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 Laurence Vigeant-Langlois, Executive Product Manager and global leader of commercial, product & engineering teams.
Could you give me a brief background on what you do?
I work as the program leader for our engines and integrated propulsions systems on Bombardier aircraft. This includes responsibilities for the new Passport 20 engine, which is powering the world’s largest and fastest purpose-built business jet, the Bombardier Global 7500. I also lead program management for two other older engine models in production, the CF34-8C and the CF34-3, powering Bombardier’s CRJ regional jets and Challenger business jet aircraft, respectively. My team and I are accountable to drive outcomes in terms of cost, cash, program milestones and product support engineering. I also chair cross-functional Passport 20 Program Control Board and Safety Product Management Team, which meets regularly to ensure and prioritize continuous improvement and to correct safety issues for our current and future products.
How did you end up working for GE? Have you always been interested in aviation?
I have always been interested in aviation. When I was younger, I had dreams of becoming a pilot. My dad convinced me engineering was the way to go. That just made me want to do both. I became a flight instructor in gliders at 15 – before I learned to drive. I also studied mechanical and aerospace engineering at McGill University, and then at MIT. I chose to focus on improving humans-and-automation interactions and aviation safety as part of my Masters’ and PhD studies and research at MIT. During grad school, I also had the opportunity to gain operational experience to complement the research I was doing: I worked as a pilot flying Learjets across Mexico, Canada and the United States while working for a small cargo airline. The Learjets I flew were actually GE powered! I joined GE almost five years ago; before that I had a career in a variety of other roles in engineering management, product management and in commercial functions working for several customers of GE Aviation including helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft and leasing company CIT Aerospace (now Avolon).
You mentioned that you used to be a Learjet pilot, do you still fly planes at all?
Yes, I do! After being out of currency for about ten years; I renewed it a few years ago. I am challenged to make the time to keep it up considering other priorities like work, family and trying to stay fit. We own a small twin-engine airplane that my husband flies often and that we use for family trips, in which I serve as instrument safety pilot to get my fix and to help my husband keep up his instrument currency. It is fantastic to be able to travel this way and is a very enjoyable experience.
What inspires you and brings you into work every day?
I am inspired by the products of our business. Our engines are reliable, high-performance air propulsion systems that enable global trade and economic growth. More importantly, I am very energized by the talented people at all levels of our company that I get to work with, and by our positive culture that rewards integrity, accountability and collaboration.
You were heavily involved in the creation of GE additive, could you tell me more about that experience?
I had a chance to join the team that founded GE Additive as a leader for the marketing function, just a few weeks before we launched the new business in November 2016. As part of this launch, we acquired and integrated a couple of companies in Europe: one in Sweden called Arcam and the other in Germany called Concept Laser. We welcomed ~600 people into GE Additive with the integration, and then scaled it up to grow applications, services, sales and impact to help customers in over five industrial sectors capitalize on the benefits of industrial 3D printing.
Very quickly, GE Additive became a leading force in additive manufacturing. It has been an incredible journey and incredible learning; I even had to pull out some of my Materials Science books. It was a fantastic opportunity to join a fast-growing industry that is completely changing aviation in more ways than most people expect. Additive manufacturing is unlocking the ability to do transformational designs that can improve the performance of industrial and medical parts. In addition, it also has the ability to transform supply chains across industrial sectors. Thanks to additive manufacturing, we’re able to integrate parts with ratios of 20:1 and greater, to simplify sourcing and even to in-source some of the capabilities. This can create stronger, closer supplier relationships and improve entitlement on both costs and after-market revenues for those parts. I am grateful to have had a chance to participate in something significant that is changing aerospace forever. For key applications, there is no going back to the old ways now that we’re producing parts that can only be made additively.
What are you involved in, both inside and outside of work?
Since I joined GE, I got pretty actively involved with the Women’s Network. I co-led the Commercial Women’s Group in Cincinnati for a couple of years, and also served on the board of the International Aviation Women’s Association for six years. I recently stepped down from both organizations, but I am still very passionate about their missions and a strong advocate for growing and supporting successful women in our industry.
I currently support the GE relationship with MIT as an executive sponsor, as I am extremely interested in exploring what else MIT and GE can accomplish together. Externally, I also serve on the board of a great local organization called iSPACE – the STEM Learning Space. iSPACE organizes school programs that teach kids about science, engineering, technology, and mathematics in the greater Cincinnati area during the school year, works with underprivileged kids who are interested in the field, and hosts camps over the summer. I am very passionate about STEM, and I am happy to be a part of a great organization that promotes it.
I also love the outdoors and spending time with my family, so I try to combine the two of those as much as possible. I enjoy practicing land, water, snow and air sports and activities with my kids and husband.
Did you know Quick Six is a series? Read our previous features:
- 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
- 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.