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 installment of Quick Six, The Bike Shop sat down with Kelly Cole, a senior sales director for GE Aviation in London, UK.
Kelly started her career as an engineering apprentice at GE’s engine shop in Wales and is now based at GE Aviation’s Sales Office in London, UK. This month, Kelly was announced as a finalist in the Women of the Future awards, which aim to celebrate the inspirational achievements of women across the UK. The awards take place on 15 November in London.
Update: Kelly won the Women of the Future award in the Business category, which recognizes the achievements of female talent and inspirational women in the UK. Check out her post on LinkedIn about receiving the award.
How long have you been in your current position, and could you provide a brief overview of what you do?
I have been in my current role since March 2016, when GE Aviation’s services sales team was formed. I am responsible for overseeing component repair sales from third party shops, material sales, used engine sales and the non-exclusive Time & Materials shop visits for Africa and Europe.
How did you end up in this position? Did you always want to work in aviation?
I grew up near GE Aviation Wales, the engine overhaul shop based in Nantgarw, South Wales, and frequently saw the engines arriving or leaving the site. The size of the engines always amazed me and it inspired me to want to work there. I joined GE Aviation in September 2000 on the engineering apprenticeship program, where I spent three years studying in college and working at the facility, learning the skills required to be an aircraft engineer.
Until I joined GE Aviation Wales I wasn’t aware of the huge global network within GE, which offers a wide range of career opportunities for its employees to develop and grow within the Company.
Upon completing my apprenticeship, I spent time working on the shop floor overhauling engines. In August 2004 I had the opportunity to join the customer programs team. Since then I have taken on a number of roles and opportunities within GE, all of which have enabled me to build my knowledge and experience of the aviation industry.
What motivates or inspires you to work hard?
Thinking about how I can make a difference motivates me to work hard. I want to be able to look back at the end of each year and say, “I did something of value”. My current role in services sales has clear and measurable targets which I like. I can see the impact my role has on the Business and the people I work with.
When I first started in my contract fulfillment coordinated (CFC) role for the GE90 jet engine, everyone on the team seemed extremely knowledgeable. Listening to their experiences and hearing my co-workers share their knowledge inspired me to work harder and spend additional time outside of my working day, particularly in the early days of the role, learning in-depth about the engine, the processes and the systems. It was a great opportunity for me to immerse myself in the role and the product.
What has been a lesson you’ve learned while working at GE? Do you have any advice for other people?
My advice to others is to not be afraid to ask for more responsibility or take on activities outside of your role to develop new skills. GE is a great, innovative company that provides employees with many opportunities. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to continue my learning and I have been able to obtain a degree in engineering and achieve my Master Business Administration (MBA). I have also found GE’s affinity groups are a fantastic way to develop skills, particularly softer skills such as presentation skills in a safe environment outside of your day-to-day role.
What is your favorite engine and why? Could you draw a picture of it?
It has to be the world’s largest and the most powerful commercial jet engine, the GE90-115B!
What is one potentially surprising thing that people don’t know about you?
I can deadlift 120kg, which is twice my body weight and leg press 300kg (or five times my body weight). I believe that ‘a strong body makes a mind strong’. I get up at 5:15 am each morning and workout for 90 minutes before going into the office. Keeping fit and healthy is important to me and I find it’s the best way to start the day.
Did you know Quick Six is a series? Read our previous features:
- Quick Six with Katie Culic, a Military advanced programs project manager in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Quick Six with Raj Das, the general manager of GE Aviation’s Military manufacturing programs in Lynn, Massachusetts.
- Quick Six with Nina Tohill, a customer support manager in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Quick Six with Carol Hartman, a commercial engines technical publications production manager in Cincinnati, Ohio.