School's in session

As I mentioned a little while back, I did my annual swing Down Under a couple weeks ago. It was a great but very busy trip. I visited Sydney and Brisbane, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, and over a 5-day period, I did about 15 or 20 different presentations. And talk about variety - we did presentations for media, banks, industry analysts, investors, and several customers - some I did over coffee, some over rubber-chicken lunch, and some in an auditorium before dozens of people.

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Australian media keeping up with my CMO spiel

But no doubt, my absolute favorite stop of the trip was my visit to Aviation High School near Brisbane. I spent about 90 minutes there one afternoon, speaking to about 60 of the students, as well as a group of 20 college aviation students from the Queensland University of Technology nearby.

I have to tell you, I was just blown away by these kids - by how bright they were, how engaged they were, and just by their enthusiasm for aviation. The students from this high school go on to a wide variety of careers in aviation, from mechanics to pilots to avionics engineers. We talked about the market, new aircraft (they love the 787), old aircraft, training simulators, education — this was a very mature bunch of high school students.

The 20 or so college students who came along were a little more concerned about the next step in their careers. They wanted to know if they were following the right path. And I said that it’s pretty clear that the decisions you make when you’re 21 or 22 don’t necessarily dictate where you’re going to be when you’re 30 , 40 or 51 (as in my case). But that said, you really cannot go wrong by starting in this business.

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Nothing is more energizing on a long trip than meeting with enthusiastic young people like these Aviation High students

I told them a story about some other students I met in Sydney a few years earlier. Those students also were worried about their future. It just so happens that very day I met with two of those students — they now work for Brisbane’s hometown airline, Virgin Blue.

I loved it when a young man in Grade 9 - about 14 or 15 years old, the same age as one of my sons - came up to me with his mom. He was a little shy, but his mom said he wanted to take a picture with me. Now, I’m no rock star, so that just shows how enthusiastic this young man is about aviation.

So I’d like to extend my thanks to the staff and students at Aviation High and at the university as well. Thanks, everybody, and school’s in session!

Comments (4)

Don Harrington (Bellevue, WA):

Great story, Randy. Good to hear kids (at least somewhere) are still interested in science and aviation.

Don't sell yourself short. In the world of aviation, you ARE a rock star!

Keep up the great work!

Kris Frederick (Tukwila, WA - King):

I really enjoyed the article. It's great to read about younger people being interested in the things we do at Boeing (or in anything else that has to do with a look forward to careers). Thanks for the article.

Kris Frederick

Thomas Horstmann (Portland, OR):

Randy,

Great blog entry! I especially like your comments about meeting the young students at Aviation High, especially your story of the young man who approached you for a photograph.

Simply incredible you would find time in your busy schedule to meet with high school and college students in Australia.

Sincerely,

Thomas V. Horstmann, Jr.
Portland, Oregon

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

It is great to find dedicated young people who know what they want to do at an early age. These students will be the next leaders in the world aviation and it is never to soon to reach your goals and strive for greatest potential.

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