June 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 2 
Main Feature
Eye for detail, ethics training guide Wright decision

Eye for detail, ethics training guide Wright decisionRichard Wright cares about the details.

His job as a quality field representative for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems includes quality surveillance of suppliers of parts and services. His eye for the fine points led him to read the fine print when he received documents from a former colleague outside the company.

"It wasn't real obvious right away that it was proprietary data," Wright said. "But there was a small-print statement at the bottom of the page that said it was."

The information came to Wright around the beginning of 2004 while he was based in Mesa, Ariz. At the time, he was a Procurement Quality Specialist in the Mesa Supplier Surveillance Group and was working on improving a particular inspection technique. "The individual who sent it knew I was working on this, and thought the information would be helpful," Wright explained. "But he probably didn't pay close attention to the documents when he sent them along and didn't see the proprietary markings."

As soon as Wright realized the proprietary nature of the information, he knew it was something he should not keep. "The statement sent up a clear red flag," Wright said. That is when the Boeing ethics training he had taken pointed him in the right direction.

"My first instinct would probably have been to destroy the information," he said. "But I remembered our ethics training that had covered proprietary information, and that it should be turned over to Ethics or Legal [the Law Department]. I called up [Boeing Mesa Ethics Adviser] Kim Rader-Purnell and got proper handling of the documents arranged."

"Richard contacted me by phone, and indicated he thought he had 2 documents that belonged to another company," Rader-Purnell said. "He mentioned the procurement integrity training received during IDS Recommitment Day and asked what he should do next. I was impressed by Richard's desire to do what was right. Richard willingly followed the direction I gave to him, and discussed openly with our Law Department the specifics so that the company could notify the owner of the document."

As a result of his actions, the information was handled properly and potential risk to the company was avoided. Wright was recognized for what he did earlier this year by the Boeing Mesa Ethics office and his manager with a Pride@Boeing award.

"I was surprised by the attention, because I think this is more of just a normal business procedure to follow anytime this happens," Wright said. "I would surely advise anyone to take care with any documents or information that comes in from outside before using it for Boeing business."

Wright, who's now with the California Region IDS Supplier Quality and Development Group in Long Beach, thinks his fellow teammates always have kept to the high ethical standards of the company, but he has seen even greater emphasis lately. "We're all more aware, and I think the training has cleared up some gray areas for others, just as it did for me," he said.

-Marc Sklar


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