July 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 3 
Letters to the Editor

His for the taking

I read your article on "Yours for the taking" and was amazed that my 20-year career in aviation coupled with my recent bachelor's degree from Embry-Riddle [Aeronautical] University helped me land a position here at Boeing St. Louis at age 52. I found this job on Boeing's Web site and I'll be the first one to say it works. It is commendable that Boeing judged me on my qualifications and experience and not my age.

-Gary Deabler, St. Louis

June Frontiers coverTheir network-centric operation

We've heard it a million times throughout college and it's absolutely true. The key is networking ("Your top job tips," June 2004, Page 14): getting to know as many people in as many areas as you possibly can. A great way can be by sitting next to someone who's by themselves at lunch. From our experiences, we believe the best way to network is to join one of the many clubs Boeing offers.

-Douglas Dagdag and Nathan Metelak, Issaquah, Wash.

Take the highest road, managers

As a Boeing manager, I feel that managers, regardless of what level of authority they have, must ensure that business decisions they make conform not only to the letter of the "law" but its spirit as well. This applies even more so to our dealings with the staff members we assume responsibility for in regard to promotions, job actions, and in all of our business dealings.

Managers may not be fully accountable and even cite hectic schedules for failures in communicating actions that impact an employee's job status or career opportunities. These issues may never see the light of day by Ethics and Equal Employment Opportunity representatives, or they even may be determined not to be ethical or EEO issues, per se.

However, I feel strongly that each and every manager needs to look inside themselves and ask, "Is that how I would want to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot?" That is where the issues of ethical behavior ultimately reside, and where the consequences of failure to meet that criteria must be dealt with.

-Elliot Heifetz, Renton, Wash.

Is this the right way?

I see all the time about how Boeing is positioning itself for the future. But I question whether or not we are doing it the right way. Upper management is trying to show that Boeing is more than an aircraft manufacturer, which is fine. But the company seems to be making sure that we no longer actually make aircraft.

Being just an assembler of aircraft in the public's eye sends the message that we no longer can compete effectively in the world market. Is this the message we want to put out there? Regardless of what some Wall Street analysts might say about how Boeing is trying to optimize profits for the stockholders, potential stockholders who see what they might perceive as Boeing getting out of the aircraft business will rethink the decision to buy Boeing stock. And that is a sad fact.

The Boeing name has been linked to the manufacture of the Cadillac of the skies for too long to expect the perception to change overnight. I hope upper management will reconsider their game plan on this and not sell off everything but final assembly.

-Bob Feldt, Wichita, Kan.

One-on-one needed

Our company has made great improvements, using the best technology to get things done and keep costs down. We have, however, forgotten how to talk to our own people. I chose to leave the company for another great opportunity, and the choice wasn't easy. The decision was aided by the lack of one-on-one communication that has been facilitated by tools like BESS [the Boeing Enterprise Staffing System] and Survey Builder. I applied for many positions over the past two years, and received phone calls or personal e-mails from only three of the hiring managers. Several others I had to call to obtain feedback, and others chose not to respond at all. That's not the 2016 Vision. Neither is an on-line exit survey. I wish everyone success in the business, and hope the company improves its one-on-one communication expectations.

-Bob Moran, Philadelphia

How about unmanned ground vehicles?

Boeing members of the Red TeamThere has been much talk about "unmanned systems" and "unmanned vehicles" in Boeing Frontiers and in other press around Boeing, but oftentimes only air vehicles are mentioned.

Unmentioned by these articles so far, despite all of the other press it has gotten, was that Boeing invested significant effort in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Grand Challenge, teaming up with Carnegie Mellon University for a robotic race across the Mojave Desert in California and Nevada. The vehicle had to be autonomous (not remote-controlled), and had to survive about 120 miles of off-road terrain, with DARPA putting up a $1 million prize to the winner. About 20 vehicles of all sorts of configurations from a variety of teams entered the event.

We made the most distance of any of the other vehicles with our robotic [Humvee]. Boeing sent two engineers-Phillip Koon and myself, both from Huntsville, Ala.-to be with the team full-time, with support from many others within Boeing. During early 2004, we lived in the Mojave Desert, performing non-stop testing and development on our robot racer. It was the experience of a lifetime, and the rush was on to complete the vehicle and finish the software development and testing in time for the race in March.

There was a dramatic turn of events as our robot rolled over in a testing accident and smashed many of its sensors, just days before the race was to begin; but our spirit persevered and we were able to repair the robot in time for the competition. The hard work of everyone on our team (the "Red Team") and the competition of the off-road race really provided an "entrepreneurial environment" and the "Adventure for Boeing engineers" as was touted in previous Frontiers articles about unmanned systems.

-Aaron Mosher, Huntsville, Ala.

Editor's note: For more about the vehicle, please see Page 10 of the Challenge technology and engineering insert in this issue.

Under pressure

In the May issue of Boeing Frontiers in the "Meet the Dreamliner" sidebar [Page 14], there is an error. It should say that the 7E7 has "a lower altitude cabin pressure while at cruise," as the absolute cabin pressure actually is higher.

-Edward Jeude, St. Louis

Discomfort's silver lining

Just when it seemed like it had been a long stretch since we won a big contract, the talent, risk taking, and hard work of Boeing has paid off with our recent Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft contract award. This triumph is a clear lesson to our team of what we can do when we go the extra mile for our customer.

It can be said that historically some of our unsuccessful efforts may have been driven by an aloof attitude toward our customer. We should remember that the greatness of our company stems from asking our customers what they want, not giving them what we think they need. Not being comfortable in our markets, our technology, or any plan we might have is a good thing. In our world economy, comfort equals lost market share and poor shareholder value. Being uncomfortable makes us try harder. Winning MMA proves it.

-Lou Rivoli, St. Louis

Boeing, defined

What does The Boeing Company mean to me?

It is big, it is great and I love The Boeing Company. I am so proud to be part of it as I watch one of our huge planes lift off into the arms of a vast blue sky. I have worked for The Boeing Company for over a quarter of a century. Sure, we employees sometimes complain as we might of a family member who displeases us occasionally, but overall, what a great company to work for.

Boeing employs some of the best people in the world and it is an honor to work with them. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such fine, kind and intelligent people. There are so many of the other kind of people in this world but I am surrounded by these gems of the human race. How very lucky I am.

-Karen Salerno, Renton, Wash.

Letters guidelines

Boeing Frontiers provides the letters page for readers to state their opinions. The page is intended to encourage an exchange of ideas and information that stimulates dialogue on issues or events in the company or the aerospace industry. The opinions may not necessarily reflect those of The Boeing Company. Letters must include name, organization and a telephone number for verification purposes. Frontiers may edit letters for grammar, syntax and size.

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