Boeing executive speaks to engineering students

first_imgOn Wednesday night, the the Society of Women Engineers, Engineers Without Borders and the Undergraduate Student Government hosted Rick Baily, vice president of engineering, mission assurance and product support at Boeing Defense, Space & Security to speak about his leadership experiences at the company. The event was titled “What’s Harder — Strategic Leadership or Rocket Science?”Career launch · Rick Baily, vice president of engineering, mission assurance and product support at Boeing, speaks to students on campus. – Samhita Swamy | Daily TrojanNamed the National Management Association’s 2014 Executive of the Year, Baily was invited to speak about his career both as a rocket scientist and manager of 30,000 employees as a part of an initiative by Engineers Without Borders to teach its members leadership strategy.The Society of Women Engineers and Engineers Without Borders have had an extensive relationship with Boeing, as the company has funded several student initiatives.John Davy, president of Engineers Without Borders, said that he hoped advice from Baily’s speech would benefit the organization in its project for the semester.Davy said that Engineers Without Borders seeks to “help developing communities that have an engineering need.”This semester’s project focuses on building a community center in the Coachella Valley that will serve nearly 3,000 people, according to Davy.Despite being a UCLA graduate, Baily touched upon his reason for wanting to speak with USC students in particular.“[Viterbi is] one of only 17 schools in the world that [Boeing calls its] accelerated hiring schools,” Davy said.Bailey addressed some of the strategic challenges that arise in engineering companies and also shared lessons from his background in mechanical engineering, recounting some of his greatest successes and failures.“The aerospace industry has one of the biggest challenges,” he said. “In five years, half of Boeing engineering is going to be eligible for retirement. In 10 years, if they do the average, half will have retired. That’s a big challenge for us.”He dedicated a significant portion of his speech to the importance of teamwork.When asked about when to make an executive decision rather than consulting with a group, Baily said that leaders must utilize their analytical skills.He advised the audience “to have parameters of when a decision has to be made.”“He grew very organically — he didn’t get an MBA or any of that stuff, but now he’s doing project management so it seems like he blended some holistic experiences rather than just going suit and tie and doing the standard finance, accounting, whatever,” said Aydin Celebi, a senior majoring in industrial and systems engineering and history.Zhuohan Yu, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, said she originally attended the event because Rick Bailey is a high-ranking professional of Boeing who would have valuable insight into internship opportunities.When asked her biggest take-away, however, she noted “Bailey’s emphasis on building human relationships” because, as she put it, “[engineers] tend to focus on technical skills.”At the end of his speech, Baily advised the audience on interview tips and recruitment. He told students to gain knowledge of technical principles in their field, attain practical experience through projects, develop a proactive leadership style, learn how to articulate their knowledge and differentiate themselves from the crowd.“We really value practical, real world experience,” he said. “You need hands-on experience. Focus on the technical areas you are going to work in.”last_img

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