At a facility in Durham, N.C., General Electric employees are busy building the GE90 — the world’s largest and most powerful jet engine.
Just how powerful?
Its 127,900 pounds of thrust is about 50 percent more thrust than the Redstone rocket that took Alan Shepard to space. It’s large enough to fit a small car inside.
Just recently, GE Aviation shipped engine No. 1,000 to Boeing , who uses them exclusively for its 777 aircraft.
As you might imagine, the people working on these marvels of engineering are highly skilled. They work in teams and make their own work schedules depending on what they need to do to meet the goals they themselves set. And many of them have one very important thing in common: they are veterans. In fact, almost 40 percent of our employees in Durham have served in our Armed Forces.
That’s not a coincidence.
Building jet engines requires precision and perfection. With their great attention to detail and determination, veterans are often a perfect fit for the opportunities GE offers. This is true not just in our aviation business, but throughout GE .
We currently employ more than 10,000 veterans and reservists.
And in February, we announced both that we would sponsor the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring our Heroes Initiativeand commit to hiring another 5000 veterans over the next five years. We also said that through our Veterans Network, which consists of employees who share a common bond of military service, we would offer one-on-one coaching for veterans transitioning at 50 of the Hiring our Heroes job fairs.
Part of our commitment to initiatives like Hiring our Heroes is bred out of patriotism. Too often for veterans, risking their lives has meant risking their livelihoods when they return home. They deserve better, and a good job is a start. But at GE, we also view veterans as great assets for our company’s growth.
"For our veterans, globalization is not an abstract concept, or even something to be feared; instead, they’ve experienced it first-hand. They are proud to work together to reach a common goal, bigger than any one individual."
And why not?
Veterans arrive at GE with not only translatable skills and expertise but with the intangibles and values that we believe define our culture and determine our success. Institutions that endure — like our military, and I like to think GE, too — have three things in common: a commitment to integrity, a commitment to performance; and a commitment to learn and grow stronger.
Veterans have led in the field; they can lead in a factory or research facility. Veterans believe in getting the job done and doing it in the right way. For our veterans, globalization is not an abstract concept, or even something to be feared; instead, they’ve experienced it first-hand. They are proud to work together to reach a common goal, bigger than any one individual.
Veterans know how to compete and win.
These qualities count. We’re a company that takes great pride in working on things that matter. GE works to build, power, move and help cure the world. We don’t have all the answers, or all the solutions, for a complex world and what is a very challenging time. But one thing is clear. Success for GE — or for any company, for that matter — relies on finding and keeping the best people. And whether we’re talking about jet engines like the GE90 built in Durham, gas turbines, MR scanners, new appliances with industry-first features or financial services, the best talent includes our veterans and reservists.
By honoring our veterans and reservists and tapping their skills, we can certainly make GE a better company. We can also make the country they so bravely served — and are still serving — even stronger.
Jeff Immelt is the chairman and CEO of General Electric. Immelt is the ninth chairman of GE, a post he has held since Sept. 7, 2001. Mr. Immelt has been named one of the "World's Best CEOs" three times by Barron's, and since he began serving as chief executive officer, GE has been named "America's Most Admired Company" in a poll conducted by Fortune magazine and one of "The World's Most Respected Companies" in polls by Barron's and the Financial Times. Mr. Immelt is the chair of President Barack Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. He is also a member of The Business Council.
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