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A little over three years ago, my wife and I became the happy parents of twins – Mara and Nolan. So there we were, both well entrenched in cutting-edge careers, now as new parents and with a new baby…times two!
My work in GE Aviation is both challenging and rewarding. I lead a group of engineers and researchers whose sole purpose is to create new technologies to improve air travel. Right now, we are working on CMCs (ceramic matrix composite) for jet engines; a material that is one-third the weight of metal, heat-resistant up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit and doesn’t require air cooling. It will make planes much more fuel efficient and potentially increase aircraft range by over 10%. My wife, Heather, is a researcher and professor in the Biomechanical-Materials Engineering Departments at Ohio State University, a 75 minute drive from our home. Right now she is doing life-saving work with Shriner’s and Children’s Hospitals in Cincinnati, developing new synthetic skin to aid seriously burned children.
Needless to say, I am a big fan of GE’s new permissive approach to paid time off for salaried employees in the United States! It has simplified and improved our lives tremendously. When you have young twins, the unexpected can pop-up at any time and my wife seemed to always bear the burden of emergencies or unplanned events. The flexibility of the permissive approach allows me to be there for my family whenever something comes up and relieve the stress my wife often puts upon herself as a mother. I am so grateful I now feel empowered to take the time away that I need, both unplanned and planned, without feeling the stress of always “having to be there.” Of course, I always coordinate with my manager. Permissive time just adds another tool to the toolkit. It is great knowing that we are not being measured on the amount of time we are at work or not, but rather on delivering on our priorities.
The Permissive Approach to Paid Time-off benefits more than just my family. My team works hard every day and I stress the importance of time away to them too. Now they feel empowered to take time-off to tend to their personal matters or simply to recharge. The team (and their families) have been excited with the additional lever that they control to help balance life and work.
As a matter of fact, I seem to be learning how to take time-off to recharge too, which hasn’t gone unnoticed. As Heather said to me recently, “It’s great to have my partner back.”

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