Award Gallery

Jack L. Owsley III: One ORTA, many successes

Award: Rookie of the Year

Year: 2020

Award Type: National

Laboratory:
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) - Sensors Directorate

When Jack L. Owsley III joined the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate (AFRL-RY) as an Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA) representative, he had no background in technology transfer (T2) and no incumbent to show him the ropes. Just over a year later, the rookie leads the AFRL in all T2 impact categories: number and quality of inventions, patents, invention disclosures, and agreements. 

In his short tenure as the ORTA and T2 manager, Owsley executed 20 new Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and six information transfer agreements, managed 49 active agreements and six patent license agreements, and is working on five new patent license agreements. He also completed and fully executed 203 distinct CRADA actions, including 26 new multitask CRADAs, and 49 individual joint work statements. And he is directly responsible for 38 invention disclosures, 40 patent applications and 15 patents issued. 

These are singularly exceptional contributions for a relative newcomer to technology transfer in an organization with 1,300 scientists, engineers and support staff, and just one ORTA, according to Abby Boggs, lead Air Force ORTA, Air Force Technology Transfer Program Office, AFRL. 

“Most ORTAs have a lot more staff,” Boggs said. “Jack went from not knowing the job and the environment to dramatically increasing the number of T2 agreements coming out of AFRL-RY and being a T2 leader among AFRL labs. To say he is doing an excellent job is an understatement.” 

“Most ORTAs have a lot more staff,” Boggs said. “Jack went from not knowing the job and the environment to dramatically increasing the number of T2 agreements coming out of AFRL-RY and being a T2 leader among AFRL labs. To say he is doing an excellent job is an understatement.” 

As a result of Owsley’s leadership, the combined value of leveraged effort from collaborators for CRADA actions executed in fiscal 2019 was estimated at $8.6 million. He managed more than $10 million in partner contributions of personnel time, materials, travel costs and, in some cases, direct funding. 

In addition to serving as ORTA, Owsley is responsible for AFRL Sensors Directorate’s Alliance program, for which, in fiscal 2019, he managed 18 memorandums of agreement and understanding. The AFRL Sensors Alliance program represents more than $371 million in science and technology activities, with more than $1.5 million supporting direct collaboration funding. 

The rookie ORTA displayed his innovative side when he negotiated the first-of-its-kind joint ownership agreement for the Air Force between the United Kingdom and the United States. Other prime initiatives include organizing the first labwide T2 training with national DoD licensing partnership intermediary TechLink and the first-ever Innovation Discovery Event for RY. He also established two Air Force‑wide non-disclosure agreements with world leaders in microelectronics design tools, giving the lab access to companies’ intellectual property to enhance collaborations. 

Owsley routinely accomplishes many critical tasks, such as reviewing and delegating patents to be reviewed by government scientists and engineers (S&E). He first reviews the patent to determine if it is indeed applicable for AFRL-RY S&E to review, then identifies the appropriate reviewers to review it. For this task alone, he has reviewed more than 300 patents this year. 

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