Lt. Gen Harris & Mark Cuban Give AFWERX ‘Inspring Innovation Award’

The “AFWERX Inspiring Innovation Award” was recently presented to Tom Burden, a former F-16 weapons mechanic, by Lt. Gen. Harris USAF. The presentation was made at the AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub, 3773 Howard Hughes Parkway, Las Vegas, that was attended by tech innovator,  Mark Cuban.

More than 50 airmen and officers from nearby Creech & Nellis Air Force Bases also attended the event where both Gen. Harris Mark Cuban and AFWERX’ COO, Dave Harden spoke about technology, defense and the importance of innovation in both industry and in our nation’s security. Mark Cuban went on to encourage all to innovate and bring positive change:

“When you have an idea, why not you…why not me…why not us?” – Mark Cuban

A former member of the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Air Wing, Swanton, Ohio, Burden developed a solution to prevent his tools rolling out of reach while maintaining an F-16’s gun trough. Burden went on to crowd-fund production of a set of prototypes via Kickstarter, but he got one of his biggest boosts as a guest on a reality TV show with Mark Cuban.

Mark Cuban at AFWERX Vegas talking about the importance of innovation in industry and defense.

Burden now receives funding and mentorship from tv show hosts Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, and guest panelist Richard Branson. Since appearing on tv, his technology has entered into partnerships with multiple tool manufacturers, and recently, has been named one of Time magazine’s 2018 Best Inventions of the Year. Burden was also named to the 2019 “30 Under 30” list compiled by Forbes.

“Tom Burden’s success story epitomizes what AFWERX is all about,” AFWERX Vegas Innovation Actualizer Mark Rowland said. “Putting practical problem-solvers, business and technical experts, and warfighter professionals into the same creative environment, and developing real-world answers out of those interactions. We’re very proud that he’s received our ‘Inspiring Innovation Award.” – Mark Rowland, Innovation Actualizer – AFWERX Vegas

For more information on AFWERX events, visit:

For more information regarding design challenges regularly hosted online by AFWERX Vegas, visit:

As envisioned by U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in 2017, AFWERX is intended to solve some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces, through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top subject-matter experts. The world is changing quickly—new technologies, new threats, and new opportunities.

AFWERX taps into the power of creativity and empowers intentional innovation that unleashes emergent approaches for the warfighter through a community of intrapreneurs, industry, academia, and non-traditional contributors. AFWERX has the ability “to bring together our nation’s best and brightest to collaborate, innovate, fabricate, and present accelerated results to the United States Air Force to better serve our No. 1 customer: the warfighter and operators in the Air Force.”

AFWERX Vegas Launches New Challenge Event

AFWERX has just launched our second public challenge event to generate ideas, components, materials and technologies to improve the Fixed Wing Aircrew Helmet. This challenge event will bring together small business, entrepreneurs and academia that aim to provide innovative solutions to existing Air Force focus areas.

The USAF has allocated ~$20 million to redesign and replace the Fixed Wing (plane) helmet used by pilots and aircrew. Whether you make or design entire helmet systems or just components that are or might be related, we’re challenging you to help us create the helmet of the future. The helmet of tomorrow needs to be lightweight, comfortable, stable, less noisy, have better thermal management, improve modularity and the ability to tailor the helmet for different needs.

Ultimately, our goal is to enhance aircrew performance, safety and satisfaction. Visit for more information about participation.

AFWERX Austin Grand Opening

Air Force Media Advisory

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

1690 Air Force Pentagon 1D888

Washington, DC 20330


June 26, 2018


Air Force to launch new innovation and collaboration hub in Austin

AUSTIN, Texas – AFWERX-Austin, the U.S. Air Force’s newest public innovation and collaboration hub, will host Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Mayor Steve Adler along with community innovators June 27, 2018 for its site launch event.

The event is designed to introduce Austin’s top innovators, entrepreneurs, academia and industry members to the unique opportunity sets available through partnerships with the U.S. Air Force.

AFWERX hubs provide an “open to the public” interface that connects innovators from industry, including start-ups and small businesses, academia, and government organizations to gather for unclassified collaborations.

AFWERX-Austin will focus initially on identified Air Education and Training Command emphasis areas, such as immersive education and training tools methods, data-enabled Recruit-Train-Educate systems, strategy and technology education partnerships, and transformational operations and methods. The AFWERX-Austin and AETC vanguard project is the Pilot Training Next program, which is exploring and potentially prototyping a training environment that integrates various immersive technologies to produce pilots in an accelerated, cost efficient, learning-focused manner.

Highlights of the event include remarks by Wilson and Adler, as well as remarks by Capital Factory’s CEO Joshua Baer and will be attended by U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, Commander of AETC.

The event will be held at Austin’s Capital Factory June 27th from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. in the Voltron Room, 1st Floor. Media are invited to attend the full event, including a continental breakfast social before the formal program begins. AFWERX and Capital Factory representatives will be available for Q&A following the conclusion of the formal program.

AFWERX Vegas Grand Debut & AFWERX Fusion Xperience Press Release

For Immediate Release

AFWERX Vegas Now Fully Operational As Las Vegas’ Air Force Innovation Driver

Registration Now Open To Attend Grand Debut of AFWERX Vegas’ Complete Hub And Innovation Showcase Event

LAS VEGAS – June 7th, 2018 – AFWERX, a catalyst for fostering innovation within the Air Force, marks the beginning of full operations in Las Vegas with a three-day series of public events. The official introduction of the AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub on June 19 and the launch of its signature event, AFWERX Fusion Xperience, June 20-21 will introduce the public to AFWERX’s mission in an interactive way.

