MONTGOMERY, ALA. – One of MGMWERX’s own Pitch Night candidates, Captain Casey Hawkins was   recently awarded with a Small Business Innovation Research’s (SBIR) Phase 1 award valued at $50,000.  Hawkins’ presentation on “Environmentally-Friendly Green Solutions for Metal Surface Preparation” was selected as one of the best at the Pitch Night back in May 2019 and has now been recognized by the Air Force SBIR program with a stipend based on scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation. The award will help his family-owned company move the solution from concept and prototype toward reality and commercialization.

“We have a technology that has the potential to revolutionize the titanium and aluminum industry,” Hawkins stated.  “The SBIR award will allow us to systematically track the impact that varying the technology components has in relation to the major titanium and aluminum alloys used in industry.”

Because of the immediate military and commercial need for the products being produced, Hawkins’ company is now competing for a highly competitive Phase 2 SBIR Award valued at $750,000 dollars. The Air Force SBIR program encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization, ideally delivering critical tools to the war fighter at a faster pace, while allowing small businesses access to an over $100 billion dollar market.

“The technology for cleaning and surface preparation of titanium and aluminum have not changed in the past three decades even though the dangers of using hydrofluoric acid (HF) are well known to the environment and the operators,” explained Hawkins.  “My goal for this project is to show that our innovative green technology not only exceeds the effectiveness of HF, but also provides a safer environment for the operators.”

Hawkins was first recognized at Pitch Night which highlighted the best student research conducted at Air University in academic year 2019. Candidates were selected by MGMWERX and Air University staff to pitch live in front of a judges’ panel of military and industry experts.  Hawkins’ pitch, titled “Environmentally-Friendly Green Solutions for Metal Surface Preparation,” explained that a radical change is needed within the aluminum industry to protect both the operators and the environment from toxic chemical exposure.