Stacy Sire, CE 96, loves her job as director of structures engineering at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Over 23 years, she has risen through the ranks at Boeing Commercial Airplanes and achieved a lot as both an engineer and an executive. But she’s quick to credit her mentors, role models, peers and professors for helping her succeed along the way.
When it comes to leadership, Bill Higginbotham, CE 76, has learned many valuable lessons from the 13 businesses he’s founded over the course of his long and successful career. Actually, that number only includes his “real” businesses—in geotechnical consulting, energy and environmental management, construction, venture capital and more. But Higginbotham is a natural entrepreneur who has started businesses over the course of his life doing everything from cleaning pools to landscaping to buying and selling vintage sports cars.
In three decades of leadership, John Huff, CE 68, has helped Oceaneering International Inc. become the premier organization in underwater technologies. He grew the business from a small diving company to a highly successful corporation with pioneering technologies that have been used to explore deep ocean basins and outer space. He has achieved a lot in the business world, and he says that understanding people is a key to leadership and success.
Leadership is complicated — “squishy,” even — but the principles are simple, according to the fall 2017 Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Speaker. The hard part is applying those principles effectively.
Suzanne Shank still keeps two textbooks on her bookshelf from her days as a civil engineering undergrad at Georgia Tech. From her classes on differential equations and mechanics of deformable bodies, those two books remind her of a key lesson she learned in those days: “I was much stronger when I reached out and relied on the support of my peers. I realized I could only go so far on my own.”
Emmy Montanye brought practical advice by the bucket-load to the Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Speaker Series Sept. 20. She used lessons from her experiences to offer students a guide to turning their engineering education into a fruitful career, sharing what she called five “buckets” of skills she’s picked up through her career paired with a practical example. Ultimately, they all came down to one thing: relationships.
Luck seems antithetical to engineering. There are no equations, statistics or models for luck — there is no control. But to Wick Moorman, BSCE 1975, the recently retired chairman and CEO of railroad company Norfolk Southern, luck matters. It has, he insists, been a central force of his career.