Innovation drives us forward

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexis Christian
  • Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs

The 50th Civil Engineer Squadron’s own U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Justin Nevins, unit deployment manager, participated in briefing commanders during the Innovative Warfighters Advancing Readiness panel at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado, March 3, 2020. The IWAR panel first started in 2018 and is used to fast track approval for innovative ideas at Schriever SFB. Nevins’ idea encouraged Schriever SFB to improve safety and efficiency of their snowplows. The changes to the snow plows were finished earlier this year, and the trucks are ready to be used this winter season.

“I briefed at the IWAR panel where I discussed all the safety concerns that we had with these trucks, and how much we would need to complete the upgrades,” said Nevins. “Once I was done briefing, I told them that I needed $118,000. They had a short meeting and my funding was approved.”

Although the trucks were brand new, Nevins saw the opportunity to improve them and help his fellow Airmen and Guardians.

“The trucks had poor lighting on the outside and we wanted to make it more visible, so we added flashing lights,” said Nevins. “One of the biggest concerns we had was that the sander controls sat below the seat, so operators would have to take their eyes off the road to engage the controls. So we had a modern control system put in that has everything the operator needs installed at a safer height.”

Nevins had the full backing of his leadership. The Air Force has placed a high priority on inspiring innovation at all levels of the Air Force. U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.’s strategic approach “Accelerate Change or Lose” called on Airmen to be “multi-capable and adaptable team builders, as well as innovative and courageous problem-solvers and demonstrate value in the diversity of thought, ingenuity and initiative.”

“I believe with these innovation ideas being put forward, it allows Airmen to put their ideas out there and for them to be heard,” said Nevins. “It also shows that people are listening and are open to hearing new ideas that could make the Air Force more efficient.”

Changes made to the snowplows include: new warning lights, to reduce the risk of vehicular accidents; improved tie downs, to add stability to the load box; new operator control system, to allow operators to stay focused on the road; and a liquid application system and road surface temperature devices, to add efficiency and effectiveness to operations, saving the Air Force $25.5K  a year.

“It’s very rewarding to see what started out as just a concept come to life, and be used in the way it was meant to be,” said Nevins. “It’s also nice to see that the operators, who have to sit in these trucks for up to 12 hours at a time, have something more efficient and easier to operate, which makes their life easier.”

To learn more about the 50th CES’ new and improved snowplows watch this video