Aimee Denning is no stranger to pressure.
She has served a deployment in Afghanistan as a staff sergeant with the U.S. Air Force. Today with Boeing, she works as a process analyst for one of the world's most advanced airplanes, the 787 Dreamliner.
Yet Denning acknowledged some nerves as she took the pitcher's mound before a large crowd at Seattle's Safeco Field baseball stadium Saturday night. She steeled them, however, and powered a fastball straight across home plate.
Denning’s experience and her role as vice president of the Puget Sound Boeing Employees Veterans Association (BEVA) provided her the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Seattle Mariners’ Salute to Armed Forces night — a game against the Oakland Athletics. For the first time in BEVA’s history, all four officers of the employee group’s Puget Sound branch are women, a distinction Denning said she is also proud to represent.
“Being out on the field, representing the military and Boeing was a huge honor,” Denning said afterward. "I’m proud of the time I served and just as proud to work for a company that values the men and women of the armed forces.”
Boeing sponsors the Mariners’ Salute to Armed Forces game for those who now serve and previously served in the military, a group that includes more than 22,000 veterans who work for the company globally. Boeing sponsors similar events with Major League Baseball teams elsewhere, including St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
“Veterans bring a wealth of experience and skills to Boeing, and we’re proud to honor them through our partnership with the Seattle Mariners,” said Mark Jenks, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. He and Stan Deal, senior vice president of Commercial Aviation Services, were among guests on the field to support Denning as she took the mound.
Denning explained how her experience in the Air Force helped her work with Boeing. While deployed with the Air Force at a NATO base in Afghanistan, Denning helped manage financial operations and was responsible for approving millions of dollars in travel and payroll.
Today, she is a process analyst on the 787 program. With 70 miles (113 kilometers) of wiring, 2.3 million parts and more than 8 million lines of unique code, the processes that she helps manage are critical for the program's success.
“I think my experience in the Air Force helped prepare me for the challenges I face at Boeing," Denning said. "The military requires a lot of planning, is very structured and teaches you how to follow a chain of command, while being a team player. Those are skills I use every day working on the 787 program."
By Tom Kim