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NCO awarded $10,000 for IDEA

Tech Sgt. James Mazurek, 5th Maintenance Squadron, shows where a tow bar hooking up to the main landing gear of a B-52H Stratofortress can cause damage. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Danny Monahan)

Tech Sgt. James Mazurek, 5th Maintenance Squadron, shows where a tow bar hooking up to the main landing gear of a B-52H Stratofortress can cause damage. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Danny Monahan)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- A good idea came with a good reward for an Airman from the 5th Maintenance Squadron. 

Tech. Sgt. James Mazurek was awarded $10,000 from the Air Force Innovative Development through Employee Awareness program April 13. He submitted an idea to insert a warning paragraph to the technical orders for hooking up a tow bar to a main landing gear of a B-52H Stratofortress. When the two come in contact it can cause extensive damage to the aircraft brake assembly. 

“I tried to think of various ways to avoid the contact between the MLG brake assembly and tow bar and the simplest way was to just tell people to not contact the brake assembly with the tow bar,” said Sergeant Mazurek. 

By eliminating main landing gear damage, the estimated first year savings for Minot is $95,740.25. 

“Years ago money and parts were not so much of an issue,” said Sergeant Mazurek. “But now there’s less money and less parts because we’re working on a 40-year old plane.” 

Sergeant Mazurek found out about the IDEA program from his Air Force Engineering and Training representative. 

“I wasn’t too familiar with how the program works,” said Sergeant Mazurek. “I just figured any extra money is a good thing.” 

Anyone with access to a military computer may submit an IDEA on the IPDS Web site, but only active-duty military and appropriated fund employees are eligible for cash awards. Also, an IDEA must be a person’s own thought and be submitted with the intent of being beneficial to the US government.  

“Prior to submitting an IDEA, people should check the IDEA pool located in IPDS,” said Judi Green, Minot Air Force Base IDEA program manager.  “If the Air Force has not already paid for a suggestion, it may be entered into the system.  The easiest way to submit is to create a Microsoft Word document with three sections:  The Current Process; Proposed Change; and Expected Benefits.  The submitter can then copy/paste it into IPDS.”  

IDEAs can earn 15 percent of the estimated first-year savings with a minimum award of $200 and a maximum award of $10,000.  

As for Sergeant Mazurek’s $10,000, he plans to put it to good use.

“I plan to invest some of it, and do a few home improvement projects,” said Sergeant Mazurek. 
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