HomeNews

First TEDx Edwards AFB sparks innovation discussion

Col. Randy “Laz” Gordon, Lead for the Secretary of the Air Force’s AI Technology Accelerator, talks to guests during a presentation at the Edwards Air Force Base first-ever TEDx talks in the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards AFB, California, Nov. 12. Gordon shared his experiences on innovation, implementation and breaking barriers while serving in the Air Force. Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. Meanwhile, TEDx events are organized independently under a free license granted by TED, according to the TED website. (Air Force photo by Richard Gonzales)

Col. Randy “Laz” Gordon, Lead for the Secretary of the Air Force’s AI Technology Accelerator, talks to guests during a presentation at the Edwards Air Force Base first-ever TEDx talks in the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards AFB, California, Nov. 12. Gordon shared his experiences on innovation, implementation and breaking barriers while serving in the Air Force. Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. Meanwhile, TEDx events are organized independently under a free license granted by TED, according to the TED website. (Air Force photo by Richard Gonzales)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

The 412th Test Wing hosted its first-ever TEDx talks in the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Nov. 12.

Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. Meanwhile, TEDx events are organized independently under a free license granted by TED, according to the TED website.

About 100 invited personnel attended the TEDx, which was staged in front of the backdrop of an F-16XL, one of two versions of the F-16 Fighting Falcon ever made with a delta wing designed to test out new concepts in a military fighter aircraft.

Featured guest speakers were retired Air Force Lt. Col. Kelly Latimer, pilot with Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit; retired Army Col. Peter Newell, CEO of BMNT, an innovation consultancy; Col. Randy “Laz” Gordon, Lead for the Secretary of the Air Force’s AI Technology Accelerator; and Command Chief Master Sgt. Ian Eishen, 412th Test Wing Command Chief. 

“This is a world-class lineup—we have brought rock stars here today to ignite your continued interest in our innovation journey,” said Brig. Gen. E. John Teichert, 412th Test Wing Commander. “Use today to be a further spark that ignites your interest and your passion in making things better for us and for the warfighter, here at the center of the aerospace testing universe.”

Topics ranged from the Virgin Orbit Launcher One program to innovation leadership topics, but all centered on the theme of ‘Laying the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Innovation’.   

The execution of hosting a TEDx event was months in the making and involved a full Team Edwards effort, but the idea stems from Staff Sgt. Michael Meyer, fighter lead crew chief, 412th Maintenance Group, and is rooted in the first Eddie’s Challenge campaign of the SparkED innovation team, formerly known as the Hustle Squad.

“We wanted a way to showcase innovation in a prestigious way,” said Meyer. “I thought what better way than TEDx.”

Early in the year, Meyer applied for the permit and licenses to conduct a TEDx and received approval in about six weeks. His next task was to book guest speakers.

“I wanted speakers that would educate the workforce,” said Meyer. “Speakers who could talk about breaking barriers and how it impacts the workforce.”

Admittedly, he was surprised by how willing people were to speak.

“I sent an IM (instant message) to Peter Newell, who was the CEO of a company, to see if he would come down … thinking he would be too busy,” said Meyer. “But, he responded with ‘of course,’ which caught me by surprise.”

Teichert praised Meyer’s dedication and hard work in spearheading the TEDx event.

“This was a world-class event masterminded and led by an amazing staff sergeant,” Teichert said. “It is incredible what an individual can do when trusted and unleased.”

The event was live-streamed on Edwards’ intranet and simultaneously streamed at the Edwards AFB Theater for viewing by base employees.

This TEDx followed the launch of the latest innovation campaign called “Eddie’s Challenge 19.2” and demonstrates the culture of innovation at Edwards.

“It’s exciting that this event is coming off the heels of our kickoff of the latest innovation campaign,” said Teichert. “The last innovation campaign ... dwarfed the rest of the innovation campaigns throughout the Air Force.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

News Search