sustainment contractor project manager, assisted in coordinating the Spark Tank event. Those who served on the Innovation Board assessing the presentations were Brandon Stiles, chief engineer with AEDC Test Support Division; Mike Lazalier, 804th Test Group chief engineer; Brian Ravak, 704th Test Group technical director; Mark Bymaster, TOS Test Complex Modernization director; and Scott Bartlett, TOS chief engineer.  

This year, most of the innovations were presented in person, with one AEDC team member from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, presenting his idea over Microsoft Teams.

“Two of the innovations presented are candidates to go on to AFMC [Air Force Material Command] AFWERX, as they have wider applicability than just to AEDC,” Glennon said. “It is our hope that one or both of them can be presented this summer at the AFMC Innovation data call.”

Glennon added he was excited with the submissions and results of this year’s Spark Tank.

“We had a very good mix of technical innovative ideas and vision that puts AEDC ‘second to none,’ and I’m very pleased we were able to fund seven of the 10 submitted ideas for the 2023 Spark Tank,” he said. “Events such as the Spark Tank are important, as one of AEDC commander’s focus areas is supporting innovation and technical knowledge enhancement across the complex.”

The following individuals and their projects are receiving AEDC Innovation Grant funding through this year’s AEDC Spark Tank:

  • Matthew Bruehl – IRIS CM motion amplification data system
  • William Cammack – Readiness analysis digital operations maintenance environment
  • Dwain Clark, Dane Rape, Hunter Watson and Jeff Stewart – High enthalpy arc heater enthalpy probe
  • William Garner – Economic facility modeling
  • Matthew Gunzburger – Hot Sock: Captive trajectory system store heater
  • Wayne Horton – Acoustic imager for enhancement of current leak detection and electrical inspection
  • Michael Maddox and Charles Turner – Out-of-band management

Articles with more information on each of these projects will be published at www.arnold.af.mil throughout the year.