Boeing Internship – STEP reflection
By: Danny Chehade
Over the past 3 months, I had an opportunity to move to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to work with Boeing. My work was primarily focused in the supply chain to assist in the sustainment and modification of ASC2 aircrafts.
While living away from my family and friends in OKC, I learned a lot about myself and grew as an individual. Over the course of the summer I lived on my own in an apartment and was responsible for maintain my own personal expenses, buying my own groceries, and the general cleanliness of my living space. Even though I am a social butterfly, I mastered the art of going out to a restaurant and eating alone on Sundays and not feeling awkward! (It’s a slightly rewarding feeling being able to do that!) But more importantly I was able to grow professionally and learn a little bit more about aerospace.
While working at an aerospace giant, I learned the ins and outs of the defense industry. Prior to my experience to Boeing, I was very indifferent towards defense and didn’t believe the need was worth the cost. Over the summer, I gained a better understanding as to why this was the case. I quickly learned that the defense industry is very low margin and highly government regulated which partially explains the very high costs. But while sitting in on the meetings, you learn why there is a need for defense aircrafts, their purpose and impact (and most of Boeing’s defense aircrafts are non-combative). As a result, you start to learn why these aircrafts cost more than your typical airliner for reasons I initially never understood.
Switching directions, going to Oklahoma was initially a slight cultural shock. Being a city boy moving to the “country” caused me mental distress prior to moving. However, I quickly made some friends (other interns and even full-timers) who helped made the transition slightly better. Each weekend we would travel somewhere and do something unique: whether it was going to the river out in the country or traveling 3 hours to pick up a washer and dryer, I was always busy and having fun. At the end of the day, I realized that OKC and Columbus aren’t really that different, with the exception of the 100 degree heat and occasional tornado… haha (ok… they might be different)
During this experience, most importantly I grew as a professional. I was doing real work, interacting with managers and executives, and understanding how to work within a large organization. I was responsible for my own work and running a number of meetings. Boeing really did a fantastic job of allowing me to develop as a professional by offering a number of round-tables to teach us to become better leaders.
I believe that the opportunity provided by Boeing was by far the most valuable work experience I have gained so far. Moving forward, I will take the experiences and relationships I have made to become a better professional. Whether I elect to work at Boeing or somewhere else, this will always be an experience that I will never forget.