Iceman Spark tours University of Alaska Fairbanks, initiates innovative partnership

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 354th Fighter Wing’s Iceman Spark executive council toured facilities and spoke with University of Alaska Fairbanks personnel to collaborate toward a stronger relationship.

Iceman Spark empowers Airmen to pioneer innovative tools to prepare the warfighter for 21st century combat.

“On day one of creating this council we had the privilege of visiting one of the shops on base,” said Staff Sgt. Nick Cavanaugh, Iceman Spark chief pioneering evangelist. “[Aircrew Flight Equipment] showed us the current problem they have with their F-35 seat kit.  In short, the current set up restricts how much survival equipment they can put in that kit.”

Recently, U.S. Air Force Col. Benjamin Bishop, 354th FW commander spoke at UAF about Jimmy Doolittle’s success in fostering innovation in the U.S. Air Force by bringing together industry, academia and the military.

“This fusion of skills catapulted our ability to be innovative, and really set us apart from our adversaries,” said Cavanaugh. “The intent of Iceman Spark visiting UAF is to start fostering those relationships in academia to help us solve some of our larger problems.”

During the tour led by Dr. Peter Webley, UAF Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization faculty ambassador and Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration associate director of research, Iceman Spark visited UAF’s Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska’s Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, and UAF’s Honors College to learn more about what UAF has to offer.

“The tour provided the Iceman Spark team members with an insight into the UAF capabilities and capacity,” said Webley. “In addition, the face-to-face visit provided a venue for the two groups to discuss the opportunities to collaborate now and into the future.”

Cavanaugh thinks the visit will benefit Eielson by connecting the base to different resources to help solve problems Airmen may not be able to solve.

“This council gives me hope that we can help Airmen be innovative by either coaching them through the innovating process, connect them to the resources they need whether it be money, people or approvals, and finally committing to some large-scale projects,” said Cavanaugh. “There are going to be projects that some Airmen can’t handle at their level, and those will be the projects we take on as a council.”

To find out more information about UAF’s facilities and resources visit

If you have an innovative idea that you would like to present to the committee email