Teaming With Pride

By Shirley Langver

October 2015

Growing up beside the Winnipeg International Airport, I developed a fascination at an early age with airplanes and how they connect people globally. Today, I am proud to have a role in creating amazing jets, making it possible to connect people from one part of the world to another.

In 1981, I visited the Boeing site in Everett, Wash. I was coming from Winnipeg, Canada, with an operation of just over 700 team members at the time, which put the immense size of The Boeing Company into perspective.

Seeing our airplanes in full production drove home that we're part of something bigger -- something that relies on what we do in Winnipeg to get the job done. I was seeing firsthand how the supply chain worked within Boeing, and how our customers in the Puget Sound region needed top-quality, timely parts from us to ensure our company delivered on its promises to our airline customers.

For me, the customer is the person flying on a Boeing jet, the airlines who buy them, and the teammates who build them. Customer service is keeping a promise, delivering results and honoring our commitments. Without the customer, we wouldn't be here.

I began my career at Boeing 35 years ago as a plastic technician. Today, as a senior manufacturing manager for the 737, I feel fortunate to have had a hand in manufacturing every Boeing airplane model from the 727 to the 787 Dreamliner.

Other career highlights include designing and delivering layup training for new hires, leading the 737 Engine Strut Forward Fairing team as it became the first Lean cellular manufacturing cell in Boeing Winnipeg, and being part of developing the 777 program.

Leading the 737 Product Team at Boeing Winnipeg, my focus is planning and directing operations, and managing issues as they arise. I believe the most important part of my job is building and cultivating relationships with members of my team and colleagues: When we take the time to speak to people, take an interest in their lives, and build honest relationships through interaction and openness, the teamwork will just follow.

During my years at Boeing, I've had some tough but rewarding assignments. Both on and off the job, I am grateful to say I've had my Boeing team behind me. In 2005, 2007 and 2009, I faced my toughest challenge -- cancer. Today, I am proud to say I beat it and am cancer-free.

I love working with people and helping them succeed, because victories and success are shared by everyone on the team. To build the product, you must first build the team -- and I believe that with Boeing Winnipeg, we've done just that.