On May 18, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, MGMWERX and the Air University, virtually pulled off its 2nd Annual Top Flight Pitch Night.  Despite changes to the Pitch Night, there was still much excitement during the virtual event and immense celebration when Air University’s Major Marcus Laird was announced as the first-place winner.  In addition to the panel’s selection, MGMWERX introduced a People’s Choice Award.  This particular honor was voted on by over 2,000 community members who selected Captain Wesley “Rock” Reid as the People’s Choice Award.

 

“Awesome Pitch Night! So much harder to accomplish this virtually, but you made it intriguing with snippets and clips between the action,” exclaimed Elizabeth Woodworth, Air University Instructor.

 

With the event being virtual, participants were given a 3-hour workshop to craft their pitch, as well as two follow-up, one-on-one sessions in order to prepare for the changes. On the date of the event, three finalists – Marcus Laird, Wesley “Rock” Reid, and Chris Ward – pitched their ideas to a panel of three judges – General James Hecker, Commander of Air University; Lt. Col. J.J. Snow, Innovation Officer for AFWERX (USAF); and Trent Edwards, Senior Vice President of Military and Community Development at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

“Top Flight Pitch Night is a flagship event for MGMWERX and Air University,” says Anna Ganey, MGMWERX Business Manager. “Participants have the benefit of their research papers gaining visibility to the community and to Air Force leadership. From this pitch night, their research could potentially gain traction and be brought to operational life!”

 

While COVID-19 definitely presented challenges, the consensus from attendees was overwhelmingly positive.  Therefore, the 3rd Annual Top Flight Pitch Night participants and facilitators will be more than prepared for whatever is on the horizon.