News | Nov. 30, 2020

DLA R&D Industry Collider Day fuses industry, ingenuity

By DLA Research & Development DLA Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Research and Development held its first virtual Industry Collider Day Nov. 18, embracing unique solutions to build important partnerships within the limitations of the ongoing pandemic.

“While planning for our annual industry day, which is usually held in-person at DLA Headquarters, our chief information officer, Dr. George Duchak, challenged us to make it epic,” said Martina Johnson, DLA R&D operations integrator. “We embraced that challenge and partnered with innovative vendors to make it happen.” 

More than 500 attendees from DLA, the Defense Department, other government organizations, industry and academia took advantage of the virtual event to learn about the latest in innovative technologies and DLA initiatives that address national and global challenges. The virtual format allowed for live presentations, informative videos, interactive breakout rooms and awards presentations.

Duchak opened the event by outlining DLA’s goal to be a “global, agile and innovative organization” that faces challenges like supply chain security, maintains a resilient cyber environment and balances organizational efficiency with warfighter readiness.

During a keynote address, DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic shared examples of R&D’s success with power sources and ensuring domestically sourced materials. She also described the program’s ability to quickly provide sterilization for N95 masks in response to needs of front-line workers in the COVID-19 response. Skubic emphasized that DLA’s success is reliant on partnerships with academia, the military services and industry.

David Koch, director of DLA R&D, described the agency’s R&D programs, partnerships and the people involved, as well as how they will address DLA’s challenges.

Attendees also heard an update on DLA modernization efforts from DLA Program Executive Officer Adarryl Roberts and received information on how to do business with DLA and opportunities with R&D via the broad agency announcement process.

Program managers for each of DLA’s 13 R&D programs hosted break-out sessions in chat rooms and answered attendees’ questions.

The day concluded with the presentation of 15 Small Business Innovation Research Phase 1 Awards to small businesses from across the U.S. The awards were based on proposals submitted by over 140 candidates and oral presentations to technical evaluation teams. Winners addressed areas including pharmaceutical supply chain vulnerability and novel approaches for detection of and protection from emerging viral pandemics.

“The goal of Industry Collider Day was to create ‘collisions’ between R&D and participants to identify opportunities to collaborate on solutions from across a variety of technical areas,” Koch said. “Thanks to the support of our senior leaders and valued partners, numerous collisions were made, which ultimately is the fusion of industry with the ingenuity of DLA in supporting the warfighter.”

For more information about the event or DLA R&D, contact Logistics.Research@dla.mil.