From working parents to military veterans, GE would not be the company it is today without its employees. We created “Quick Six” to celebrate our diverse talent by asking employees six questions that uncover the unique ways that they contribute to GE and the world.
In our next installment of Quick Six, we sat down with Bridie Evans, advanced technology engineer at Dowty Propellers in Gloucester, UK.
Evans began her career as an engineering intern at GE Oil and Gas and is now based at Dowty Propellers. This month, Bridie was announced as one of five finalists in the Women of the Future awards, which aim to celebrate the inspirational achievements of women across the UK. The ceremony took place on Nov. 7 in London.
What led you to your current role?
I’ve been with GE a little over seven years. While working towards my master’s degree in aerospace engineering, I interned at GE Oil and Gas for a year. Although I was studying a different discipline, I was interested in this role because it was an opportunity to see how different industries operate. I was then sponsored by the company to finish my degree while I worked part-time. In total, I was with GE Oil and Gas for about three years.
After graduation I came to GE Aviation as an Edison Engineer at our Cheltenham site. It was a challenging couple of years, but it’s an incredible starting point for anyone transitioning from academia to the workplace.
Following my graduation from the Edison Program I joined the Dowty team. As an aerospace degree candidate, my masters focused on additive manufacturing and 3-D printing. I had a longstanding love of the technology and had seen the benefit of making lighter weight and more high performing parts first-hand. I expressed a lot of interest in additive and metallic components and was asked to work with our research and development team. My role is closely tied into the new technology introduction cycle where we identify potential opportunities in additive, then work to create, test and analyze the hardware.
Is there a key lesson you’ve learned during your time at GE? Do you have any advice for others?
Don’t be afraid of change. I’ve had an interesting time moving across different businesses and teams. I think it’s very easy to stay with the same team because they know you and your work, but I think moving around helps you to develop a lot of soft skills and people skills you wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
You also get the opportunity to learn more about how the business functions—and the more you understand that, the more you’ll understand how your work impacts our outcomes.
What motivates or inspires you to work hard?
I love working in research and development. The idea that I have an impact on what the future may look like is a massive driver for me. It’s an interesting time to have a career in this field, because it’s not very often we introduce technology that changes the way we’ve traditionally done things. This sort of creative freedom is also a massive driver for me.
How did you learn that you were nominated, then shortlisted, for the Women of the Future Award in the science category?
I self-nominated after a conversation with our engineering leader about how to raise awareness about the work we do, how to increase diversity, and what we could do to encourage young women to work towards careers in STEM. Since it’s something that’s so close to my heart, I told myself that this was the year I was going to apply.
After a couple of weeks, I received an email telling me that I was shortlisted and since then I’ve also gone through the interview process. My category features an incredibly diverse group of women. I think I’m the only engineer and the only person in the aerospace industry represented, so I’ll take that alone as an accolade.
What role do awards like this play?
The UK has a huge shortfall of engineers every single year. Women account for approximately 46 percent of our total workforce and only 11 percent of engineers are female. So, this award is important to raise awareness about the engineering industry and what it is that engineers do.
I’ve had an incredible journey and I love what I do, so I love the idea of a young girl seeing my story and having it spark her interest in engineering or aerospace. That’s really why STEM programs are so important—they allow children to see how truly diverse engineering can be and how important it is. This nomination process allows me to shed light on that.
What is one potentially surprising thing people don’t know about you?
I’m dyspraxic, so I can’t do mental arithmetic and my numbers switch around on me. While growing up I was certain that I would become an artist. I loved art and I wanted to be a graphic designer, but I scared myself out of it because it was too subjective.
I ended up choosing engineering because it made sense at the time. I figured that aerospace engineering was one of the hardest fields of study, so therefore no one could challenge me in the future as to my ability to learn new things. Looking back, I always loved to build things and solve problems, which is what makes me a great engineer. It wasn’t until about five years into my career I finally realized that I was and had always been an engineer.
Did you know Quick Six is a series? Read our previous features:
- Quick Six with Stefanie Darlington, Materials Planning Leader in Evendale, Ohio.
- Quick Six with with Laurence Vigeant-Langlois, Product Manager in West Chester, Ohio.
- Quick Six with Jordan Kovacs, Manufacturing Engineer at GE Aviation in Asheville, North Carolina.
- Quick Six with Kusha Ansari, Engineering Technology intern in Evendale, Ohio.
- Quick Six with Savannah Frazier, XLP program participant (Accelerated Leadership Program) in Evendale, Ohio.
- Quick Six with Jack Cohen, Sourcing Commercial Leader in Evendale, Ohio.
- Quick Six with Tiffany Liang, Materials Leader for the LEAP-1A and -1B Core Assembly in Lafayette, Indiana.
- Quick Six with Katie Schafer, Quality Engineer in Asheville, NC.
- Quick Six with Carlos Duenas, lead mechanic at GE Aviation Flight Test Operations, located in Victorville, California.
- 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.