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GE Aviation's Quick Six with Terrance Brand

September 20, 2018
In our next installation of Quick Six, The Bike Shop sat down with Terrance Brand, Staff Engineer for GE Aviation in Hooksett, NH.

A retired Captain in the U.S. Navy with 26 years of combined active duty and reserve service, GE Aviation's Terrance Brand has commanded at several levels in the U.S. Navy Reserve, including major command and four years on the Secretary of the Navy’s Reserve Policy Board. His decorations include multiple Meritorious Service Medals and a Bronze Star. On top of an outstanding military career, Terrance has also provided GE Aviation with extraordinary leadership across numerous channels. A father of one, Terrance was a member of the GE Veteran’s Marine Corps Marathon team for three years and enjoys staying active in his church and community.

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

I’ve been the Hooksett blisk “Engineer-in-the-Shop” since 2013. Previously, I was a manufacturing engineer focused on blisk-related special processes such as Non-Destructive Testing, electro-chemical machining, and shot peen. I still am involved in special processes, but now do more with the various hardware-owning design engineers in supporting cost-out efforts, Material Review Board evaluation, and New Product Introduction (NPI) programs.

Above: Terrance Brand, Staff Engineer for GE Aviation in Hooksett, NH. Top: Terrance with his son Thaddeus.

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

I’ve been in love airplanes and a gear-head since I was a kid. Professionally, I started out as a research engineer while getting my degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  I then served in the Navy as a nuclear submarine officer. My last active duty assignment was as an instructor and shift engineer at the nuclear prototype site in upstate New York (which used to be part of GE). Tom Clancy described that last job as the submariners’ equivalent of being a “Top Gun” instructor. I then started my civilian career with GE, first as Six Sigma Blackbelt at GE Transportation in Erie. That led to locomotive field service operations and Long Term Service Agreement management; which led to me being the start-up site leader for the first GE-built locomotive service facility. I was then recruited to GE Capital’s Fleet Services business as Vice President for Vehicle Acquisitions, essentially leading almost a hundred people in managing the order-build-delivery operations for 4,000 clients’ company cars. I oversaw billions of dollars of transactions and hundreds of car dealership relations. I then came to Aviation. So you could say my career has been “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” but in a different order.

What motivates or inspires you to work hard?

I feel a sense of loyalty and gratitude to the people at GE Hooksett for the support they showed my family and me when I was called up to serve in Iraq back in 2010. We have many people that want to learn more about the engines, how their work contributes to the engines, and the “why” behind their processes, so when I find a teachable moment, I really light up. For the past couple of years my personal work motto has been “to make people feel smarter and more confident in their work for having spent some time with me.”

What has been a lesson you’ve learned while working at GE?

At GE Transportation I pitched to three different CEOs, all of whom went on to run bigger parts of GE. I found something unique to John Rice that I have tried to emulate. In project reviews, John would dive into the details, but then he would take you with him as he took what he learned from you “down in the weeds” and put it in his strategic landscape, and then give you the chance to correct his understanding. He was gracious and showed very little ego.

Do you have any advice for other people?

Someone must pay attention to the details — be that someone! When it comes to people, there is at least two sides to every story, listen to all sides before rushing to judgment. Appreciate the people that anticipate issues and take action before a crisis.

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

The T700, as I've been the "human cargo" riding in Seahawks and Black Hawks over the years. (And I had to recuse myself from discussions with the Iraq Defense Ministry about helicopter engines when I was called up so as not to bias any purchase decisions!)

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.