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    1st SOW takes step to next-gen innovation



    Story by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger 

    1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

    The 1st Special Operations Wing’s Project 1 Innovation Cell, also known as the Spark Cell, is continuously formulating new solutions to various problems throughout the installation and working in tandem with different units and local businesses to reach these goals.

    The Project 1 team works to guide the development, prototyping, testing, acquisition, senior leader proposal, and sustainment of Airmen’s initiatives to streamline base processes.

    “The Project 1 team is the hub of information and support for our innovative Air Commandos,” said U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Maribelle Hernandez, director of the 1st SOW Continuous Process Improvement. “We facilitate innovative efforts, employ continuous process improvement tools, manage relations and networks with similar Department of Defense entities, local academia, and small businesses that are the forefront of bringing tomorrow’s tools to our Airmen today.”

    The Innovation Cell has already accomplished multiple projects throughout the year. One example is the review of ideas provided by 1st SOW personnel through the Hurlburt Time Saver computer app to make base operations more efficient.

    “The Hurlburt Time Saver came out before the Spark Cell’s inception, but we take considerations from that to help integrate ideas,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan Burke, superintendent of the 1st SOW Project 1 Innovation Cell. “Sometimes it needs a little more than just the Time Saver analysis. We’re able to put money toward it.”

    Along with the significant accomplishment of providing personal protective equipment to the local community, the Innovation Cell has provided courses, programs, and even robotic tugs to maintenance Airmen on the flight line. By offering small, electric robotic tugs to Hurlburt maintainers, the wing has been able to use less diesel fuel, modernize the force, and cut fossil fuel emissions in the environment.

    Ideas for these projects stem from Air Commandos across the installation and can be submitted through the Hurlburt Time Saver app or through the Project 1 Innovation Cell directly. The Project 1 team does not merely take the ideas and do all the work, though. They work with individuals to research and reach their desired outcome.

    “When people send in their ideas, we want them to be the project champion and do the research along with us to create a solution,” Burke said. “They then formulate that solution, not leaving us to do the project, and we work on getting that person out with the right people and the proper channels to get the job done.”

    Although the Spark Cell is a relatively new concept, the team at Hurlburt has been quite busy finding new ways to work within the community. They also stepped up to protect their fellow Air Commandos during the initial outbreak of COVID-19.

    “We led a collaborative face shield and ear saver operation with the force support squadron, maintenance group, and civil engineer squadron to support our 1st Special Operations Medical Group teammates,” Hernandez said. “This identified our capabilities and was a successful project. Our team and volunteer Airmen from Hurlburt also supported a major Hsu Foundation personal protective equipment operation, out of what is now FieldWerx, to promote the community to fight COVID-19.”

    The FieldWerx Makerspace, provided through the partnership between the 1st SOW and the Hsu Educational Foundation, although still in development, has already accomplished many things. Precautions are being taken to protect the local community and Air Commandos regarding COVID-19 by enforcing the wear of face masks and social distancing in facilities. There are also sanitization products throughout the space to minimize the spread of germs.

    “At FieldWerx, temperature checks are accomplished and documented at the door for all who enter,” Hernandez said. “Face masks must be worn at all times, and social distancing will be encouraged to the maximum extent of the project at hand, and hand sanitizer is available in each lab.”

    The Project 1 team will be hosting senior leadership from the base at the end of August to discuss essential details regarding the development, safety, and eventual opening of the FieldWerx facility. Although the official opening of the makerspace is still being determined, the team continues working to provide improvements to the installation.

    “The Makerspace will provide 1st SOW personnel with access to tools that they can practice manufacturing,” Burke said. “As we move further along, we will offer classes that will enable innovation and solutions at a local level. We hope to create solutions at the local level that we can scale to the rest of the Air Force.”



    Date Taken: 08.20.2020
    Date Posted: 08.21.2020 16:34
    Story ID: 376383
    Location: HURLBURT FIELD, FL, US 

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