The goal of AFWERX is to source solutions for challenges encountered within the Air Force. To accomplish this, AFWERX Vegas opens its doors to anyone who may have inventive ideas to fit the Air Force’s needs, including students, academic faculty, entrepreneurs, small businesses, established defense companies and more. These innovators utilize AFWERX Vegas’ facility to workshop their ideas and collaborate with experts, getting everything they need to perfect their product for implementation in the field.

“Hosting the Grand Debut of the AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub alongside our flagship Fusion Xperience event gives us the chance to showcase our capabilities and forward momentum,” said Mark Rowland, the director of AFWERX Vegas. “The tools we’re able to provide at AFWERX Vegas will be a valuable asset to members of the community looking to collaborate with us and advance their ideas.”

Grand Debut of Innovation Hub | June 19 | AFWERX Vegas

AFWERX will celebrate the completion of its Las Vegas hub by unveiling its new Prototyping Lab, a 10,000-square-foot, onsite light fabrication lab, which will work in conjunction with the already established 20,000-square-foot collaboration space. The debut event will feature opening remarks from Maj. Gen. Peter E. Gersten, commander of the Air Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base and one of the contributing minds behind the hub’s design. Guests also will hear from Rowland on how the hub will benefit the local community through collaboration and networking.

At the Grand Debut, visitors will have the chance to see the AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub in action, learn more about the non-profit organization and participate in interactive demonstrations showcasing the hub’s work. Those interested in attending the event may register at this link.

AFWERX Fusion Xperience | June 20-21 | Enclave Las Vegas

The inaugural AFWERX Fusion Xperience will bring together the top innovators and creative minds from around the country to showcase an array of forward-thinking solutions during a free, two-day event. Attendees ranging from high school students to high-ranking Air Force personnel will learn more about instilling a culture of innovation within the military and beyond through a series of presentations, panels and workshops. Keynote speakers include Jeff Schumacher, Founder and CEO of BCG Digital Ventures, and Jason Korman, Co-Founder and CEO of gapingvoid, both of whom have had great success shifting long-held paradigms within organizations.

The exhibition floor will showcase technologies designed to address perimeter security issues for mobile, fixed and temporary locations. Out of 187 entries submitted as part of a crowdsourced challenge, 50 teams have been selected to demonstrate their solutions. The teams, consisting of small businesses, entrepreneurs, academia and more, will present their innovations to a team of military security experts who will determine which technologies will move on to receive further AFWERX development support.

Anyone interested in attending the public event to learn more about how the Air Force is incorporating innovation and breakthrough technologies into its everyday operations can register at

Media Contacts:

Katelyn Mixer / Natalie Mounier /


AFWERX Fusion Event Open Challenge

Registration is now open for our first open challenge event from June 20-21 at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. This first AFWERX Fusion event will bring together small business, entrepreneurs and academia that aim to provide innovative solutions to existing Air Force focus areas.

This year, the free two day event will focus on the developments AFWERX is currently engaged in regarding Site Security. AFWERX will have down selected 50 – 100 teams contributing towards the Air Force focus area of Site Security. Teams will be displaying and speaking to their innovations in an expo booth style setting. Concurrently, there will be live demos, and keynote speakers and subject matter experts giving talks and panel discussions on Site Security, innovation, culture change and other Air Force related focus areas. This flagship event for AFWERX will welcome senior Air Force leadership, to include a remote presentation from the Vice Chief of Staff to the Air Force, Gen Stephen Wilson.


The top 50 – 100 Fusion Challenge submissions will present their ideas at the Fusion Xperience. Expo teams will have the chance to interact with top U.S. Air Force leaders, AFWERX team members, industry experts, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and YOU. During the event, the expo teams will be evaluated by security force experts from the Air Force and other branches of the military that will be assessing their ideas to receive AFWERX development support and for future contracts.

The Air Force and other military branches need to protect our people in three different site security contexts: mobile, temporary and fixed.  Each context comes with a set of known variables that make different security solutions more or less practical, possible or effective.  We invite you to come out to the expo and hear the new and innovative ideas these teams have created to protect the warfighter.

If you are interested in submitting an innovation challenge submission, click here for more information. Submissions are being accepted until May 20, 2018.

Techstars / AFWERX Autonomous Technology Accelerator Press Release

Boston –Ten Techstars companies will pitch to hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs, and industry experts on Friday, April 20 at 12:30 pm EDT at the The Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston. The event, Demo Day, is the culmination of the three-month mentorship-driven accelerator program where each company showcases their innovative technologies and new business announcements to customers, partners, and investors as they launch into the next stage of growth.

See full release here:

Press Release- TS AT Demo Day

6 April – Fridays @ AFWERX – “Telemedicine”

Our First Fridays @ AFWERX April 6th will be covering the topic of ‘Telemedicine’. Our AFWERX Vegas hub will host subject matter experts to speak on the topic. Join us virtually via Facebook live at 11:00 AM PST February 2nd.


Dr. Krishnan Chittur, Founder/CTO, GeneCapture, Inc.

Maj Matthew Nielsen, Mental Health Flight Commander, 99 MDG USAF

Mr. Serhad Doken, Executive, Emerging Technology Incubation & Innovation, Verizon

Dr. Ryan McKendrick, Engineer Systems Architect, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems