AeroBio– Nicole Piasecki

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Nicole Piasecki

VP/GM Propulsion Systems division

Boeing Commercial Airplanes

1NP

 

 

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The aerospace community is large and widely geographically dispersed. Names may be known, but the answers to questions like who, why, what or how are rarely known. The purpose of an Aero Bio is to give some sense of the person behind the public’s impressions

Do you know an engineer at Boeing whose father is a famous helicopter innovator and who was an All American lacrosse player at Yale?

Here are a couple of articles which add some depth to Nicole Piasecki’s personna:

 

Working Geek: Boeing exec Nicole Piasecki does her best work in the sky

BY MONICA NICKELSBURG on April 27, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Nicole Piasecki

Nicole Piasecki, vice president and general manager of the Propulsion Systems Division at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. (Image via Boeing)

Nicole Piasecki has been close to aviation her whole life. Not only is she a high-ranking executive at Boeing, but her father, inventor of the big twin-rotor helicopter, inspired her passion for the industry, according to her alma mater’s publication,Wharton Magazine.

Piasecki is the vice president and general manager of the Propulsion Systems Division at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. We caught up with her for this installment of our Working Geek feature. Continue reading for her answers to our questionnaire.

What’s your job? I oversee a team that’s responsible for designing and developing an integrated propulsion system for all Boeing commercial airplanes. We design and build the nacelle and integrate it onto the wing. We work with engine companies to define requirements and integrate their power plants onto the airplane to get the best efficiency and environmental performance required for the airlines’ mission.

My team also designs the fuel system, including the world’s highest-throughput fuel system for inflight re-fueling from the 767-modified KC-46 Tanker (1,200 gallons/minute). They’re also designing the world’s largest nacelle (for the 777X airplane).

We support delivery of about 750 airplanes a year and provide world-class customer support for another 12,000 aircraft in service around the globe.

Current location: In the air…Bellevue…with regular visits to our sites in Everett, Renton, Tukwila and North Charleston, S.C.

Computer types: Dell laptop.

Mobile devices: BlackBerry and iPad.

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: I’d drown in emails without Outlook. Open Table also comes in very handy when I get hungry on the road.

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? On an airplane … because I love to fly! My aisle seat at 35,000 feet is decidedly more peaceful than my standing desk — I get more thinking done up there.

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? Surround yourself with people you trust and who have the strengths you lack. I’m very blessed to have a network of people who prop me up and allow me to devote my all to my family and work. Also, stay healthy and meditate to clear your mind.

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? Texts and e-mail rule in my world.

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? 136, but that’s about to change as soon as I board this flight.

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? Too, too many.

How do you run meetings? Collaboratively, but succinctly. I see value in bringing people together and having robust and productive dialogue.

Everyday work uniform? Usually business casual with bursts of color. My mother — a woman of grace, beauty, style and dignity — gives me her designer hand-me-downs.

How do you make time for family? Bring them with me when I can and reserve weekends for them and them only!

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? Exercise. It may be cliché, but I’ve been an avid sportsman all my life. It’s how I release, and gather, energy.

What are you listening to? A boarding announcement.

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? WSJ is still my go-to source for news. NPR is also helpful for the amount of time I’m on the road between Everett, Bellevue and Renton.

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man’s Fight for Justice” by Bill Browder.

Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? Both. It’s a gift or a curse, but I don’t require a lot of sleep and I rarely need an alarm clock.

Where do you get your best ideas? From the inspiring people around me. I thrive on input.

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? Alan Mulally (former president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Ford Motor Co.). He promotes working together, drives performance and accountability, demands transparency, and likes to have fun.

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In Person: Boeing’s Nicole Piasecki — born into aerospace engineering

Originally published April 5, 2011 at 9:43 am Updated June 28, 2011 at 11:12 am

3NP

 

 

Nicole Piasecki, head of strategic analysis at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, grew up with a blue-blood aviation background and is now grappling with key decisions as the company studies its future airplane programs.

 

Nicole Piasecki was practically groomed from birth for the role she now plays at Boeing Commercial Airplanes: heading the strategic-analysis team that’s grappling with key decisions as the company considers what its next new jet it should be.

“I really entered the industry when I was about 4 years old,” said Piasecki (pronounced Pie-a-SECK-ee). “We grew up completely around helicopters, vertical flight, every air show.”

At one birthday party at her Philadelphia home when she was about 10, she recalled, “I couldn’t understand why the parents of my friends were sticking around.” Now the reason seems obvious: “We were giving helicopter rides in the backyard.”

Piasecki’s mother, Vivian O’Gara Weyerhaeuser, came from the wealthy timber family. Her father, Frank Piasecki, invented the twin- rotor helicopter that later evolved into the U.S. Army’s heavy-lift Chinook.

His first company, Piasecki Helicopter, later became Boeing’s rotorcraft plant in Philadelphia, where Boeing’s defense division today builds Chinooks and V-22 tilt-rotor Ospreys. Frank regularly took the kids to his engineering office and on trips to see customers or to visit military officials at the Pentagon.

“I lived in another world … I was growing up not the way other people grew up,” his daughter said.

Today, four of her six siblings also work in aviation.After stints at Piasecki Aircraft and Weyerhaeuser, Nicole, 48, started at Boeing as an engineer on the 777 program in 1992. She is now vice president of business development and strategic integration.

Despite Boeing’s many current challenges, Piasecki said the company is in much better shape than a decade ago, when then-Commercial Airplanes chief Alan Mulally tapped her to run marketing.

In an interview at her Renton office, she recalled that back then many people in the industry were questioning Boeing’s commitment to the airliner business.

Then the Sept. 11 attacks staggered the aviation business, and management cut production in half. Boeing subsequently abandoned its plan to develop the superfast Sonic Cruiser jet.

“Those were pretty tough years,” Piasecki said. “We really rallied to bring Boeing back.”

Piasecki recalled helping plot the company’s next step. Along with chief engineer Walt Gillette, she led a key meeting at the Bell Harbor conference center on Seattle’s waterfront in October 2002.

A couple dozen airline representatives each got up and put a mark on a whiteboard to indicate whether they’d prefer Boeing’s next plane to be faster or more fuel-efficient.

All opted for fuel efficiency — and the die was cast for what became the 787 Dreamliner.

Now Piasecki is playing a pivotal role in Boeing’s decision on the next new airplane.

While rival Airbus has already moved to put new, more efficient engines on its narrow-body A320 aircraft, Boeing is considering a successor jet to the Renton-built 737 narrow-body.

The momentous choice will require investing gigantic sums, picking among key technology alternatives, deploying vast engineering and manufacturing resources, and establishing partnerships that will work better than the 787’s troublesome supply chain.

Because the Chinese and Russians, as well as the Canadians and Brazilians, also plan to enter the narrow-body market, Piasecki sees this as “a real turning point for us.”

Her job is to shape, guide and integrate the overall strategy, including where to fit in development of other jets such as a new Dreamliner derivative, the 787-10.

“We’ve got to make moves at certain times,” Piasecki said. “Our resources are not endless. We have to make choices.”

That’s daunting enough even without the awkward fact that some of Boeing’s strategic moves in the past decade — which Piasecki had a hand in — now look questionable.

Boeing’s leadership has conceded that the wholesale outsourcing of work on the Dreamliner program was handled badly. The debacle has trashed the company’s stellar reputation for delivering on time and has cost the company billions of dollars.

Piasecki, on the inner leadership team since 2001, says Boeing has learned a lot from those mistakes.

“We’ve had our troubles for sure on the 787,” Piasecki said. “But we feel that because of that experience we are ahead in certain technologies.”

On the next airplane, and even on the next derivative of the 787, she said, Boeing will keep key expertise in-house.

“We need to be very strategic … and recognize the capabilities where we believe we are better than anyone else in the world.,” Piasecki said. “We need to preserve those capabilities and invest in them.”

Still, that revisionism doesn’t mean the end of outsourcing.

