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Steve Watkins

Steve Watkins has moved laterally in his career path with Boeing Commercial Airplanes -- several times.

He has moved across production lines at the Everett, Wash., plant, going from the 767 to the 747 to the 777; he then went outside Boeing for a while and is now back on the 777 line as a team leader in Wing Body Join. These moves have also taken him through three job codes -- electrician, plumber and mechanic.

Along the way, he has been careful to align his career goals with his obligations as a father of three young children.

"I made career choices that have allowed me to be home with my family in the evening," Watkins said. "I am even holding off on a move to management because I would have to work a rotating shift -- something that is not a good fit for my life right now, but it might be down the road."

Watkins was laid off after five years at Boeing and used the time as an opportunity to go back to school to get a degree in welding technology.

"I really wanted a skill that I could fall back on," Watkins said.

After a stint putting his welding skills to use building catamarans, he returned to the 777 line working on systems installation. He also plays a number of other roles, including peer coordinator, where he works with the Skills Process Center to integrate new employees to a line by providing job assignments, ensuring certifications are attained and creating job shadowing opportunities.

"When I see these people doing their jobs right," he said, "I know I had something to do with that."

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