AMO TC INNER (1)

What We Learned at AMO 2020

4 November 2020
RSO Team
8 takeaways from the first-ever Advanced Manufacturing Olympics

When the Advanced Manufacturing Olympics (AMO) was first imagined by Dr. Will Roper, the world was in a completely different place. From an in-person event to a one-of-a-kind virtual experience, we quickly pivoted in just a few months to eventually open our doors to even more innovators, researchers, and students from across the country.  

From October 20-23, AMO was filled with unforgettable technical competitions, cutting-edge keynote sessions, and virtual peer networking. Over the course of these four days, we had the unique opportunity to hear from expert thought-leaders across business, academia and government. Below are some of the many key takeaways we learned.  


  • “America is a space-faring nation and has long led military, civil, and commercial space sectors. Today, we are entering a defining period for this country in space.” Listen to Gen. John W. Raymond, U.S. Space Force Chief of Operations, discuss how advanced manufacturing is essential to supporting the increasingly contested and competitive domain of space. 

  • AMO’s Technical Challenges tasked teams to find innovative solutions to some of the Air Force's most significant sustainment issues to improve readiness, decrease cost, and shorten approval time. Challenges included the TDP Relay, Box of Parts Floor Exercise, Material Hurdles, Approval Sprints, and Supply Chain Marathon. Winners were announced live during AMO with $1M awarded across the top three teams for each challenge. Get the full story on these Challenges from Lily Arcusa, former RSO Chief Technology Officer. 

  • Exploring the capabilities and opportunities of advanced manufacturing is essential for modernizing the Air Force sustainment strategy. In Lt Gen Warren Berry’s keynote, he explains how this will better posture our Airmen in the ever-changing threat environment and enable the Air Force to recover readiness faster. Watch his session to learn more

  • To succeed in the practice of advanced manufacturing is to master the art of the possible. As mentioned by our co-host Leland Melvin, “In the world of advanced manufacturing, when others see a problem, we see an opportunity.” 

  • The AMO Technical Challenges weren’t only about winning; they were about pushing boundaries and setting new records in advanced manufacturing. From titans in engineering to resourceful disruptors, every team that competed had two common threads that made them successful: collaboration and innovation. See who won the Technical Challenges.

  • We’re grateful to have had Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut and the first woman of color in space, join us this year at AMO. As a groundbreaker in the field, it is no surprise that Dr. Jemison has her own LEGO character

  • The ultimate goal of AMO was to bring together the advanced manufacturing community to find innovative ways the technology can be utilized to sustain the Air Force fleet. On the final day of AMO, AM Storytellers, a panel consisting of members from the RSO and engineers from numerous USAF bases, discussed how and why advanced manufacturing technology is impacting Airmen on the front lines every day. 

  • One last takeaway — turns out there are quite a bit of tunes about flying, and we had to do something about it. Here’s the official AMO 2020 Spotify playlist, which should help take you on cloud nine.

If there’s one thing we learned during AMO, it’s that there’s never enough knowledge. The field of advanced manufacturing is constantly innovating and evolving, providing more opportunities to learn and grow. We are already looking forward to our next edition of the Advanced Manufacturing Olympics. In the meantime, sessions from AMO 2020 are now available on-demand.