“It doesn’t mean the walls of Boeing are in Puget Sound only. It doesn’t mean the walls of Boeing are in the United States only,” Piasecki said. “We have to be able to work with the best partners around the world.”
At one birthday party at her Philadelphia home when she was about 10, she recalled, “I couldn’t understand why the parents of my friends were sticking around.” Now the reason seems obvious: “We were giving helicopter rides in the backyard.”

 

Piasecki’s mother, Vivian O’Gara Weyerhaeuser, came from the wealthy timber family. Her father, Frank Piasecki, invented the twin- rotor helicopter that later evolved into the U.S. Army’s heavy-lift Chinook.

His first company, Piasecki Helicopter, later became Boeing’s rotorcraft plant in Philadelphia, where Boeing’s defense division today builds Chinooks and V-22 tilt-rotor Ospreys. Frank regularly took the kids to his engineering office and on trips to see customers or to visit military officials at the Pentagon.

 

“I lived in another world … I was growing up not the way other people grew up,” his daughter said.

 

Today, four of her six siblings also work in aviation.

After stints at Piasecki Aircraft and Weyerhaeuser, Nicole, 48, started at Boeing as an engineer on the 777 program in 1992. She is now vice president of business development and strategic integration.

 

Despite Boeing’s many current challenges, Piasecki said the company is in much better shape than a decade ago, when then-Commercial Airplanes chief Alan Mulally tapped her to run marketing.

 

In an interview at her Renton office, she recalled that back then many people in the industry were questioning Boeing’s commitment to the airliner business.

 

Then the Sept. 11 attacks staggered the aviation business, and management cut production in half. Boeing subsequently abandoned its plan to develop the superfast Sonic Cruiser jet.

 

“Those were pretty tough years,” Piasecki said. “We really rallied to bring Boeing back.”

 

Piasecki recalled helping plot the company’s next step. Along with chief engineer Walt Gillette, she led a key meeting at the Bell Harbor conference center on Seattle’s waterfront in October 2002.

 

A couple dozen airline representatives each got up and put a mark on a whiteboard to indicate whether they’d prefer Boeing’s next plane to be faster or more fuel-efficient.

All opted for fuel efficiency — and the die was cast for what became the 787 Dreamliner.

 

Now Piasecki is playing a pivotal role in Boeing’s decision on the next new airplane.

 

While rival Airbus has already moved to put new, more efficient engines on its narrow-body A320 aircraft, Boeing is considering a successor jet to the Renton-built 737 narrow-body.

The momentous choice will require investing gigantic sums, picking among key technology alternatives, deploying vast engineering and manufacturing resources, and establishing partnerships that will work better than the 787’s troublesome supply chain.

Because the Chinese and Russians, as well as the Canadians and Brazilians, also plan to enter the narrow-body market, Piasecki sees this as “a real turning point for us.”

Her job is to shape, guide and integrate the overall strategy, including where to fit in development of other jets such as a new Dreamliner derivative, the 787-10.

“We’ve got to make moves at certain times,” Piasecki said. “Our resources are not endless. We have to make choices.”

That’s daunting enough even without the awkward fact that some of Boeing’s strategic moves in the past decade — which Piasecki had a hand in — now look questionable.

Boeing’s leadership has conceded that the wholesale outsourcing of work on the Dreamliner program was handled badly. The debacle has trashed the company’s stellar reputation for delivering on time and has cost the company billions of dollars.

Piasecki, on the inner leadership team since 2001, says Boeing has learned a lot from those mistakes.

“We’ve had our troubles for sure on the 787,” Piasecki said. “But we feel that because of that experience we are ahead in certain technologies.”

On the next airplane, and even on the next derivative of the 787, she said, Boeing will keep key expertise in-house.

“We need to be very strategic … and recognize the capabilities where we believe we are better than anyone else in the world.,” Piasecki said. “We need to preserve those capabilities and invest in them.”

Still, that revisionism doesn’t mean the end of outsourcing.

“It doesn’t mean the walls of Boeing are in Puget Sound only. It doesn’t mean the walls of Boeing are in the United States only,” Piasecki said. “We have to be able to work with the best partners around the world.”

Piasecki said Boeing will strive for a more exclusive relationship with future partners, suggesting that those who also do work for rivals like Airbus may lose favor.

