Bot Rodeo tests ingenuity of AFSC employees

  • Published
  • By Grady Epperly
  • Air Force Sustainment Center

The Air Force Sustainment Center held its second annual Bot Rodeo Thursday at the Tinker Business and Industrial Park in Oklahoma City showcasing various exercises spotlighting the Robotic Process Automation process at different stages.

This year’s event brought together nearly 300 Air Force personnel both in-person and online reaching all the way to Spangdahlem, Germany.

“What impressed me the most about the Bot Rodeo is the diverse type of participants,” said Wendy M. Walden, acting executive director of the Air Force Sustainment Center and one of this year’s Bot Rodeo judges. “They aren’t the STEM type of person I anticipated. They are people from all types of career fields who just saw a need for automation, got on YouTube and learned a new skill.”

“Our main objective of this rodeo is to assess and showcase the ingenuity of AFSC employees in implementing and optimizing the RPA process,” said Kailee Orr, workforce manager for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and organizer of the event.

Among the highlights was a Live Bot Build, where 20 developers collaborated to automate a designated process unveiled to them on the day of the event. Additionally, a three-judge panel evaluated nine in-production builds, competing for the title of the best bot build.

The Air Force has embraced RPA and encourages Airmen to explore innovative ways to integrate this process into their daily tasks.

“RPA proves valuable in handling routine tasks, such as collecting data from multiple sources or sourcing vendors globally,” said Orr.

Taking first place in the presentation division, with ROP BOT, was Scott Lauer, a section commander with the 52nd Maintenance Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

Lauer’s bot retrieves stored documents, consolidates the required data, then renames and builds a ready-to-finalize requisition order for users. This bot saves 324,000 users ten minutes per year, which equates to 54,000 hours saved across the Air Force annually.

“I was again very impressed by the efforts of all the participants and how the competition has grown,” said Jeff Sick, director of Logistics for the Air Force Sustainment Center and one of this year’s Bot Rodeo judges. “Some only had a few weeks or days of prepare. This is a powerful capability and I really look forward to what tomorrow brings.”

“The possibility of a build that supports human resources or the engineering area can easily be applicable and scalable to logistics, contracting, and financial management. What’s more incredible than the capabilities are the innovative spirit and inventiveness of our personnel working to build these bots,” said Sick.