Requirements Symposium helps Center, industry meet needs Published Nov. 21, 2008 By Wayne Crenshaw 78 Air Base Wing Public Affairs ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Hundreds of company representatives from around the country were in Perry this week for the 6th Annual Requirements Symposium. The symposium, held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds Nov. 19-20, began with presentations from top leaders at Robins regarding the future needs of the base. The purpose of the symposium is to give suppliers information to help them meet the needs of the base in the next two years. Among the key themes of the speakers was the increasing emphasis on technology, automation and efficiency improvements. "One of the largest growth areas will be software engineering," said Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander. General Peyer recalled a recent visit to the 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron to see how a critical replacement part for the T-38 Talon training jet was being made. The crew manufactured new aileron actuator levers from scratch. Faulty levers were blamed for a fatal crash that threatened to ground all T-38s. General Peyer said she was struck by the high-tech equipment being used, a far cry from the aircraft machine shops she knew working as a maintenance officer in the late '70s and early '80s. "In the old days they were working with lathes and grinders and hand tools," General Peyer said. "But I went into a shop that's got computers and robotics." Also speaking in the opening session were Marian Fraley, vice director of the 402nd Maintenance Wing; Col. Joseph Veneziano, commander of the 542nd Combat Sustainment Wing; Col. Tim Freeman, commander of 330th Aircraft Sustainment Wing; Col Warren Berry, commander of the 78th Air Base Wing; and Patty Martin, director of the 638th Supply Chain Support Squadron. After the initial overview, the symposium broke into 41 smaller sessions held over two days in which details were given on specific projects and purchases scheduled for the coming year. The symposium wasn't just about letting suppliers know about specific purchases on the horizon. Leaders were also soliciting ideas for products and services to help the base achieve its mission. Colonel Berry noted that a focus of the 78th ABW is reducing energy costs, and he welcomed any ideas that could help toward that goal. "At the end of the day, energy is a big, big cost to us," he said.