“Some of our very close suppliers are spending a lot of time developing stuff for other competitors. They are spending resources on others, not on us,” she said. “We’d prefer that they work with us, and … share and invest in technology for our advantage.”

Yet Piasecki was on Mulally’s leadership team when it decided in 2004 to sell off Boeing’s major parts plant in Wichita, Kan.

That facility, later renamed Spirit AeroSystems, remains the main supplier for Boeing’s narrow-body jets. But Spirit is now also a key supplier to Airbus and is building a plant in North Carolina that will make carbon-fiber plastic-composite fuselage panels for the A350, a rival to both the 787 and the 777.

In hindsight, was selling off Wichita a mistake?

Piasecki considered her answer for a long moment, pausing a conversation that was otherwise a fluid mix of lively, confident answers and occasional playful banter.

Finally she acknowledged, as her boss Jim Albaugh did recently, that Boeing’s leadership at the time was very focused on shrinking in-house assets to boost Wall Street’s assessment of company profitability.

Then she briskly moved on, saying she won’t “second-guess decisions that have already been made.”

How Spirit and the other partners fit into the next new airplane’s supply chain will be critical to the Puget Sound region, the center of Boeing’s airplane business since 1916.

Piasecki said Boeing is studying the possibility of a high-volume aircraft production supersite, where supplier fabrication plants making airplane sections would cluster near a Boeing final-assembly facility.

She said if Boeing chooses that route, it may set up more than one such supersite to mitigate the risk of having such a key complex subject to disruption by a natural disaster or a labor strike.

“We’re taking a look at all different scenarios,” Piasecki said. “We are coming up on our 100th birthday. We want to reposition for the next 100 years.”

The Piasecki family dynasty might even have a role in that next century. Would she be pleased if any of her three kids, ages 11, 9 and 4, go into aviation?

“I would love it,” Piasecki said. “Both my husband and I are engineers. I can tell we are shaping them to think engineering.”

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From LinkedIn

Experience

VP/GM Propulsion Systems Division

Boeing Commercial Airplanes

March 2013 – Present (3 years 3 months)BCAC logo

 

SVP Business Development and Strategic Integration

Boeing Commercial Aiplanes

BCAC logoMarch 2010 – February 2013 (3 years)Seattle, WA

 

President, Boeing Japan

Boeing

BCAC logoDecember 2006 – March 2010 (3 years 4 months)Tokyo, Japan

 

SVP Marketing

Boeing Company

BCAC logoSeptember 2001 – November 2006 (5 years 3 months)Seattle, WA

Responsible for marketing of all Boeing Commercial airplanes and services globally

Responsible for all defense, space and commercial business between Japanese customers, suppliers and all government relationships

 

Volunteer Experience & Causes

Board member

Washington Works

January 1993 – July 1996 (3 years 7 months)Poverty Alleviation

Board member

YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish

ymcaMarch 2004 – October 2006 (2 years 8 months)Social Services

Vice chairperson, chair of finance committee, board member

Seattle University

SUMay 2010 – Present (6 years 1 month)Education

Opportunities Nicole is looking for:

  • Joining a nonprofit board

Causes Nicole cares about:

  • Children
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Politics
  • Science and Technology

Languages

1.   Japanese

Limited working proficiency

2.   French

Elementary proficiency

 

Education

Wharton

University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School

Master of Business Administration (MBA), Operations Management and Supervision

1988 – 1990

Operations Management, Major
Finance, Minor

Activities and Societies: FounderChair of Wharton Flying Club

 

Yale University

YBacherlor of Science, Mechanical Engineering

1980 – 1984

Varsity Field Hockey, Lacrosse — 4 years
Selected, Book and Snake
Awarded Best Female Athlete at Graduation 1984
All American, All Ivy
Yale Flying Club

Activities and Societies: Varsity Field Hockey4 years Varsity Lacrosse, 4 years Captain Field Hockey 1984 MVP Lacrosse 1984 Awarded Top Female Athlete Award at Graduation 1984 All American

 

 

 

 

 

 

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