SSC Spark Tank Leadership Panel selects finalists to advance

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gonzalez, SSC Public Affairs

The Space Systems Command Spark Tank Leadership Panel selected the top 2 submissions on Sep. 16, to advance to the quarter-finals.

Spark Tank is a Department of the Air Force annual competition, similar to the popular ‘Shark Tank’ television show where contestants pitch ideas to a panel of experts. The challenge is open to Airmen and Guardians to present their ideas for improving the service.

This year’s innovation theme for SSC Spark Tank is the Guardian Ideal. There were five ideas pitched to the panel of judges through a virtual meeting format that was open to SSC viewers. 

The SSC leadership panelists included: Joy White, Executive Director; CMSgt Willie Frazier, Senior Enlisted Leader; Rachel Souder-Arguedas, Director of Business Innovation (AtlasX); Lt. Col. Shyam Munshi, Acting Chief Innovation Officer, AATS/S6 and Director of Innovation, SLD 45 at Patrick Space Force Base, Fla..

The selection criteria included--alignment with the SSC theme, maturity of idea, return on investment, difficulty factors, and the degree of innovation. After the teams delivered their ideas, they fielded a variety of questions from the panelists.

“The presenters did a great job of setting the stage and showcasing their ideas at a level that didn’t require expert knowledge, but included sufficient detail to validate the idea,” Souder-Arguedas said. “It was a great learning opportunity for me, and I had fun, which is the best kind of work event.” 
At the conclusion of the event, the panel thanked the participants for their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, then sequestered privately to review their scoring.

The reward for the top two teams is the opportunity to represent SSC at the Spark Tank quarter finals in November. The SSC leadership panel selected the following ideas:
Infiniguard Corrosion Prevention Solution, submitted by 1st Lt. Kevin Tran and 1st Lt. Kennith McLoud, both with SLD 45.
In-house Solar Powered Automatic Mist Spray for Camera Lens Cleaning, submitted by 1st Lt. Kevin Tran, 1st Lt. Kennith McLoud and TSgt James Henry, all with SLD 45.
Both selections involve creativity, innovation and cost-conscious solutions that address improvements in operations in the challenging weather environment.
The Infiniguard Corrosion Prevention Solution utilizes a silicon nano-ceramic coating applied on metals and other dense surfaces. The team examined the challenges of significant amounts of salt buildup that occurs in the unique bi-waterway location of SLD 45. The solution offers significantly increased protection against galvanic corrosion, extending the life expectancy of vehicles and facilities.
The In-house Solar Powered Automatic Mist Spray for Camera Lens Cleaning addresses the operation of outdoor security cameras. Due to the impacts of salt in the environment at SLD 45, there is challenge of both cost and man-hours to maintain the cameras. The team developed a cost-saving solution involving the use of an automated solar powered mist spray to periodically clean camera lenses.
Additionally, the leadership panel selected two of the pitched ideas as ‘Just Do It’ projects. This category is not part of the larger competition but recognizes ideas of interest to SSC. “The panel felt these ideas could have an impact on a local level,” Souder-Arguedas said. “We hope the ideators will continue to pursue these ideas with support from AltasX coaches - who can help the teams continue to refine their ideas to pilot here, with unit level support.”

'Just Do It' projects included:
Bullait - AI meets performance reports and award packages, submitted by Capt. Alex Pollack, SSC/CG and Air Traffic Control Temperature Monitoring Sensor, submitted by 1st Lt. In Bok Lee, SSgt Eli Haley, and Cory Pruitt, from SLD 45.
The Spark Tank competition empowers Airmen, Guardians and civilian employees to examine challenges in the workplace and bring their own creativity to improving operations.

“I hope our SSC community was as inspired by this event as I was and will continue to bring us their ideas inside and outside of these formal events,” Souder-Arguedas said. “We're here to help foster an innovative spirit, as well as provide support to refining and developing ideas that make us a better place to work, and in turn more successful at achieving our mission.”