By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs / Published February 28, 2019
The 2019 Air Force Spark Tank competition judges Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, Mark Cuban and George Steinbrener IV pose for a group photo with the Spark Tank winner during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 28, 2019. Spark Tank is a chance to celebrate Air Force risk-takers, idea makers and entrepreneurs who refuse to accept the status quo and have determined their own fate by developing solutions that make it easier for the Air Force to bring the very best to the fight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark.)
ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) — Master Sgt. Jonathan Maas assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, was named the 2019 Spark Tank winner during the Air Force’s Spark Tank competition at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium Feb. 28, in Orlando.
This year’s winning idea was the Joint Chemical Agent Detector Renewable Energy Power Supply, which will provide uninterrupted chemical agent detection while running continuously with minimal user maintenance.
“Originally I wasn’t going to apply for this competition,” said Maas. “But my buddy continued to push me to apply and I’m glad I did because it shows that even those ideas you may not think people are going to care about, people are going to listen with this type of program.”
Maas’s submission was one of six Spark Tank finalists that were showcased to a panel comprised of Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright who were also joined by Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner and George Steinbrenner IV, Harding Steinbrenner Racing owner.
While the competition has only one winner, other Spark Tank ideas received senior leader support to move ahead.
Since its inception in September 2017, the Spark Tank competition has been a high-profile, public forum that celebrates the innovations of Airmen while identifying avenues to increase lethality and cost-effective modernization, pushing boundaries to pursue future technologies and recognizing problems and creative solutions.
Wilson began the Air Force’s Spark Tank competition in September 2017 and has been co-hosted between the Airmen Powered by Innovation program and the AFWERX innovation ecosystem, which was conducted in a multi-step approach starting with participants submitting their ideas through the IdeaScale website.