Shark Tank 2023: Taking a bite out of innovation

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ericka A. Woolever
  • 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing
A panel of five subject matter experts from across the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing met June 6, in the 350th SWW headquarters to conduct Shark Tank 2023, an innovation competition that offers members at all levels of the wing to present ideas on how to get the mission done more effectively.
“Shark Tank events provide our Airmen with an awesome venue to pitch their ideas to senior leaders who have money and decision authority,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. David S. Southall, 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing command chief. “Far too often, great ideas and innovations fail to make their way through the levels of bureaucracy in the Air Force before they reach a decision maker with the money, resources, and ability to say ‘yes.’”
Fourteen ideas were presented by members to the Shark Tank panel for consideration, a few members ideas will be selected and funded for potential implementation.
“Shark Tank is meant to motivate our spectrum warfare professionals to think deeply towards innovative solutions to improve processes and enhance our impact on combat readiness throughout the wing,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason W. Vollmer, 350th Spectrum Warfare Group senior enlisted leader.
The selection process focused on the need for improving the wing and spectrum warfare as well as concerns of department-wide implementation, technical feasibility, and scalability.
“For me, the innovations I leaned towards were the ones that can directly result in increased accuracy, relevancy, and speed in our support to the warfighter,” Vollmer.
As the wing continues to grow in personnel and mission sets, finding new ways to accomplish that mission is crucial to providing the effective Electronic Warfare capabilities at the speed of need. Shark Tank serves as an avenue to highlight Airmen’s talents and is an investment in the culture of the wing. 
“[Shark Tank] encourages participation from the grassroots level,” said Chad Zessin, 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron mission data engineer. “These innovators are on the leading edge of our mission and have a unique understanding on how best to accomplish our goals.”
The winners of Shark Tank 2023 will be announced later in the month.