Boeing

Living by the Code

We asked seven Boeing inventors to talk about what it means to practice engineering excellence.

Interviews by Laura Fenton and Candace Barron

Millions of people fly on Boeing airplanes every day.

They trust those airplanes to get them safely to where they want to go—to conduct business, stay connected with family, and to travel and experience the world. The men and women serving in the defense of the United States and its allies rely on Boeing products and services to perform as expected.

This is why members of the Boeing Technical Community abide by a collective pledge to the Engineering Code. Because they create some of the most complex systems known to humankind, it’s incumbent on them to ensure that the work they do is right, the first time and every time.

“Quality as a way of life” is about understanding requirements, complying with processes and standing behind the work. It’s about checking work before it leaves individual teams to avoid downstream problems and rework. And it’s about having the courage to call attention to any issues that threaten these values.

Technical issues rarely resolve themselves. More often, even minor unresolved issues can grow into larger problems. Similarly, opportunities can be fleeting—once they’re gone, their benefit may be lost forever. Effective engineers identify and address issues and surface potential opportunities as early as possible to meet commitments and remain competitive.

Ultimately, it’s the personal responsibility of Boeing engineers and technical staff to remain vigilant, focused and dedicated, while maintaining the highest standards of health, safety and well-being.

There are seven essential clauses to the Code. We sat down with seven Boeing innovators to ask them what these parts of the Code mean to them personally. Here are their stories in their own words.

Samantha Schwartz

THE CODE PART 1

I deliver results with excellence and live the enduring values.

Engineering drives Boeing’s purpose and mission to connect, protect, explore, and inspire the world through aerospace innovation. As a Boeing engineer, I acknowledge and accept the responsibility for creating and supporting Boeing’s products and services, which connect people through travel and communication, protect the rights and freedoms of a global community, enable the human race to explore the mysteries of our universe, and inspire current and future generations of innovators. I am dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and recognize that my work directly affects our products and services, our teammates who design and produce them, our suppliers with whom we collaborate, and our customers who operate and maintain them. I will act according to the Boeing Code of Conduct and all applicable laws and regulations, and I will perform my work according to the highest standards of professional integrity.

Samantha Schwartz

Jeppesen, Boeing Global Services
Specialty: Communications and Network Management
Denver, Colorado, USA

As a former airline pilot, I have a heightened understanding of the importance of the products and services we create, and the impact we can have on the lives of our customers. I am driven to create safe products, enhance situational awareness and increase the efficiency of our customers’ operations. I work with customers to understand their pain points and deliver on Boeing’s commitments. I share my work across business units and collaborate globally to enhance and integrate aeronautical information onboard the flight deck. I protect Boeing’s future through securing intellectual property that will transform the aerospace industry.

    Carissa Pajel

    THE CODE PART 2

    I am a leader.

    I take pride in supporting and enabling priorities that deliver the most value to our customers. I perform my work with enthusiasm, curiosity, and creativity. I make it a priority to connect my daily work to the goals of the project, program, business unit, and the enterprise. I relentlessly pursue innovative solutions that move my team, Boeing, and the customer forward.

    Carissa Pajel

    Boeing Research & Technology
    Specialty: Chemical Technologies
    Seattle, Washington, USA

    My mother, who was an executive for a long time, taught me that being a leader is more than talking fluently—being a leader also means being a listener, and listening before reacting. Through listening, we can determine the real problem and solve it in an efficient and effective manner. As a chemical engineer specializing in sealants, I am passionate about my technology. By listening to my stakeholders, I am empowered to pursue innovative solutions supporting process flow, cost reduction efforts and safety for the company and the customers.

      Rogie Rodriguez-Quiñones

      THE CODE PART 3

      I am a champion.

      I am a champion for safety, quality, affordability, productivity, and maintainability across the entire life cycle of our products. I play an integral role in ensuring the integrity and safety of our products. I leverage the enterprise for the best ideas that can be implemented and replicated. I use the size and complexity of our company as an advantage and never an excuse. I look for ways to streamline my work processes without cutting corners or compromising quality.

