Space and Communications
"Keynote to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions"
Seal Beach, Ca.
April 05, 2001
Good morning and welcome.
I'm delighted to be a part of the First Annual Boeing Southern California Historically Black Colleges & Universities/Minority Institutions Awareness Symposium. This is a terrific event, and I hope it can serve as a starting point for more of this type of interchange over the years.
Today's symposium represents a wonderful opportunity for both of us -- for Boeing and for the institutions here today -- to talk about some of the exciting things we can do together to nurture and encourage the minds, talents and futures of some outstanding young people.
What we'd like you to walk away with is a better understanding of our vision, programs and people requirements.
And at the same time, we're interested in getting to know more about the valuable research and development capabilities and human resources available at your institutions.
I'd like to start by showing you a short video about Space and Communications. It gives you a brief overview of our accomplishments in 2000 and a sense of what lies ahead for us through the rest of this year.
There's a phrase -- a promise really -- that strikes me every time I see that video: If you can dream it. . . we can build it.
I think at Boeing we really have been able to dream dreams and then make those dreams reality.
- We've done it on programs like
- Mercury... Gemini... Apollo...
- Space Station... Space Shuttle
- 747... 707... . 777... new Sonic Cruiser
- GPS... NMD... and DirecTV
We truly have been able to change the world.
Now, dreams are one thing, but making good on that promise of building dreams into reality requires something else, too. And that's intellectual capital. . . the collective intelligence and wisdom of our employees, the "brain trust" that they bring to work every day that allows us to do all those amazing things.
Because it's the employees -- and their energy, ideas and enthusiasm -- that are the heart and soul of our business. Not some hot new technology or the latest marketing plan.
That's one reason the partnership between The Boeing Company and HBCU/MIs is so critical. It helps us expand our pool of intellectual capital and lets us tap into some of the brightest minds and most innovative ideas out there.
Clearly, everyone is born with some intellectual capital. And it's nurtured over the years by family, by K-12, by mentors and teachers. I bet everyone in this room had at least one teacher who made a real difference in their lives - I know I did.
I believe that, working as a team, The Boeing Company and the HBCU/MI representatives also can help nurture young people, and move them into the areas where they can best use their talents and educations... to pursue degrees in science, math, physics, or engineering. To see that they, too, can help change the world in which we live.
That's why Boeing engineers invest a lot of time - and the company invests a lot of money -- going into schools all over Los Angeles trying to get young folks excited about careers in math and science and engineering.
In fiscal year 2000, Boeing spent over $2 million with HBCUs and MIs, supporting research, scholarships, K-12 minority outreach; curriculum and faculty development; and engineering student retention, among other things. We also have a terrific intern program where we bring college kids in between Spring Break and the Fall Semester, to experience first hand how we operate and to get a feel for the business.
From a business standpoint, it's an excellent investment because it lets us leverage that investment and use college kids rather than our own employees to do that R&D and make those discoveries.
From a personal perspective, it's an even better investment -- an investment in the future of the students, the future of the HBCUs and MIs, and the future of Boeing.
Because when I stop and think about the things that can really change a person and the direction his life is headed, education and mentoring are right at the top.
In my own experience... I went to a small, liberal arts college... and I know I never would have ended up in math and science if I hadn't gotten the nurturing I did from a couple of great professors who really spent time with me and shared their excitement and vision. That experience made a real difference in my life.
In preparing for today, I came across some interesting facts about HBCUs. They enroll less than 20 percent of African American undergraduates entering college, but they award one third of all bachelor's degrees earned by African Americans and a significant number of the advanced degrees. Obviously they have a tremendous formula for success
I'd like to give you a personal example, and talk about two close friends of mine who attended HBCUs, became tremendous leaders in their fields, and contributed so much to the business I'm in.
One is 4-Star General Lester Lyles, Head of Air Force Materiel Command in El Segundo, Calif., who went to Howard University in Washington, DC; and the other is Dr. Bill Wiley, Director of the Battelle National Laboratory in Washington State, who went to Tougaloo.
Just as my small liberal arts college helped shape my careers choices, HBCU/MIs played an important role in making those gentlemen leaders in their fields.
At Boeing, we're always looking for new technologies. If there's a technology that we need and don't have, there are a number of things we can do: We can acquire a company that makes it; we can develop an alliance that will give us access to it; or we can invest in university-based research and development for that kind of technology.
We're doing this last one (investing in university-based R&D) more and more, because these kinds of partnerships - including ones with HBCU/MIs - are win-win situations Boeing benefits from the resulting technical research. . . and the schools benefit from programs strengthened by the Boeing investment.
My boss, Boeing Chairman and CEO Phil Condit, has this saying... "None of us is as smart as all of us." I really believe that and I'm committed to capitalizing on that diversity of thought, both inside and outside the company.
In fact, one of the things I value most about the team here at Boeing -- and a thing that I think is a tremendous competitive advantage for the company -- is the diversity of thought that has resulted from melding the four heritage companies.
When look at our recent big wins -- NMD, FIA, AEW&C, etc. -- I see that in each of those programs we won by getting the best minds from across the business together and taking advantage of diverse opinions, backgrounds and experiences. We want to continue doing that, and I am confident we can do so though our work with HBCU/MIs.
Doing so will become increasingly important, too... I read the other day that the 2000 Census shows Los Angeles County has no clear majority any more - it's really a microcosm of the United States and indicator of the future. It's imperative for companies like Boeing to have a workforce that reflects the local population.
It will take work, but we're dedicated to doing it. HBCU/MI can help us get there and help us prepare for the future and make our business stronger.