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CHIPS Articles: New avenue for innovation coming to Patuxent River – AirAthena

New avenue for innovation coming to Patuxent River – AirAthena
By AIR-6.0 Public Affairs - April-June 2016
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – AirAthena, part of the Athena Project, is making its debut here June 27 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the new Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.

The kickoff event is intended to introduce the Athena Project concept to the PAX community. U.S. citizens in the St. Mary’s and Pax River communities interested in Naval Aviation and innovation are invited.

Co-hosted by motivated groups from the Naval Air Systems Command’s Logistics and Industrial Operations Competency (AIR 6.0) and Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic (FRCMA), the AirAthena seeks to encourage, inspire and facilitate military and civilians in:

  • Engagement
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Professional Mastery
  • Constructive Action

Born of grass-roots, Sailor efforts, AirAthena will foster creative ideas, unique solutions and intellectual courage at all levels of leadership by connecting people with ideas to a highly effective, informal network of “can-do” innovation supporters.

Originating on the San Diego Waterfront, the Athena Project has successful campaigns in San Diego, Norfolk and the Pacific Northwest. Begun by the USS BENFOLD (DDG-65) Combat Systems Officer, then Lt. Dave Nobles, the project offers a way for deckplate innovators to present ideas to supportive audiences of military personnel, engineers, scientists, industry and academia. Think “Shark Tank meets Ted Talks!”

“Sailors tend to have a lot to gripe about in the way we do things — either as a ship, community or Navy — and this is a great chance to ‘scratch the itch’ and try to make things better,” Nobles said.

Leading up to the June 27 event, presenters will be given assistance and time away from their jobs to refine their ideas and presentations. These presentations will be limited to five minutes, followed by five minutes of questioning by the audience. Then votes are taken on the idea with the best quality, potential for action and presentation. Event winners receive the Admiral Sims Award for Intellectual Courage and support of the Athenian Council that facilitates innovation and mentors presenters in refining ideas for further evaluation.

Past winners include the Optical Database Information Network, now at the Office of Naval Research, PartnerShips, an online Sailor-meet-scientist idea exchange fully underway, and an E-5 maintainer-originated shipboard electrical safety tool being prototyped at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. But you don’t have to win to make a difference! CosmoGator, a third-place finisher, became a CNO-funded project, and a tablet-based maintenance solution was prototyped and showcased by Lockheed Martin within three months.

AIR 6.0 and FRCMA supporters intend for AirAthena to help create a collaborative workspace that can function like a phased incubation to investigate, assess, quickly transition, and mature emerging ideas.

For more information, to be a sponsor, mentor, volunteer or press participant, e -mail or visit

Free registration is required for everyone! Register at

To pitch your ideas, please contact at no later than June 13, 2016, and title your email “My Great Idea.”

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