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GE Aviation’s Quick Six with Eric Ridder

March 19, 2018
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 our next installment of Quick Six, The Bike Shop sat down with Eric Ridder, a cyber security operations director at GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

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

I joined the Cyber Security team at GE Aviation five years ago and have been in my current position as the Director of Cyber Security Operations for just over two years. My team is responsible for our Cyber intelligence, Detect/Incident Response, and Data Security programs.  We focus on understanding our adversaries’ tactics and operationalizing tooling to detect and prevent threats, while mitigating and reducing the risk related to external and insider threats with a focus on intellectual property protection.

Eric Ridder, left, and colleague Gordon Meyers, right, recently received the CSO50 Award, recognizing individuals that are demonstrating world-class security practices.

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

Growing up, I heard many stories from family and friends about their GE experiences and, through that, developed a lot of respect for GE’s culture. From a very young age, I had an admiration for those that worked in the aviation industry and was fascinated with air travel. As a result, I decided to focus my career aspirations on a job at GE Aviation.  I came in to GE through the co-op program, was hired full-time into its Digital Technology Leadership Program (DTLP), and after graduating from the program, began working in the Engineering Tools Center of Excellence (CoE). At the time, I had responsibility for the Design Review, Design Practice, and Design Record Book applications, focused on implementing new security models to improve the efficiency of the applications and their processes. That experience ignited my interest in the cyber security field and led me to be considered as a candidate for my previous role as Aviation Data Security leader, where I spent three years focused on data loss prevention and data protection capabilities.

What motivates or inspires you to work hard?

The customers that rely on our engines to get them home safely and the many people who are part of this company who take so much pride in their work.

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

Don’t be afraid of failure, and be willing to take the hard project or job. That is advice that a GE mentor gave me that has been incredibly beneficial in my own personal development. It has led to unexpected experiences that have helped me to solve problems I would have been otherwise unprepared to solve.

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

The GE90. It was the first engine I was face-to-face with at GE and I was overwhelmed by the sheer size and technology packed into such an impressive product.

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

I have played the drums for about 18 years and recorded an album with my college band in Phoenix, AZ.

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.