JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- —
At the Joint Base MDL Pitch Day on June 10, 2019, the 87th Contracting Squadron awarded five one-page contracts for innovative products and services. While the Pitch Day event was a huge success, the goal was to deliver technology to increase readiness and lethality across the joint base.
Many of these products have been delivered and Airmen are already testing them on the flight line and in their work centers. Companies who participated in Joint Base MDL Pitch Day, including those who were unsuccessful, are finding new opportunities to provide their technologies to Department of Defense customers.
CoreValueTec provided an innovative approach to unit tracking, notification, and pre-deployment processing for the 621st Contingency Response Wing. Master Sgt. Jennifer Thorpe, 621st Contingency Response Support Squadron Readiness Flight Chief, is excited to utilize this new tool, “The app provided by CoreValueTec is an effective and user-friendly tool. Given its multi-platform nature, this new software will allow us to efficiently communicate with all unit members on operational, professional and personal domains.”
SA Technologies developed an Augmented Reality device specifically designed for hazardous materials training. When a student is near the device, it sends training signals to help guide them through specific scenarios. SA Technologies has delivered the product and trained the 87th Medical Group on how to use the tool. The 87th MDG is currently developing a training plan around the use of the new technology.
LIINE Industries offered the solution of solar powered pond aeration for the 87th Civil Engineering Group. Products used in the past involved harsh chemicals to clean base ponds. This product has been delivered and installed at Laurel Pond on Fort Dix. The Pond Hawk provides a low-cost pond cleaning solution without having a negative impact on the environment.
Sandra Burton from LIINE Industries said, “Since 2015, we have been trying to make inroads with the US DOD for base storm water, remediation and recreation pond support with little success. This open opportunity allowed us to present our ‘unknown’ solution to the right people. Regarding the process directly, we particularly liked the pitch and the Q&A portion of the process. It gave us the opportunity to clarify and address any final concerns. We also liked getting the down payment on the spot!”
DuraBrite Lighting developed a portable, rechargeable and bright industrial LED lighting solution. The 87th CEG, 87th Security Forces Squadron, and 305th Maintenance Group are testing these lights as a potential replacement to some of their gas powered light carts. The lights provide sufficient light to conduct both indoor and outdoor mission operations while reducing the base’s dependency on gas. 2nd Lt. James Stapleton has put the lights to good use in the 87th CES, “The lights are functioning great! We originally expected to use them for outdoor purposes, but right now, our Electric shop has one that they use for outages, and the HVAC shop has the other for darker mechanical rooms.”
BattleSpace Simulations provides cockpit integrated virtual reality flight simulators. The 305th Air Mobility Wing selected BattleSpace Simulations to develop a training plan specific to their airframes. This project is currently in its final stages and will be fully delivered by the middle of October.
Joint Base MDL Pitch Day has also strengthened the innovation industrial base by highlighting additional opportunities for companies with cutting-edge technology. The 87th CONS gave unsuccessful vendors feedback on their proposals along with alternate avenues to secure contracts within the Department of Defense.
“While it is important that the U.S. Air Force seeks and develops innovative solutions to solve everyday problem areas, it is also important that the contracting process is opened up to helping nurture and grow small businesses,” said Tech. Sgt. Dustin Golden, the contracting officer for the event. “It is good to know that the approach that we took with our debriefing documents gave small non-traditional businesses the information needed to grab an opportunity to flourish.”
Since the Pitch Day, three vendors received Small Business Innovative Research contracts from Air Force Research Laboratory. Joint Base MDL is working to partner with these companies to provide user feedback during their SBIR prototype projects.
Alex Brickner from SimpleSense, offered an innovative solution to 911 dispatch integration. He was unsuccessful during Joint Base MDL Pitch Day, but he took the debriefing guidance to heart and secured a SBIR contract with AFWERX. Brickner reached out to 87th CONS to follow up and said, “The debriefing was very helpful in helping us hone the product and find appropriate stakeholders. We were awarded an AFWERX open topic SBIR as well as the Kessel Run Pitch Day SBIR. The Hanscom Air Force Base commander is interested in using our 911 dispatch integration as well.”
Maggie Falkner, contract specialist for the event, presented at the AFWERX Spark Collider in August, “It was pretty apparent that there is a lot of enthusiasm surrounding the idea of Commercial Solutions Openings. There were a lot of great questions and comments during the presentation, and several units have since reached out for assistance in preparing for their own CSO pitch day events. I’m looking forward to seeing what others accomplish.”
The Joint Base MDL Pitch Day team has been sharing lessons learned to other units across the Air Force. The team is excited to see where those units take this process in the upcoming year.