The U.S. Air Force aims high in recruiting the best and brightest to support our nation’s defense apparatus. So, naturally, it recognizes the tremendous talent of its airmen to unlock innovation across the service.
Enter AFWERX, a community of innovators with a diverse set of skills, passions and roles within the service – including active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, Air Force Civilian Service, and contractor personnel – as well as industry and academia.
AFWERX positions itself as a catalyst for bringing traditional and nontraditional partners together to foster a culture of innovation within the Air Force.
Across its innovation hubs and tech accelerators, via competitive prize challenges and “Spark Tank” research pitches, AFWERX is setting the stage to develop transformative solutions that enhance the effectiveness of the nation’s flying force.
Joseph “Joey” Arora is the co-founder of Air Force Ventures and AFWERX, where he directs ecosystem development for Air Force innovation. Joey strives to unite the country’s defense apparatus and startup space to reshape how the Air Force invests in small businesses and meet national security imperatives. He is an Air Force captain and has served as an airfield operations officer in the United States and Afghanistan. He has facilitated Startup Weekends across the country.
Steve “Elmo” Lauver is a co-founder of Air Force Ventures and AFWERX, where he leads the tech accelerator portfolio and is a program manager for Air Force Innovation. He breaks down barriers for the warfighter to leverage commercial technology while reimaging how the Air Force partners, engages, and invests in nontraditional businesses. He is an Air Force Captain who has served as a pilot for Air Force Special Operations Command and has multiple deployments under his belt. He also loves skydiving.
- Learn More about AFWERX (https://www.afwerx.af.mil/)
- See Federally Sponsored Prize Competitions (https://www.challenge.gov)
- Air Force COOL and 18F: Partnership and Flight Operations Software Agile Lessons Learned (https://digital.gov/event/2020/06/23/air-force-cool-18f-partnership-flight/)
- Want a More Innovative Agency? Encourage Employees to Experiment (https://digital.gov/2018/09/19/want-a-more-innovative-agency-encourage-employees-to-experiment/)
More About the Federal Crowdsourcing Webinar Series
Airing monthly, this series illuminates how U.S. agencies are reaching beyond their typical channels to source talent and enthusiasm to multiply the ideas and perspectives being brought to a particular issue. Don’t miss these previous episodes:
- Episode 11: Federal Crowdsource Mobile Testing Program, with David Fern, SSA
- Episode 10: precisionFDA, with Elaine Johansen, Emily Boja and Holly Stephens
- Episode 9: History Hub, with Kelly Osborn and Darren Cole, NARA
- Episode 8: NASA@WORK, with Carissa Callini and Jeff DOI, NASA
- Episode 7: Crowdsourcing for Code, with Amin Mehr, Code.gov
- Episode 6: FedRAMP Ideation, with Betsy Steele, GSA
- Episode 5: History by the People, with Lauren Algee, Library of Congress
- Episode 4: Open Opportunities, with Lisa Nelson, USAJOBS, OPM
- Episode 3: The Opportunity Project, with Drew Zachary and Lorena Molina-Irizarry, U.S. Census Bureau
- Episode 2: Challenges and Prize Competitions, with Jarah Meador, GSA, and Jessie Buerlein, HHS
- Episode 1: Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, with John McLaughlin, NOAA, and Sophia B. Liu, USGS
This talk is hosted by Challenge.gov. Managed by GSA, Challenge.gov serves as both the official listing of prize competitions across government, as well as a centralized platform for federal agencies to market their problem-solving events. The program also designs resources and training, which have helped more than 102 federal agencies run over 1,100 prize competitions with public participation since 2010.
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