How Small Businesses in Utah are Helping the DoD Save Our Troops
In honor of Veterans Day, Silicon Slopes Managing Director, Garrett Clark, is joined by several top leaders within the Department of Defense (DoD) Sector, who discuss the largest modernization movement currently taking place in their industry and what it means for Utah tech companies.
Aniza Brown, Executive Director at Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation, got her start in the industry 9 years ago at the Hill Air Force Base. She offers viewpoints on technological advancement from her experience within a government entity and also as an outside contractor.
Robert DeVincent, Chief Software Officer with the 309th Software Engineering Group at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex on Hill Air Force Base, is a retired marine and describes his first hand experiences exhibiting how technology is saving the lives of our troops.
The last member of our panel also comes to us from Hill Air Force Base, Thomas Lockhart, Jr., Director of Engineering and Technical Management for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. Having served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Thomas shares his awareness regarding international defense and the importance of partnering with local businesses to advance the technology used to protect our nation.
Thomas, Aniza and Robert describe the challenges they've faced incorporating modern software development programs into their industry. Sharing models between the civilian sector and the government has been a huge obstacle for all three leaders. Thomas put it best saying, "We are trying to change the way we think about software... if we don't get faster, we are going to lose. We need to stay ahead."
Aniza describes her experience with trying to remove barriers, remembering when she first started in the industry, saying, "We wanted to get off base, and to do innovation off base, and I remember banging my head against the wall trying to get that done."
Aniza continued, stating, "There is a direct correlation between the technology that we launch and innovate on and the casualties in war. So, as we modernize and build out capabilities, deaths go down." Aniza illustrated this in a short clip of a fighter pilot losing consciousness as a result of high-g maneuvers during training and how the technology within the plane recognized the situation, took control and saved his life.
As the panel addresses, too often businesses underestimate the value of their software. Their hope is to encourage others to share their innovations. Aniza stated, "Our mission is to ensure we are breaking down those walls. That we are having small businesses understand that their product can impact our Department of Defense and projects." Watch or listen now to hear how many businesses in Silicon Slopes are doing their part to help the advancement of such an important industry and ultimately saving the lives of our troops.