Kessel Run grows its ranks

In its first civilian-focused hiring event, the Air Force’s software factory Kessel Run looks to bring on about 30 new personnel.

The Air Force software factory known as Kessel Run is growing.

The service plans to hire more than two dozen personnel, mainly from industry, after a hiring event in Boston Jan. 23 and Jan. 24.

The event aimed to add talent across 18 roles, including software developers, product managers and designers, acquisition officers, financial management contracting, and network engineers familiar with cloud computing to join Kessel Run in Boston and work on problems related to the Air Operations Center Weapon System and the Autonomous Logistics Information System for the F-35.

Lt. Col. Enrique Oti, who heads the Kessel Run program, told FCW the event drew people "new to government" from the commercial sector, those from traditional DOD contracting companies, and a few from inside the Air Force. Kessel Run currently has a team of about 200, both civilian contractors and military personnel, many on temporary duty.

New hires would be full-time, permanent personnel and help reduce the program’s reliance on temporary duty personnel, he said. The event yielded 30 job offers.

The hiring event is also part of the Air Force's new digital-first approach to fold innovation into its ranks by doing things a bit differently.

The Air Force will hold its inaugural Pitch Day event in March to recruit small business and startup technologies as part of this broader effort. When it comes to talent, Oti said the personnel and management system is equally important to maintain and gain a technological advantage.

"The personnel and manpower system is a critical part," he said. "If the Air Force wants to become a digital force and they have the right talent management and the right recruitment then the personnel and management system has to be agile as well."

Oti hopes to repeat the hiring event this fall, and expand beyond the Boston area.

"We know the talent exists," he said. "It’s all over the place. The interesting thing is, how do you set up a hiring event that draws it in and has people actually want to join the Air Force."

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