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GE Aviation's Quick Six with Christina Beer

December 14, 2018
In our next installation of Quick Six, we sat down with Christina Beer, Technical Product Owner for the GE Operations Advisor product suite, which is building digital applications for our repair and overhaul shops in the Supply Chain.

What is your role at GE Aviation?

I am a Technical Product Owner for the GE Operations Advisor product suite. GE Operations Advisor provides actionable insights, optimization and predictability across the GE Aviation Supply Chain. It gives visibility to work completed vs. plan and digitizes some of the existing manual processes in the shops.

I own the technical implementation of two of the products in the suite, Repair Operations Advisor and Overhaul Operations Advisor. These tools give insights on the progression of engines in the overhaul shops, and the location and status of parts in the repair network. In my role, I provide the business requirements to the software development teams. I also work directly with the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) teams to gather data required for the analytics and insights in the applications. Finally, I attend site touchpoints to gather feedback on the tools and assist in training and adoption.

What led you to your current role at GE Aviation?

I graduated from the University of Cincinnati and studied Information Systems and Finance. I landed my first internship at GE Aviation after my freshman year. After three co-ops, I landed a full-time position in the Digital Technology Leadership Program (DTLP).

During my time in DTLP, I completed four rotations and gained unique experiences in each of them. My first rotation was a data management project on the IT compliance team. My second rotation was in the original Digital League. I was on a team of six DTLPs that created the foundation of the data lake and ingested the first 20 sources of data. My third rotation was on the commercial side, where I worked on a contracts project. This was one of my favorite experiences as a DTLP because I lived and worked in Dubai for three months. My final DTLP rotation was in Brilliant Factory, which transformed into my current role. Each of these rotations built on each other and prepared me to be a successful Technical Product Owner. I’ve been in my current role for about a year and four monthsenjoyed every minute of it.

What made you decide to pursue a technology career?

My mom has had a successful career in IT, and I have always looked up to her. Growing up, I remember her describing the cool projects she was working on, and it originally sparked my interest in technology. In high school, I took various math, science, and intro to engineering classes. When I was deciding on a university, I was looking for a strong Computer Science or Information Systems program. An honors program, scholarship, and the opportunity to co-op landed me at the University of Cincinnati. I’ve stayed in technology because I enjoy being in a fast-paced environment that is creative and challenging.

What is your motivation for coming to work every day?

One of my biggest motivations for coming to work every day is the people I work with. I have the pleasure of working with a very fun and vibrant team. I get to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, so I’m constantly learning something new. Outside of my team, I’m also surrounded by a very supportive community, especially women in technology.

Another motivation I have for coming to work every day is how passionate I am about the changes we are driving in the Ops Advisor space. There are a lot of manual time-consuming processes for tracking our engines and the parts in the repair shops. We work with complex datasets from the ERPs as well as bringing a digital culture change to the shops. It’s a challenging opportunity that keeps me up at night but also gets me to work every day.

What are some accomplishments you have made here at GE Aviation that you’re proud of?

From a project perspective, my biggest accomplishment happened earlier this year where my team ended up winning an award for a new software product development. Back in January 2018, we were tasked with creating a digital tool for the overhaul space. We received the project assignment in the third week of January and were tasked with getting out an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) in one month. The most difficult part of it all was trying to feed in the data. My role in this project was setting the strategy for the MVP, getting the requirements to the developers, and working to help them understand the business processes. After many long nights and a huge team effort, we delivered the MVP in one month. Although it was not perfect, it gave the visualization and the foundation required, and has been a big success so far.

Another accomplishment I’m proud of and had the privilege of experiencing was traveling to Malawi, Africa in August 2016 for a buildOn trek. Our 14-person team of DTLPs raised $75,000 to build a school in the Chiundria village. In the week we were there, and with the help of the community, we completed the foundation of a two room school. Once the project was finished, 300 students had easier access to education. It was an incredible experience, and one that I will never forget.

On a more personal note, I would say I’m also proud to lead the digital recruiting team for UC. We have a fantastic retention rate with our interns and bring in some of the best UC students into full-time roles. I find a lot of pride in the recruiting space because I get to be a part of bringing in the future leaders of GE.

What advice would you give to new folks coming into GE Aviation?

The number one thing that people tend to forget is the importance of continually building your network. Building your network doesn’t end after you meet a certain amount of people. It is continuous engagement and learning that will last your career. The reason I came into GE was due to my college professor sending in my resume. I landed my third internship because I met Jen Flynn, Chief Product Owner, Digital Products, at a networking event at UC. I approached her after the panel and at the end of our conversation she said to me, “If you’re looking for your next internship, come to my team.” I’ve acquired my various roles over the years by having a strong network and staying connected.

The other piece of advice is to try something unique or different, even if that means completely stepping out of your comfort zone. For my second rotation, I preferenced a specific rotation in product management, got placed in that role, but then was told two weeks later I was re-assigned to a very technical role, helping to build the data lake. It was terrifying at first, but not backing down from that challenge and leaning into new opportunities ended up bringing me the most valuable experience I’ve had at GE thus far.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?

I love traveling, both domestically and internationally. Some of my favorite trips have been out west. I visit Colorado at least once or twice a year to ski or hike. I also love traveling internationally, and this past year went to Germany, Austria and Hungary.

When I’m in Cincinnati, you can find me on a sand volleyball court or at an FC Cincinnati game in the spring or summer. In the fall and winter, I’ll be cheering on Bearcats football and basketball, and attending Cincinnati Bengals games.


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

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.