GE would not be the company it is today without its employees. From working mothers to U.S. military veterans, GE has a diverse team that should be recognized and celebrated. So, we created a series called the “Quick Six”—six questions we are asking employees to help us learn about their talents and backgrounds. Together, GE works.
In our next installation of Quick Six, we sat down with Kevin Lizotte, an all-around machinist in Hookset, New Hampshire. Kevin is also a content creator in the machining community and posts his creations on Instagram and YouTube. Check out his Instagram and his YouTube channel.
Tell us about what you do at GE Aviation?
I work as an all-around machinist. I work in the tool room and repair and rebuild fixtures, tools and gauges that the rest of production uses to manufacture the parts they make. In the tool room there are one type machinist, all-around machinist, and tool makers. As an all-around, I am proficient with most of the machines, so I can assess and execute on most jobs. Tool makers are experts on all the jobs in the tool room, so they get the high-level, complex work; mostly gauges. I am working towards being a tool maker because I am motivated by the pressure of having to create something perfect.
How did you end up working for GE?
After I determined that I wanted to pursue machining, I enrolled in Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. They have a two-year associates degree in advanced machine tools and technology. I was unsure about the degree at first, but I decided to try it out and see if I enjoyed it as much as working on my own projects. As you can see, I ended up loving it. After my first semester there, they announced an internship program with GE Aviation in Hookset. I was chosen with a group of three other students, and we started out working part-time during the school year then full-time in the summer. After I graduated, they offered me a position in production. I did two years in production jobs where I was hired into the sectors business; I ran a manual lathe machining rings to be turned into outer bands for sectors. After that, I was hired into the new automated LEAP cell; it was cool to be there for the beginning because they had wired EDMs [Electrical Discharge Machine], and CMMs [Coordinate Measuring Machine] and a robotic arm operating the cell. After LEAP, I was hired into my current position.
Have you always been interested in machining and building things? What draws you to this?
Building and taking things apart are things that have always interested me. When I was a kid, I would play in my dad’s workshop and make things with the leftover scraps from his projects. I found out what a machinist was in high school. My uncle was a machinist, and he took me on a tour of where he worked. Despite having no experience with any of the machines in his shop, I became really interested in the field because it was a step above anything I have ever seen. Machining is the ultimate of making anything; we make the tools that make tools. If society fell tomorrow, you could rebuild it with a mill because it makes anything square, and a lathe because it makes anything round.
What is your inspiration for both work and your personal projects? What do you most like to build?
The inspiration for me comes from the satisfaction you get when you’ve had an idea in your head and get to produce it from beginning to end. I get that gratification when I make something myself and when I make something at work too. It’s cool that I can use my mind and hands to take a hunk of metal and a drawing and turn that into something useful.
My favorite thing to build are lamps, but they’re what I build the least of. People ask me to build things for them a lot, so my personal projects sometimes come in last. I have built a lot of lamps for my brother Eric, though. He always has awesome ideas for new projects for me, and I really enjoy working with him.
You’re also a content creator for both Instagram and YouTube, could you tell me a little more about that? What do you like the most about it?
My friend Jimmy DiResta was the motivation for me to start both Instagram and YouTube. I was a fan of his show on the Discovery channel, Dirty Money, where Jimmy and his brother John would find trash on the streets of New York and turn it into art or furniture. He later decided to pursue a career making videos himself. Now he has over 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, so his influence has definitely grown in the maker community. I’ve been fortunate to become good friends with him. When he saw the work I’ve done, he told me I should post it online because I build cool things and have knowledge that some people would really like to know. When I meet other makers, I think of everyone as both a student and a teacher. All of us have something new to learn from the others. Starting my Instagram was my first step into sharing what I do. I put YouTube off for a long time, however my friend John Graz, a video producer and fellow YouTuber, offered to come over and help me film. So far we’ve made two videos together and it has been awesome.
I also love to share machining knowledge with other creators. There’s this sense of mystery about machining; for some reason many people aren’t familiar with it. It’s cool to demonstrate machining in front of people, and see their eyes understand it when I am showing them how to do something. I remember showing Jimmy DiResta how to make a thread on his lathe, and it was like magic happening in front of him.
What do you like to do outside of work/machining?
My favorite hobby outside of all of that is bike riding. The last few years I’ve been bike riding more. About 4 or 5 years ago my dad got a new bike, and I started to go on rides with him. I wasn’t really trying to push myself, I was just going for the ride and the scenery. However, I recently got a new bike which has motivated me to be a little more aggressive. I used to try to avoid hills, but now I love the feeling of accomplishment of riding uphill. It’s something that I didn’t used to do, but now I find it satisfying to take the more difficult ride.
Did you know Quick Six is a series? Read our previous features:
- Quick Six with Bryne Berry, Environmental Barrier Coating Engineer at GE Aviation in Evendale, OH.
- Quick Six with Dale Hughes, Assembly & Test Technician in Durham, NC
- Quick Six with Terrance Brand, Staff Engineer for GE Aviation in Hooksett, NH.
- Quick Six with Flavio Caciuffo, engineer at GE Aviation business, Avio Aero.
- Quick Six with Phil Woniger, Senior Account Sales Manager, at GE Aviation in Savannah, Georgia.
- GE Aviation’s Quick Six with Mike Bonacum, T901 Technology Maturation Leader at GE Aviation in Lynn, MA.
- GE Aviation’s Quick Six with David Burns, CIO of GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Quick Six with Mike Bonacum, a T901 Technology Maturation Leader at GE Aviation in Lynn, MA.
- Quick Six with Teresa Saint-Blancard, a customer program manager at GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Quick Six with Gavin Roe, an international program director in Cincinnati, Ohio.