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.
Marie-Christine Caron, Senior Operations Manager at the GE Bromont, Quebec, site, was named to SME’s list of 20 women making their mark in robotics and automation in 2020. Last year, she served as the Senior Engineering Section Manager for the Global Robotics and Automation R&D Center. Since then, she’s transitioned to a new role but continues to act as a guide and mentor to the team.
Could you share a little bit about your experience as the Engineering Section Manager for the Global Robotics and Automation R&D Center?
In my previous role, I served as the link between the value sites, value streams and the technology to help resolve and eliminate the constraints the manufacturing sites were experiencing. My priorities were really understanding the reality of what’s occurring on the manufacturing floor, recognizing the constraints, and identifying the technologies that can help resolve, solve, and eliminate these constraints.
This team is the center of excellence for robotics and automation for all supply chain of GE Aviation. They are the references and guides that the sites can turn to for opportunities to improve quality, productivity, and safety through automation and robotics.
How did you become interested in Robotics and Automation?
I joined GE Aviation seven years ago from another technology company, so I was very technologically savvy. I joined GE on the manufacturing side but, within a year, an opening became available in robotics. I felt I was really missing that piece in my daily activities — it was the best of both worlds. I’m an engineer by design and the technology fascinates me. My passion for the people, technology, leadership, and my team was all combined within the role. I had the opportunity to travel to almost all of the sites and it was interesting to meet all the people, see the manufacturing sites, and learn each of their constraints. I also visited many universities to help hire the next generation of leaders. We’re now involved with many universities to help develop programs to teach and guide students into becoming engineers at GE. Now, moving into a leadership position, it’s interesting because I can now focus on the strategy and innovation of the technologies.
How does it feel to be named one of the 20 women making their mark in robotics and automation?
It was very humbling and flattering and I am so proud of my team. I never think of myself as “a woman making her way in.” I just do my job and do what I enjoy, be there for my team, and make an impact on the company. That’s my primary focus.
Being recognized for this shows that ordinary people can do it. It’s also recognition for my team. I don’t do anything by myself, it’s the team’s success that’s making my success in the end.
What’s the most interesting technology you worked on while in the role?
All of the technologies involving surface defects, precise material removal, were really breakthroughs that brought a lot of different people and backgrounds together to solve the problems as one team. The most exciting aspect for me is when you see a large group of employees coming together to solve one issue. No one understands the entirety of the problem, so you need several minds working together to solve it. It’s powerful to see the collaboration and the learning that takes place.
When you can solve something that people said would be almost impossible to do, that is powerful. The engineering, the technology, and the collaboration to problem solve is the most impactful to me.
What do you envision for the future of robotics and automation?
The future lies in adaptability and understanding of what’s to be done to the technology to match the intelligence of what the human brain understands. It’s about developing smart and adaptable systems that will solve a lot of constraints that our manufacturing sites experience.
What is one thing you would want employees to know about the work being done at the Bromont site?
The employees at the Bromont site are problem solving champions. There is such a diverse skillset at the site. The site is divided into four sections: A manufacturing section, the automation and robotics team, test systems engineering and the Lean lab. The diverse skills and background make the team great at solving problems and finding innovative solution.
Want to know more about the robotics and automation team? Contact [email protected].
SME is a nonprofit association of professionals, educators and students committed to promoting and supporting the manufacturing industry. SME helps manufacturers innovate, grow and prosper by promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and connecting the manufacturing industry.