Enterprise Innovator of the Year - Kristian Olivero - 405 Magazine

Enterprise Innovator of the Year – Kristian Olivero

Kristian Olivero - Technical Director, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.

Kristian Olivero – Technical Director, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.

Kristian Olivero, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Technical Director, leads a team of scientists, engineers and others at Tinker Air Force Base, meaning his current authorized manpower is 11,135 employees.

His team handles maintenance, overhaul and repair of 228 aircraft, 363 engines and 34,000 components each year. Last year alone, the complex had 9.8 million production hours and saw revenues north of $3.5 billion, reflecting revenue growth of about 8 percent over the year before.

“We are responsible for 75 years of platforms that range from 1950s era B-52 to our newest KC-46 tanker,” Olivero said. “Innovation is a continuous theme as we sustain legacy platforms that find creative new ways to break, and our modern fleets that leverage modern technology, as we continuously modernize the shop floor to optimize throughput, quality, safety and cost effectiveness.”

How do you define innovation? “Innovation is hard work. Yes, it involves creativity and good ideas — a better way of doing business, a new process or a new technology. But … you have to try all the bad ideas to confirm they are the bad ideas. You have to do prototypes and iterations to cover the chasm between a great lab test and safe enough and reliable enough that our airmen can depend on it to protect their lives and ours. You have to find funding for something that never needed funding before. … Innovation is turning 100 ‘Nos’ into ‘YES.’”

What has been the most innovative project you’ve worked on in the last year? “Certainly, we get a lot of recognition for advanced manufacturing — the benefits of being able to fabricate parts quickly is profound and we are printing thousands of parts from tooling and fixtures to those flying on United States Air Force weapon systems. The work we are doing with a number of government, industry and academic partners to move this capability into airworthy applications is hard work but will have significant impact on readiness.”

Why is innovation important to the future of OC-ALC? “The why is pretty easy — having an advanced, effective and cost-effective Air Force is critical to our nation’s security. One thing that is really driving us into the future is expanding our agility and effectiveness through collaborative partnerships. For years, the barbed wire fence around Tinker Air Force Base has not only provided physical security but has been an invisible barrier to the transfer of ideas. Today we are proud of partnerships with Oklahoma universities, industry and other government organizations that allow the team to quickly crowdsource answers to our toughest problems.”

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