Dayton’s GE Aerospace operations: ‘Investing in the future of flight’

GE VP eyes next chapter in company’s storied history

The Dayton area will be a big part in the next chapter of General Electric’s 130-year (and counting) history.

The company has invested north of some $50 million in three area operations in the past two years. And after splitting its power, health care and aerospace divisions, the company can focus on jet engines and aviation in new ways.

Mike Kauffman, vice president of global operations and supply chain for GE Aerospace, is familiar with the Dayton area, having served as managing director of the company’s Unison operations.

What follows is an edited transcript of a new interview with Kauffman, a Springboro native, on Tuesday, a day when GE’s three-way corporate split was officially complete.

Question: What does GE Aerospace’s new independence mean for workers in the Dayton area?

Kauffman: “I think it’s pride. I think it’s the fact that we’re now separate from a conglomerate and we are our own standalone (company), with our proud history in innovation and technology and our position in the industry, again, a source of pride that we’re focused and we stand alone.”

Question: Is the expectation that the new focus will lead to new results?

Kauffman: “I think about it in terms of focused capital allocation, in terms of where we deploy capital. And frankly, I would highlight for Dayton, investing in the future of flight, which is one of the more significant investments we make and will be making as a standalone GE Aerospace. There is in the Dayton area, $19.9 million invested just this year in manufacturing and technology, and then an additional $20 million in the EPISCenter …

“They’re working on advanced castings in the Beavercreek facility, they’re working on the electrification of flight in the EPISCenter, and then in our new facility (in Beaverecreek), in a project named “Flyer,” renews our commitment to the advanced fluid-management systems, tubing systems, that we have.

“Those sites are all working on either our latest technology engines as well as those that are not even yet in market as we work to advance the art of that technology.”

Credit: NYSE

Credit: NYSE

Question: Will this split boost your relationship with the Air Force and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base?

Kauffman: “First the U.S. military is one of our more important customers and we’re working on multiple fronts of the future of combat aviation. I can’t be more specific on that. These are classified programs. But on many fronts, the technology that’s needed for the warfighter, we are working with our military customers to develop that technology.

“We’ve had a great relationship with Wright-Patt, working jointly on things, and again specifically on some work at the EPISCenter, again not appropriate to provide detail on that. But it’s a very close partnership on technology …”

Question: How did GE Aerospace end up with the classic “GE” stock ticker on the New York Stock Exchange? Was that happenstance?

Kauffman: (Laughing) “You know, that’s a question I’d like to have answered.”

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