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 this special Veteran’s Day installation of Quick Six, The Bike Shop sat down with Dr. Michael Lappi, GE Aviation’s global medical director. Lappi, who is currently a Captain in the United States Naval Reserves, has nearly 20 years of combined active duty and reserve experience.

How long have you been in your current position, and could you provide a brief overview of what you do?

Above: Dr. Lappi, GE Aviation’s global medical director. Top: Black Hawk helicopter powered by GE Aviation’s T700 engines. Photo credit: US Army.

I’ve been at GE for just over 2 years as the global medical director for GE Aviation. In combination with the best health services team in all of GE, I oversee health and wellness, HealthAhead, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Drug Free Workplace, clinic operations, disability and workers’ compensation, and partner with colleagues in human resources, security, and environmental, health and safety (EH&S) on cross functional programs.

How did you end up in this position? Did you always want to work in Aviation?

I was fortunate to hear about the position from a close friend serving as a medical director at another Fortune 100 company.  As a military guy, I’ve always been fascinated by aircraft and extremely grateful for their services in several less than ideal situations around the world. I jumped at the chance to be a part of the company making the engines.

What motivates or inspires you to work hard?

I tell everyone, including myself, that medical professionals have the best job on the planet since we have the opportunity to impact people’s lives in a meaningful way every single day.  Knowing that I can dramatically improve a bad situation or share the joy of a great day is an unbelievable gift.

Dr. Lappi (on right in sunglasses) during Special Patrol Insertion Extraction (SPIE Rigging) under a CH-46 helicopter.

What has been a lesson you’ve learned while working at GE? Do you have any advice for other people?

My favorite message from Jeff Immelt, when he was CEO, was during a group session. He said that we all knew more about our jobs and business than the critics and writers of the millions of supposedly earthshattering business books being pumped out every day.  We were hired because we are all highly capable and intelligent individuals destined to change the world. Along with that lesson, my advice is to also judge yourself and others on whether you/they “play well with others.” A great team only succeeds if thoughts and ideas can be freely shared and appreciated at all levels.

What is your favorite engine and why, and could you draw a picture of it?

My favorite engine is the T700 turboshaft engine.  Once you’ve seen a Black Hawk or Apache rolling into the area on a bad day, you never forget it.

What is one potentially surprising thing that people don’t know about you?

As a graduate of the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, I’m a fully certified US Navy Diver qualified at one time or another to dive nearly every piece of gear the Navy owns.

Did you know Quick Six is a series? Read our previous features: