Spark Tank Showcase displays innovative ideas from Barksdale AFB airmen

On Thursday, Nov. 14 attendees of the Spark Tank Showcase: Lunch and Learn, held at the Sci-Port Discovery Center, got to hear three innovative idea pitches from Barksdale Air Force Base airmen. The event was designed to give a platform to airmen, so they can share their ideas and also win money to implement those ideas.

For all three Spark Tank participants, the main goal was to create concepts that best showcased innovation and process improvement. If they can reduce the amount of man hours to complete a task, then that time can be spent furthering the Global Strike Command Mission at Barksdale.

SMSgt Gregory Butler believes this event, as well as Innovation North LA, is important because it helps cultivate innovation in our community.

“We want to help grow Innovation North Louisiana because when we talk about innovation and process improvement—we can really learn a lot from each other,” SMSgt Butler said. “There is a way the civilian sector does something and the way that the military/goverment side does it, so we can all help each other. I think that helps build a network for our community.”

At the showcase, Tsgt Charles Coy explained how his virtual welding trainer concept would reduce the safety hazards involved when training airmen to weld. The program also would provide universal training and cut costs by $72,000 annually.

Another time-saving idea was a rust removal laser proposed by Tsgt Aaron Mcullum. He says the laser would cut cleaning time from 45 minutes to 7 minutes. It also doesn’t harm the person using the laser and provides no damage to the material being cleaned.

The final pitch was given by Tsgt Nate Hale. He proposed an engine change trailer that would help make changing an aircraft engine a much easier process. The trailer would reduce time and personnel used for tool check out/turn in.

SMSgt Butler says they hope to do another Spark Tank Showcase in January 2019.

The Spark Tank Showcase: Lunch and Learn is a part of 2018 Innovation North LA. This year’s focus is showcasing all of the great opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in our region. For more information on the events, visit

18-Spark Tank Showcase Lunch and Learn Release