Man's ingenuity earns $20K

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jerron Barnett
  • 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A senior noncommissioned officer here was recently awarded two $10,000 checks for aircraft maintenance improvements through the Air Force's Innovative Development through Employee Awareness program.

Master Sgt. Warren Gould of the 33rd Fighter Wing's quality assurance office suggested cutting the wing's F-15 Eagle engine turbine servicing in half, from 400 to 200 hours, and drilling out square corners on bleed air duct expansion slots to cut engine failures by 25 percent. His approved ideas will save the Air Force more than $600,000 in aircraft maintenance repair costs and hundreds of man-hours collectively each year, according to wing officials.

The suggestions Gould made were sent through the IDEA program, designed to let airmen and Department of Defense-employed civilians suggest improvements to Air Force procedures. With approved ideas, airmen can receive monetary rewards up to $10,000 for each suggestion.

Gould, who is deploying with the 58th Fighter Squadron to Southwest Asia, said he had put a few ideas in the past and got small monetary rewards for his approved suggestions, but he admitted not really understanding how much money he could make and save the Air Force at the same time.

Martha Williams, 33rd Fighter Wing IDEA analyst, said that once an idea is submitted, it goes through the appropriate evaluators for approval. If it is approved, analysts will validate any savings the approved idea will save and the submitter can receive a monetary award.

"I'd heard of guys getting $10,000 for an approved idea, but I don't want to say I did it to make the money," Gould said. "It's good to make that money, but having worked out there, I know how many hours it takes to change one of those turbines or ducts, and I really wanted to save time for those guys out there on the flightline. I was in that career field, and I know I didn't like to change those things, so that was the main force behind me when I started this."

Gould encourages airmen with improvement ideas to work with their chain of command and read up on the IDEA program. Each wing has a manpower office that can provide people with information on the program.

With the $20,000 in hand, Gould said he is working on some other ideas to submit. He also shared his plans for the cash.

"Oh, we got some bills we want to pay off and some work needs to be done to the house," Gould said. "I want to get a trampoline for the kids, so there's some fun stuff we'll do with the money, but paying off some bills is first."

For details on the Air Force's IDEA program, visit (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)