AFWERX (Strategic Initiatives / Test and Evaluation Lead)
Talk Title: AFWERX: Connecting Innovators and Accelerating Results
Lieutenant Colonel Randy “Laz” Gordon, PhD is a decorated, multi-discipline leader with a demonstrated 20-year track record of professional excellence. He is currently serving as the Test and Evaluation Lead for the US Air Force’s AFWERX technology innovation enterprise with businesses, academia, and service members. He is also a Harvard Business School Alumnus and Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As a leader and innovator, he commanded a developmental flight test force consisting of 330+ contractor, civilian, and military personnel responsible for modernization of the F-22A Raptor. In that role, he managed a $37 Million annual operating budget and oversaw $1.6+ Billion in national security assets.
Prior to his command assignment, he led future capabilities, innovation, and experimentation for the US Pacific Command. There he managed a $2.5+ Billion dollar portfolio of advanced technology programs. As an aviator, he developed state of the art aerospace technologies as an experimental test pilot with experience in the F-22A Raptor, F-15C/E Eagle, A-10A/C Warthog, and the Bombardier BD-700 Global Express business jet as well as 70 other military and civilian aircraft. He also is a combat veteran with several decorations from combat missions in support of Operations NORTHERN WATCH over Iraq and ENDURING FREEDOM over Afghanistan. He holds a Strategy PhD and Masters of Philosophy (summa cum laude) from the USAF School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, as well as a graduate Aeronautical Engineering degree and Mathematics/Systems Engineering studies (magna cum laude) from the Air Force Institute of Technology and United States Air Force Academy. He was competitively selected and served as a U.S. Presidential Fellow, MIT Lincoln Labs Military Technology Fellow, DARPA US Air Force Service Chief Fellow, USAF Thunderbirds Commander finalist, and NASA Astronaut finalist. He is a published writer for Air & Space Smithsonian/Flying magazine and a Strategic Advisor for Space for Humanity, a non-profit that will select a diverse group of citizen astronauts to travel to the edge of space. He is also an award-winning public speaker on leadership, innovation, and aerospace.
AFWERX is a product of the Air Force, directly envisioned by Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. Her vision of AFWERX is to solve some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top subject matter experts. The world is changing quickly — new technologies, new threats and new opportunities.
AFWERX taps into the power of creativity and empowers intentional innovation that unleashes emergent approaches for the warfighter through a community of entrepreneurs, industry, academia, and non-traditional contributors. AFWERX has the ability to bring together our nation’s best and brightest to collaborate, innovate, fabricate, and present accelerated results to the United States Air Force to better serve our #1 customer: the warfighter and operators in the Air Force.