      Rogie Rodriguez-Quiñones

      Boeing Research & Technology
      Specialty: Metals
      Huntsville, Alabama, USA

      I’m responsible for creating products that achieve the highest engineering and quality standards. I look for ways to innovate, improve efficiency and affordability without compromising safety and quality. Currently, I’m developing a test method that will accelerate the development of additively manufactured parts. I also support younger generations as a role model and technology leader through the Boeing Familia organization. We lead lunch-and-learn events where Boeing leaders share their career path to inspire early-career employees. And most importantly, I’m dedicated to developing disruptive solutions to change the world and to push the boundaries of Boeing and the industry.

        Daniel Alvarez

        THE CODE PART 4

        I am a listener.

        I demonstrate trust in order to build enduring relationships with my customers and my teammates. I first seek to understand the point of view of others, and I work toward a mutually acceptable solution while preserving relationships. I use facts and data to develop innovative solutions that create value. I always honor my commitments to our customers and my teammates.

        Daniel Alvarez

        Millennium Space Systems, Boeing Defense, Space & Security
        Specialty: Electronics and Embedded Software
        El Segundo, California, USA

        We have two ears but one mouth because we should listen more than speak. Whether building satellites to provide high-speed internet on airplanes, enabling communication to the International Space Station or serving national security interests, the best ideas are often within the collective team wisdom. Once, a technical issue arose on my team and two people debated one hour before others could speak. A soft-spoken engineer mentioned she had seen a similar issue on another program and offered a suitable solution. It was an illustration of a universal tenet: Encourage and listen to capture the best ideas, designs and results.

          Om Prakash

          THE CODE PART 5

          I am a collaborator.

          I communicate candidly, honestly, and thoughtfully. To operate as One Boeing, I collaborate with others from the global enterprise. I build trust in those around me by giving and accepting constructive feedback. To hold myself accountable, I put finding the right answer ahead of being personally right.

          Om Prakash

          Boeing Global Technology
          Specialty: Structural Materials, Concepts and Architectures
          Bangalore, India

          I honor my commitment by understanding the needs of customers. Their challenges are the foundation of the innovations I develop. Regular communication gives me awareness of situations and makes me responsive to customer needs. As Boeing’s research team has grown over the years in India, I identified multiple collaborative research efforts between Boeing and a number of Indian research entities. Factoring Boeing needs and expertise of partner organizations, we initiated projects and developed solutions in areas such as die-less sheet metal forming and computer-assisted defect recognition in inspection of engineering components. All these efforts have led to successful technology growth and transitions.

            Rosa Maria Rodriguez

            THE CODE PART 6

            I empower others.

            I empower others around me by sharing what I know with colleagues across Boeing. I operate in a multi-disciplinary manner, I seek diverse viewpoints and opinions to help solve the challenges I encounter, and I foster a culture of inclusiveness and trust. I recognize my teammates’ performance and appreciate the excellence they bring. I celebrate wins, big and small, while learning from mistakes.

            Rosa Maria Rodriguez

            Boeing Global Technology
            Specialty: Systems Engineering and Analysis
            Madrid, Spain

            Everyone has a different role and style—some people like to be in the front line, some like a lower profile. I have teammates in China, India, Spain, Brazil and the United States, all who add significant views to bring the project forward. Distance does not stop our team. To empower a team is also about trust; it’s about giving autonomy and shared responsibility, and confidence in yourself and others to make this happen. To empower a team makes everyone confident and stronger. The glory of doing something by yourself is short; it’s much better to accomplish things as a team.

              Robert Grip

              THE CODE PART 7

              I am an innovator.

              I have high expectations of myself and higher aspirations for my future. I am courageous and proactive in identifying risks and mitigating issues while pursuing opportunities. I am a steward of Boeing’s technical heritage and lineage, and I apply, share, protect, and build upon this foundation by embracing change and competition, learning from failure, and striving to continuously innovate and improve. I am proud to know that my work changes the world.

              Robert Grip

              Boeing Commercial Airplanes
              Specialty: Flight Design, Analysis and Certification/Qualification Approaches
              Long Beach, California, USA

              As an innovator with the commercial airplanes advanced concepts team, I improve current products, develop new ideas and explore markets outside our core businesses. Perseverance to pursue new ideas, even if not immediately accepted, is very important to be an innovator, while also recognizing that collaboration with talented Boeing experts can determine unworkable ideas, or greatly improve valuable ideas. An unworkable idea can be a significant source of learning. Knowing what doesn’t work is also part of Boeing’s technical knowledge. I want my talents to contribute to the great work we do at Boeing.