by: Stephanie Pure, Northeastern University – Seattle, Senior Director of Business and Community Relations
The Other Boeing: New CEO of Boeing Defense, Space, and Security Speaks Out about the Future
We in Washington are deeply familiar with the larger of Boeing’s two divisions, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. However, this week we got to hear from its other division known as Defense, Space and Security (BDS). Seven months ago, Chris Chadwick took the helm as CEO of BDS, employing 5,200 in Washington, 50,000 more employees at its St. Louis headquarters, and reaching annual sales of $33 billion. He spoke this week to a room full of attentive, dark-suited businesspeople at a recent luncheon hosted by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. So what does the “new guy” have to say about the future of Boeing’s business in Washington and beyond?
With defense budgets shrinking, BDS has to be leaner and more strategic than ever before. Chadwick emphasized the need for greater efficiency, investment in research & development, strengthening partnerships, and the need to be competitive by differentiating themselves from competitors and “getting there first”. For those looking to break into the aerospace sector, where are the opportunities?
The answer might be surprising. BDS is looking for great talent in the area of science, technology, engineering and math as one might expect. Chadwick also emphasized the importance of data analytics, given the evolving nature of warfare in the modern age. However, given the intense business challenges of “doing more with less”, as Chadwick mentioned several times, BDS is also looking for those with top-notch business and management skills. He placed a high value on those who could help creatively navigate the challenges ahead business-wise, and specifically spoke about the need for talent in finance, leadership, project management, and even liberal arts.
The intent of BDS is to expand current project lines, but to also consider new avenues in research. Those research areas include miniaturization, sensor technology, additive manufacturing, information technology, data analytics, cyber warfare, and Phantom Fusion, a type of tracking software framework developed by Boeing.
Lastly, Chadwick discussed the value of hiring veterans at Boeing and the tremendous value they bring to the company, declaring that veterans “make Boeing a better company”.
We are lucky in Washington to have a longtime employer such as Boeing in our midst. With the programs and educational opportunities offered by Northeastern University-Seattle, we can provide a great match between what our students are learning and what the industry needs, such as our online MBA and Master’s programs in Finance, Project Management, Leadership, and more.