Spark! Tank event presentation

Prototype and Manufacturing Division Head Eric Kline presents during the Spark! Tank Ignites event held at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst on May 1. (U.S. Navy photo)

Lakehurst hosts SPARK! Tank Ignites Event

Three teams from Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst tested their entrepreneurial skills on May 1 for the site's first Spark! Tank Ignites event. Building on the success of a similar event last year at NAWCAD Patuxent River and based on the television show Shark Tank, the teams pitched projects that need funding to continue development.  

The judges for the event were NAWCAD Lakehurst Acting Executive Director Jack Martenak, Officer-in-Charge Cmdr. Adam Pawlak, and George Lehaf, lead technologist for Support Equipment and Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment. 

"Between the passion of the presenting teams and the excitement of the people in the audience learning more about the work their fellow teammates are doing, the Spark! Tank Ignites event was awesome," Martenak said. "I can't wait to see where these projects go as we continue our efforts to support the warfighter well into the future." 

The projects included Prototype and Manufacturing Division Head Eric Kline using Flankspeed technology to develop efficiency-increasing apps, Project UNITE: Uniting Innovation and Technology Enclaves team, including Dr. Nathaniel Goldfarb, Ryan O’Shea and Daniel Vidal looking at integrating technology and facilities at Lakehurst, and test engineer Rob Pellegrino seeking funding to host industry days at Lakehurst's Ship Motion Platform.  

Kline said he was "grateful" for the opportunity to pitch his "PowerPlatform Bootcamp" to the Sharks.  

"I strongly believe that NAVAIR can change how we work by leveraging the full capabilities of Office365 and the PowerPlatform," Kline said. "There are so many opportunities in NAVAIR to change how we work – and the Spark! Initiative is a great avenue for anyone to submit an idea and potentially get funding to help make their idea a reality."  

Funding was awarded to Kline and Project UNITE, while the judges said Pellegrino’s proposal was worth investigating for additional funding.  

“We run these non-traditional events not only to canvas ideas immediately but also if they are fun, and exciting, they can act as chain lightning to inspire the audience to put forth creative ideas in the future.  Our ability to win or deter may be determined by our ability to rapidly be creative with how we incorporate technology in the future,” host Kevin Larkins, Liberty Tech Bridge co-director for NAWCAD Lakehurst, said. “This is an area of great strength for our nation, and we are using events like these to encourage teammates to have the guile to take their ideas and persuade the system to move out on them.” 

The event was sponsored by the NAWCAD Chief Technology and Strategic Operations Office.  


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