By Mr. Brian Beall (AMC)November 4, 2016
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Army Materiel Command officials took part in the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's inaugural Agency Innovation Mission Day Nov. 1 here that drew hundreds of innovative thinkers from throughout the Alabama area.
The Agency Innovation Mission Day featured panel discussions and activities focused on innovation and more than 20 technology displays from MSFC, AMC and industry partners.
In support of the event, Patrick O'Neill, AMC's chief technology officer, met with MSFC Acting Chief Technology Officer Dr. Mike Tinker to review commonalities between MSFC and AMC's science and technology initiatives including respective barriers to and opportunities for innovation across both enterprises.
The event featured former astronaut Don Thomas, who logged more than 1,040 hours in space and was a mission specialist on four Space Shuttle missions. Another highlight was a "Shark Tank" style event called the Marshall Sharks, wherein MSFC employees were given a few short minutes to pitch their innovative idea or technology to a panel of MSFC senior leaders. Winners received funding, manpower, or both, if their proposal received a "bite" from the panel.
Winning participants included Kristin Pollard Kiel and Zenia Garcia, whose Torchbearers program seeks to create new opportunities within NASA for young female scientists and engineers to interact with female leaders across MSFC, Team Redstone, and the greater Huntsville area to promote professional development.
Additional events included workshops and presentations from MSFC and industry leaders to discuss the role of innovation in their organizations.
"Innovation with a capital 'I' is about more than just technology or its applications, it is a transformative, cross-cutting force," said Todd May, the MSFC director. "The fundamental stuff that makes any business, public agency, or institution resilient, capable and ready for the future are people, culture, accountability and, of course, innovation."