Joseph Mather, Robins Public Affairs

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – The Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, partnered with the 78th Civil Engineering Group to break ground on a facility expansion project Jan. 13.

Shovels were turned to begin an expansion of the software support facility at Building 229. New ground was also broken as the project, orchestrated by WR-ALC in partnership with the 78th Civil Engineering Group, was the first Air Force minor construction project under the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

This partnership allowed Robins to exercise a new budget threshold of $6 million dollars.

The software support facility expansion will be a 14,800-square foot, two-story addition to Building 229 that will house 140 software professionals.

“Our work force and the workload we do is growing by leaps and bounds, and this facility will be instrumental in that growth,” said Bob Herrmann, 402nd Software Engineering Group director. “Last year was a banner year for software. We produced over 1.8 million hours of software work, delivered over 300 software deliverables, and added a 150 new software professionals.”

With the growth, Herrmann said they will be hiring new personnel.

“We will be hiring new engineers and software professionals with a goal of hiring 150 new people this year,” said Herrmann. “To meet that goal, we have increased our recruiting. We also attended virtual career fairs at over 25 schools to include every engineering and computer science school in the state of Georgia.”

Herrmann said they are working with their local school partnerships to increase the number of interns on base.

“We have been working with the Houston County Board of Education, Macon-Bibb Board of Education, Mercer University and Middle Georgia State University,” said Herrmann. “We have increased our number of interns from 75 to 110. We are pioneering an internship program that includes recent high school graduates to increase our STEM pipeline.”

Brig. Gen. Jennifer Hammerstedt, WR-ALC commander, said it was unique to celebrate a new software construction on base following the recent establishment of three software innovation facilities off base.

“Today is exciting because we are breaking ground on the installation which is great for our software future” said Hammerstedt. “This is the first project to be executed using the new authority in our United States Air Force”.

Hammerstedt said the facility expansion is important to the WR-ALC’s future.

“Not a wheel turns in our United States Air Force without software and that is why the demand is insatiable, especially as we go forward into the next decades,” she said.

“I personally can’t think of a better project, a better mission-impacting reason, than to be developing and testing software for the F-15EX aircraft, F-35 aircraft, and anything else our Air Force calls on us to do,” she continued at the groundbreaking ceremony, “so that 10 or 20 years from now there will be people standing in the halls of where we stand now talking about all the great work you and your teams do to support the warfighter.”