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 spoke with Tiffany Liang, Materials Leader for the LEAP-1A and -1B Core Assembly at GE Aviation’s Lafayette, Indiana, engine assembly facility. She will celebrate two years at GE Aviation next month.
How long have you been in your current position, and what do you do?
I’ve been a program materials leader for six months now. My job is to make sure that all the parts for the LEAP-1A and LEAP-1B core assemblies are here on time, which allows the site to meet delivery. I have to know the production rates for each module of the engine, so if a part is struggling to arrive on time, I can work with fulfillment to ensure it gets here before the drop-dead time. This helps minimize and prevent stoppages on the production floor. My job is a balancing act between talking with fulfillment and suppliers and working with our technicians so that we can keep the production line moving efficiently.
What is it like working at the Lafayette location?
Lafayette is unique in that it utilizes a teaming environment site-wide. What that means is that technicians are assigned to teams to tackle their work rather than a classic hierarchical organization structure—everyone is on the same level on the floor, regardless of their job title. So even though my title externally looks like I have a higher-level position than technicians, technicians have just as much say as I do when it comes to decision-making.
It’s an interesting dynamic to have, and I think it’s good because everyone can be involved with business decisions and feel closer to the product. We all come from different backgrounds here, so any ideas that could improve our performance and efficiency are welcome in this environment. I’ve become a better listener and team-focused employee in my time here because of the teaming environment, and that has allowed me to take on more leadership roles within groups.
You started at Lafayette as a technician. What was that role like, and what has it been like to take on this new role with different responsibilities?
Technicians at Lafayette build the jet engines, but that’s really just the start of their responsibilities. I started as a technician and was a quality representative for my team, meaning I was already involved with handling defects and non-conformances on the floor, both in Lafayette and beyond. It gave me a great chance to collaborate with our engine testing facility in Peebles, Ohio, and our customer, Boeing, to solve problems.
I also served as the LEAP-1B compressor module assembly (CMA) and compressor stator (CST) workstation owner and the process failure mode effects analysis (PFMEA) focal—which means I was involved with a lot of different process improvement analyses. Specifically, I looked at how we could decrease effort hours to increase cost savings and decrease risk. When I was actually working on the engines, my focus was on the major engine assembly (MEA), the fan, accessory gear box (AGB) and CMA.
Because I started at Lafayette as a technician, I feel comfortable interacting with both technicians and support staff within the teaming environment. I understand the point of view from both sides, so people will come to me for advice in terms of how they should convey a certain idea or how they should go about completing their work within the environment.
Why did you pursue a career in Aviation at GE?
I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school as I headed to college, so I took inspiration from my grandfather, who was an aerospace engineer. After earning my Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering Technology and my Master of Science in Aviation and Aerospace Management, I wanted to be at GE Aviation because of the technological developments underway. The LEAP engine in general is a new engine line and uses a bunch of advanced technology. I am particularly interested in the 3D-printed parts—we call it “additive manufacturing”—that are used in the engine. I’m learning more and more as I go.
Can you share one lesson you’ve learned while working at GE? Do you have any advice for other people?
I would say I’ve learned the value of feedback to your career and personal development. Sometimes if you keep doing something one way and no one gives you feedback, the situation can spiral, and it could hurt the team. You have to be able to learn from what you’re doing or else you can’t improve. One great thing about the teaming dynamic on site is that we give constructive feedback to one another all the time. It creates more trust, honesty, and openness within the team, which then improves performance.
What is one thing that people might find surprising about you?
Most people outside of Lafayette do not know that I used to be a wrestler. In high school, I was the captain of our wrestling team and I competed against varsity boys as well as in the girls’ division. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to continue wrestling, but I have pursued Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo a little bit to stay active in my free time.
- 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
- 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.