March 2015 21 When the North Charleston Interiors center opened, not only was the production system new, but so were the employees. It was challenging to produce one complete 787 cabin interior a month, Nelson said. Now, they are turning out three a month. Nelson, a Charleston native, was remodeling homes before he was hired by Boeing. He likes working with his hands. And he loves the culture and atmosphere he has found at Boeing. “You leave your home every day and come to work here and it’s like walking into another family,” he said. And that family has gotten pretty big. The Boeing South Carolina workforce numbers more than 7,500, including contract workers. Overall, the site is just over 100 acres (40 hectares) shy of being the same size as the Everett site. Boeing owns or has leased land at the main North Charleston campus for future expansion if needed. “It’s almost like we have built a city here,” said Jerry Edmondson, Site Services manager for the Shared Services Group at Boeing South Carolina. He helped scout the site for Texas-based Vought back in 2005. “We have seen this site grow from where we were just building fuselage sections to now, when we are flying out a complete airplane,” he said. “It’s not every day that people get the opportunity to be part of what we have here … And there is room to grow.” Walking around the site, talking with employees, it’s impossible not to notice that something special is happening here. They are excited about the work, about the progress and especially about the future. They wear their Boeing teamwear with pride. And the community takes pride in them. Every employee, it seems, has stories about being stopped by folks in the local community when they are wearing their Boeing teamwear away from work. “If you go out into town and you happen to be wearing your Boeing shirt—at the gas station, the grocery store, the lumberyard—someone is sure to stop you and want to talk about Boeing. Next, they want to know how they can get a job at Boeing,” said Daniel Painter, a team lead for Section 47, one of the two fuselage sections manufactured in Aftbody Operations. Painter went to work for Vought in 2007. He had just spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was a small arms weapon repair technician. Many Boeing Photos: (Far left) Boeing South Carolina teammate Adriane Mitchell performs pre-join work on a 787 fuselage in Final Assembly. (Left) After being fabricated and assembled at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan., the 787 forward section is delivered by Dreamlifter to Final Assembly, where it is joined to the midbody section. Bob Ferguson | Boeing (9,300 square meters) for Boeing Research & Technology–South Carolina. The facility, focusing on advanced manufacturing technology and composite fuselage manufacturing, has its own autoclave. Antonio Nelson is a team lead at the Interiors Responsibility Center, where he’s worked for three years since joining Boeing. When he started, not long after the center opened, it resembled a “ghost town,” he said. There were few tools, and few workers. Now, there are a lot more of each. With lessons learned and experience, the work has become more efficient. Nelson said his team sometimes calls on Interiors colleagues in Everett for help. “If we run into any issues, Everett probably already has had to deal with them,” he said.
Frontiers March 2015 Issue
To see the actual publication please follow the link above