Tell us about yourself and life before joining Boeing?
I grew up among the steel mills of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where my mom and dad taught mathematics at local universities. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering and started my career at the Howmet Corporation. I then joined GE in 1989. During the course of my time at GE I held several leadership roles in operations, sales, services, and production support, in addition to working materials engineering in support of product design.
How does it feel to lead one of Puget Sound’s most iconic companies with a 100 years of history?
I can’t tell you how humbled and honored I am to join this incredible Boeing team.
My wife told me the other day she has not seen me light up like I do when I talk about Boeing. From my heart, this is a great opportunity for me and I look forward to working with everybody. For a kid who grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, it is an incredible journey.
What’s your experience working with Boeing?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with many folks from Boeing, so in a sense I am not new to Boeing. Over the past 15 years I’ve helped support Boeing products out in the field, working with customers and in the trenches of campaigns to win in the market around the globe.
How do you plan to get up to speed on everything going on at Boeing?
Ray Conner has not only been a great friend to me, he’s also been a great mentor. It’s not lost on me how incredibly important it is to follow in the footsteps of great leaders like him. He is a giant of commercial aerospace. In the year ahead I am going to lean in hard on Ray, and I also plan to learn from people on our factory floors who do the hard work each day building the world’s best commercial airplanes.
Tell us a couple of things about yourself we might not read in a corporate biography?
Well, I speak Italian, which I learned from my mother. She grew up in Italy and after World War II immigrated to the United States. Both she and my dad taught math so maybe that’s where I learned to love problem solving. I am also a first-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do – though much out of practice – and my wife is also quite accomplished in martial arts and may soon hold a higher ranked belt than myself.
How will you approach your new role?
I bring a few things with me that ground how I think about the world. First, is an incredible commitment to our customers and to deliver on our commitments because fundamentally they are why we come to work every day. Second, I believe customers are also a great opportunity to be a learning channel about what they value and how we can continue to lead with the best technology and best products in the marketplace. Third, a commitment to winning. It’s core to me. It’s also a part of the culture at Boeing that brings commercial excellence to want to get customers around the globe to fly our airplanes. And finally, always deliver on results both operationally and financially. Because if we build the best product at the lowest cost we will be better able to fund our future. I want to attack those things that slow us down and hold us back. If we do that then we will be in a good position to fund and build the next great Boeing products for our customers.
What should the Puget Sound community know about you?
I bring a strong commitment to our people. They are the life blood of this company. We are great when we are great together. They can count on me to be a part of their team. I will bring the same work ethic they bring every day; the same spirit, camaraderie and competiveness going forward that they have enjoyed for the last 100 years.
I have fallen in love with the Puget Sound region and look forward to settling in and being an active member of the community. I believe that leaders need to be good to be great and that means being strong and active members of the community. It is part of who I am.
I am truly excited to be a part of this dynamic region and the many ways Boeing works to improve the lives of people every day. When the community is strong, Boeing is strong.
By Paul Bergman