A room just above Joyce Vaughn’s head is being converted into an experimental teaching center full of private technology that doesn’t yet exist. The Air Force may one day take these ideas and train people in a similar room.
A separate private project focuses on building a ‘base-in-a-box’ prototype complete with communications, security, water and power; all of which could be quickly deployed, then quickly broken down and airlifted.
Vaughn was this week named the new director of MGMWerx, a hub in downtown Montgomery that works with the private sector to develop ideas for Air University. It was used to being surrounded by innovation and technology before the pandemic, and like many other entities, MGMWerx has expanded its virtual offerings over the past two years.
But their downtown Montgomery space is once again a busy place, and Vaughn said she believes in the power of face-to-face connections as part of the process.
“We had a Q&A session yesterday for a project and it’s just about being able to shake hands with the person responsible for the project and look them in the eye and say, ‘Well, that’s maybe -be the person I am going to do business with. … That human connection is really valuable.
MGMWerx opened on Commerce Street in Montgomery in 2019 as a hub for private sector innovation and solutions to benefit the Air University and the U.S. Air Force as a whole. He regularly hosts pitch nights, brainstorming sessions and other events to find new ways to approach problems through collaboration.
Vaughn takes over from former manager and retired Brig. General Trent Edwards, who left last month.
Born to Alabama natives, Vaughn settled in Montgomery after his life as a military brat. The Auburn University of Montgomery graduate spent much of her career here in marketing, including with Baptist Health, before joining MGMWerx and learning with Edwards.
She said her goal was to connect in the community and raise awareness of the business opportunities that constantly crop up as they work to solve problems at the Air University.
“When we get these projects, it’s an opportunity for the community as a whole. … It’s for small business, it’s for minority-owned business, it’s for whoever is out there in our community or in small communities all over the United States who can solve a problem for Air University.
“…If this suits your business, why not consider making an offer and see if you can work for Air University?”
In her new role as Director, Vaughn will formally oversee administration, programs and all strategic plans.
“Joyce has proven to be a valuable asset to MGMWerx and our partner, Air University,” DefenseWerx CEO Brian Liesveld said in a statement. “By leveraging her experience and knowledge, Joyce will have a significant and lasting impact on the future of MGMWerx.”
You can see more at mgmwerx.org.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brad Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.