From working parents to military veterans, GE would not be the company it is today without its employees. We created “Quick Six” to celebrate our diverse talent by asking employees six questions that uncover the unique ways that they contribute to GE and the world.

In our next installation of Quick Six, we sat down with Suzy Wang, Senior Operations Manager, at GE Aviation in Lynn, Massachusetts.

How long have you been in your position, and can you give a brief overview of what you do?

I’ve been with GE Aviation in Lynn, Massachusetts, for about a year and a half as a Senior Operations Manager. Part of my role is on the digital manufacturing process, which involves implementing digital tools and process improvements to optimize our engine delivery operations in Lynn. As an example of the kind of projects I take on, I recently helped implement a digital tool that uses the data from all our different machines and systems to give real-time production updates. From the production team to engineering to quality control, everyone involved in the process of getting an engine out the door can collaborate better and make faster, data-driven decisions thanks to that tool. In the end, my role is all about making sure the customer gets a world-class product without any delays or setbacks.

It’s rewarding for me to help teams here in Lynn make the most of their time. Our focus on using digital technology to drive positive outcomes has revolutionized the way we do business, and it’s very exciting to have a hand in making that happen.

Above: Wang at GE Aviation Lynn, where she is Operations Manager. Top: Wang received the 2019 STEP Ahead Award, which honors women in manufacturing.

You’ve worked for two different GE businesses. What’s something that they have in common?

I worked for GE Transportation for a little over three years before coming to GE Aviation in late 2017, and I think there are lots of commonalities between the two business units. There is an emphasis on learning and taking initiative, and I still haven’t had a boring day at either business because of how quickly things seem to move along! I’ve been encouraged at both businesses to look for ways that I can help improve processes, so whenever I identify an opportunity for better results, I feel comfortable exploring different strategies for my team and I to improve. The learning that takes place from that exploration is really valued as well. People are genuinely interested in learning what works and what doesn’t so they can apply it to their job.

Recently, you received a 2019 STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production) Ahead Award and attended a conference with other honorees from across the manufacturing industry. Can you describe that award?

The STEP Ahead Awards were created in 2012 by The Manufacturing Institute to highlight women in manufacturing who are making significant contributions as leaders in the industry and in their communities. There is a pretty notable gender gap in manufacturing, so not only does the award highlight women, but it goes along with a leadership development component that helps women in the industry gain leadership skills and find mentorship. I recently went to Washington, D.C. to receive the STEP Ahead Award and took part in some really great leadership development activities alongside the other honorees from major manufacturing companies. Now, my role as an honoree is to advocate for women in the U.S. manufacturing industry and introduce the next generation to all the exciting opportunities for women in the field. I was actually nominated by a former colleague who was selected by The Manufacturing Institute as a STEP Ahead Award recipient in 2015, so honorees really do take that responsibility seriously.

That sounds like a big deal! What did it mean to you to receive the award?

It was a true honor to be selected. I’m back in the office now, but I’m still feeling energized by the leaders’ passion and aptitude for problem solving. It’s a great source of encouragement for me to keep moving forward with my career in terms of learning and growth. I’m always looking for opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and this is another avenue for me to grow while also giving back. Being an example for young people interested in the field is very gratifying for me, and I’m really looking forward to taking what I learned at the conference and advocating on behalf of young women who want to join the U.S. manufacturing industry.

What are the other ways you’ve helped encourage young women to pursue STEM and manufacturing careers?

When I was working for GE in Erie, Pennsylvania, I was really involved with the GE Girls program and helped create a summer camp to help middle school girls explore careers in STEM. I was also active with Junior Achievement and high school STEM programs in Erie. Whenever I had spare time, I helped teach supply chain engineering at the Penn State campus in Erie and help prepare college students for their next steps after graduation.

I grew up in China, then came to the U.S. and earned a master’s and a PhD in industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It’s important to me that I show young people from all backgrounds what’s possible when you seek out opportunity, set goals, and work hard to achieve them.

What’s your favorite engine and why?

I love the F414 engine. My work mainly revolves around military applications, and the F414 is a leader in performance and technology in the military world. I’m an engineer by trade, so from that perspective, I find it incredible how much power and thrust is packed into such a compact engine. It’s an amazing piece of engineering and technology.

I also love our upcoming T901 turboshaft engine, which was recently chosen by the U.S. Army to power future Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. It’s amazing to see that the T901 engine performance requirements can be achieved while maintaining the single spool architecture from the T700, which is already powering those helicopters.

I know I broke the rules and gave two engines, but I think they’re both incredible!

Did you know Quick Six is a series? Read our previous features: