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Airman at Hill AFB among AFMC “Spark Tank” semifinalists

A portrait of Tech.Sgt. Joshua Feekes.

Technical Sgt. Joshua Feekes, weapons safety manager for the 75th Air Base Wing, Aug. 26, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Feekes was named one of five semifinalists in the Air Force Materiel Command Spark Tank competition for his submission titled “Take Fire Symbol Tracking System Air Force Wide.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- An Airman at Hill Air Force Base was named one of five semifinalists in the Air Force Materiel Command Spark Tank competition.

Technical Sgt. Joshua Feekes, a weapons safety manager for the 75th Air Base Wing, was selected for his submission titled “Take Fire Symbol Tracking System (FSTS) Air Force Wide.”

“I feel honored and excited to be selected from more than 90 others within the command and I’m excited for the opportunity to pitch the idea at the AFMC Senior Leader Conference,” Feekes said.

The FSTS currently serves as a central database at Hill AFB for fire and hazard symbols, giving users real-time information about the items stored in a munitions storage area.

Users are able to access the system and update facility hazards, as well as add new information and risk categories for each munitions structure on base. In addition, fire and security personnel can access the system, providing critical information to them if responding to an incident.

Feekes said the system was in use before he was stationed Hill AFB. However, he hasn’t seen anything like it at other installations. Bases currently have their own individual method of tracking fire symbols and risk categories for munitions structures.

“I’ve heard from many individuals in the munitions career fields who say this is a system that every base should be using,” Feekes said. “I felt like this idea and its impact just hasn’t been presented to the correct level yet and I saw the Spark Tank Campaign as the perfect avenue to get this system the backing that it needs to get it active at every Air Force installation.”

Feekes and the other semifinalists will present their innovative and game-changing ideas to a panel of leaders during the upcoming AFMC Senior Leader Conference Sept. 7-11. The top two ideas will go to represent the major command in the 2021 Air Force Spark Tank competition.

“We were overwhelmed with the response to our first-ever Spark Tank competition, especially given the challenges of COVID-19, telework and the short submission window,” said Kim Norman, AFMC Commander's Accelerated Initiatives Office. “The AFMC We Need effort is one that constantly seeks out Airmen's innovative solutions and provides them opportunities to share their ideas with leadership.”

The other AFMC semifinalists are:

Data Driven Facilities with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), submitted by Maj. Patrick Grandsaert, Air Force Civil Engineer Center

Operation Blood Rain: The Effect of Airdrop on Fresh Whole Blood, submitted by Maj. Roselyn Jan Fuentes, 96th Test Wing

Pubs 3.0, submitted by Lt. Col. Daniel Montes, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Patent Pending Aircraft Diagnostic Using Nanomaterial Based Paint, submitted by 1st Lt. Michael Sherburne, Air Force Research Laboratory

Visit the Air Force Ideation Platform and search for AFMC Spark Tank to view all of the AFMC submissions.

(Portions of this article were taken from an AFMC "Spark Tank" news release.)