Host Team: Ramsey Foote, John Gitschlag, Aidan Honan, Elena Hong, Brett Meyers, Michael Purk, Nicholas Wageman, Savanna Zhang
October 22, 2020
James Flores, Director of Manufacturing Technology Integration from Boeing, spoke at the T&M seminar on October 16, 2020. James has been with Boeing for almost 24 years and he spoke upon both his personal and professional timeline within his family and at Boeing He explained how important a work-life balance is as well as the importance of taking jobs that push you to the next step in your life.
Boeing began as solely an aircraft company back in 1916. Almost 105 years later, Boeing has evolved into a global leader in the aerospace and defense industry. From the 737 MAX and 777x to satellites and GPS systems to missile defense and weapons, Boeing is currently designing and manufacturing the most innovative A&D products on this planet. Despite the massive commercial sector setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Boeing is projected to continue to grow in the upcoming years.
James’ presentation was focused on his long career at Boeing, all of the projects he has been involved with, and the lessons he has learned along the way. Some notable highlights of his career include designing blast doors for airplanes post-9/11, building the leading edge of the then-new 787 wing from the ground up, and designing the interior of the next generation Air Force One. He also has gotten to travel the world as a result of his job. He was able to live in Italy with his family for a while when he was a part of the team designing the horizontal stabilizer for the 787 plane. James also made sure to note the smaller successes in his life such as coaching his son’s little league team in order to show what a balanced career looks like. As he explained it, everybody has a different threshold for how much work they can do per week without hindering their happiness. James emphasized that what makes somebody truly successful is learning to respect your own work threshold while also understanding that other people have their own thresholds too.
Interspersed with those career events on his timeline were two other types of events important to him: family developments and professional growth opportunities. This went to highlight two main takeaways from his presentation. First, he emphasized that finding a good work-life balance is critical towards happiness and success. He would talk about the different projects he was a part of, as well as the time he would spend with his family at sports games, in Italy, and as a little league baseball coach. To him, happiness comes when he enjoys the work he does, yet it doesn’t consume his life, and he encourages all of us to find offers that allow the same. His next point of emphasis is to consistently be developing yourself. James is a self-proclaimed “student of life”, meaning that to him, learning did not end after graduation. Through seeking out an MBA on top of his undergraduate degree, as well as participating in multiple Boeing internal development programs, James has seen career growth that would not have been possible otherwise. He mentioned how luck is at the crossroad of preparation and opportunity, and so by being prepared and seeking out opportunities he, and anyone else, can find their success. James jumps at any opportunity to develop himself, and believes that for anyone, career growth is limitless with this mentality.
Our team thoroughly enjoyed hosting James and Boeing this past week at the T&M Seminar. James was able to give a rundown of his fantastic career, give remarkable advice, and answer some student questions as well. He was fantastic and we hope to keep in contact with him!