NEWS | May 8, 2012

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes in the 437th Maintenance Group

By 1st Lt. Juliana D'Amore 437th Airlift Wing executive officer

Innovation ... it is the way ahead for the Air Force and Col. Erik Hansen, 437th Airlift Wing commander, is taking steps to ensure the 437th AW will continue to thrive and fly in the 21st century in an environment that encourages innovative ideas from every Airman.
Hansen toured an impressive array of innovative projects occurring throughout the 437th Maintenance Group, May 2.

The 437th Aerial Port Squadron jump-started Hansen's tour with briefings on three exciting new projects. Senior Airman Erika Williams explained an ongoing Rapid Improvement Effort which will create a self-help room for Traffic Management Office customers, streamlining paper processing for service members moving in and out of the Charleston area and allowing them to be reimbursed in a timely manner. Hansen expressed his appreciation to Williams and her team and recognized the leadership of their supervisor, Master Sgt. Nonglaks Dyer, saying, "It is the openness to change on the part of supervisors that will be one of the key components to the success of an innovative culture."

Capt. Douglas Todd, also of the 437th APS, briefed Hansen on a new process, that if adopted, has the potential for Air Mobility Command-wide implementation, where strategic ports, such as Charleston, will use "opportunity airlift" instead of relying solely on regular commercial shipments for Mission Capable parts ... parts needed immediately in order to maintain the Air Force Fleet. Opportunity Airlift will enable high-volume ports to load MICAP parts on a mission going to a base where the part is needed faster than a commercial shipment. This seemingly simple idea could save AMC many hours of non-mission capable aircraft time.

Jon Kidder also explained an incredible new data program he developed which shows, at the click of a button, the current position, weight and destination of any pallet of cargo and keeps a history of such information as well. The program is projected to save more than 500 man-hours per year.

Hansen then made his way to the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and was briefed by Staff Sgt. Thomas Deaton on flightline truck improvements, Master Sgt. Paul Holland on tool crib renovations and Tech Sgt. Salvatore Sciortino on the installation of wireless network access for Digital Technical Order Laptops in order to eliminate queuing at LAN stations for publication updates.

Hansen's visit to the 437th Maintenance Squadron's Aerospace Ground Equipment shop included a briefing by Tech. Sgt. Michael Kraft on their new equipment and organization.

Hansen's final stop was the 437th Maintenance Operations Squadron where Staff Sgt. Daniel Hersom, Tech. Sgt. Wallace Kirtz and Master Sgt. Mark Rogge explained their automation of aircraft jacket files, the maintenance leadership morning package and emergency checklists which have saved the squadron thousands of dollars per year in paper and printing costs.

At the conclusion of the tour, Hansen stressed that any innovation, from the 437th APS opportunity airlift to the paper savings in the 437th MOS, is vitally important to the wing and Air Force mission and saves time and money as well as pushes the command toward its ultimate goal - developing a truly innovative culture.

To continue growing the innovative culture, Hansen will be hosting a series of Commander's Calls in the upcoming weeks that will emphasize the importance of innovation to the 437th AW and the Air Force as a whole.