Idea Challenge 2020

  • Published
  • By Mr. Daniel Pensiero
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing

Attention Freedom Wing Reserve Citizen Airman!  Do you think you have what it takes to go from innovative Airman to swimming with the sharks?  On 23 September at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst the inventor and CEO of Grypmat “The Ultimate Tool Mat,” Tom Burden visited the McGuire Theater as part of the kick-off to the JB MDL 2020 Idea Challenge. 

The Infinity Spark lab dove into a day with one mechanic turned millionaire who relied heavily on the lessons of resiliency he was taught while serving.    
During his visit, Burden along with Capt. Stephen Heptic a KC-10 pilot with the 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, 305th Air Mobility Wing, came together to showcase the upcoming iteration of this year’s challenge to pitch your ideas to the United States Air Force. 

During the “Idea Challenge,” the Air Force is looking for the best and brightest base level ideas that can help make our military more efficient and innovative. 

“Our mission is to make our military the most efficient force in the world,” said Burden as he spoke highly of the nine-years he spent as an aircraft armament systems technician on F-16 aircraft. 

In the spirit of innovation and basing the competition on the television show “Shark Tank,” the committee on JB MDL is encouraging anyone with a great idea to submit it to the Air Force Idea website at

On this website, there will be the ability to collaborate with other like-minded thinkers and vote for what idea you think makes the most sense for the mission. 

The top 20 submissions will be picked between October 9th and 10th and the finalists will receive training on how to develop and pitch their ideas. 

“Even if your idea isn’t picked as a top winner, you will have the education to learn how to pitch your idea, a tool that can come in handy to help motivate people to get on board with your ideas in the workplace,” said Burden.   

For more information about this program please visit: