Welcome aboard! For Boeing’s cabin design guru, it has always been about improving the passenger experience and the joys of flight By Dan Raley Blake Emery slides into a 787 premium seat and gets comfortable. Dressed smartly in a suit and tie, he could pass for a business traveler flying off to an important meeting or convention. Yet Emery doesn’t stow any carry-on luggage, fasten a seat belt or care to look out the window. By simply sitting down, he’s arrived at his destination. Emery is Boeing’s cabin design expert. Officially recognized as the director of differentiation strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, he’s widely credited with bringing about radical change to the latest commercial jetliner interiors, for being a cutting-edge innovator, for taking chances. Often perched between two armrests, he studiously mulls his surroundings while coming up with countless ways to improve them. “I think to be an innovator, you have to sort of think and see the world differently from others,” said Jerry Allyne, Boeing vice president for Planning and Analysis. “Blake has a very distinctive sense of style. He appears to understand where markets may be going, and by markets, I mean things or attributes customers would value that others don’t see yet. He’s the over-the-horizon guy.” On this day, the trim, personable Emery holds court in a 787 Dreamliner mock-up tucked away inside the newly renovated Customer Experience Center in Renton, Wash. One minute he’s seated, drawing curving lines on a writer’s notepad to illustrate a point; the next, he’s bounding up the aisle to offer more tangible examples, with passion and excitement in his voice. Emery was a key member of a team responsible for bringing bigger cabin windows to the 787, for the optional spacious foyer and archway in the same airplane effectively used as a visual welcome mat for boarding passengers, and for the Boeing Sky Interior first introduced on the 737. These innovations provide a more pleasurable overall flying experience, and have been lauded by the public and industry analysts. Yet it’s a process that never Frontiers November 2014 47 This is an occasional feature about Boeing employees and the work they do that helps the company be more successful.
Frontiers November 2014 Issue
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