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The GE Brief – March 7, 2019

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March 7, 2019


International Women’s Day — tomorrow, March 8 — celebrates women’s advances toward equality around the world, recognizes how much work is left, and encourages young girls that they can do anything they set their minds to. When she was growing up, Amanda Berta knew she wanted to be a “builder,” and as she got older she became particularly interested in engineering and renewable energy: “I am basically a hippie who’s good at math,” she said. So it made sense when Berta ended up working for GE Renewable Energy in Chicago, where she creates digital dashboards that help customers and GE colleagues alike use data to make smarter decisions. And when she’s not at work, Berta has got her own alternative energy outlet to pour herself into: A former elite soccer player, Berta is vying to get on the U.S. women’s rugby team for a chance to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Work hard, play hard: Not long ago, when 23-year-old Berta had the chance to attend a rigorous athletic training camp in California, she thought she’d need to take a leave of absence from her job. But her supervisors had a better idea: Impressed with their young employee’s passion, energy and dedication, they designed a schedule whereby Berta could train with her team for nine hours a day, reserving her nights and early mornings to work remotely on energy’s digital future. This past December, Berta ended up being cut from the rugby team as its coaches rejiggered their roster. But that’s only caused her to train harder to regain her place: When GE Reports caught up with Berta recently, she was chugging a protein shake at 5 a.m. before heading out into the frigid Chicago streets on the way to a rigorous morning workout.

Read more here about the comeback Amanda Berta’s got planned.


Amanda Berta’s dreams of being a builder were formed in her childhood in the New York suburbs. Halfway across the country and a ways south, more young women today are also being encouraged to think big — really big, and tall too. For the past couple summers in New Orleans, a STEM camp for girls organized by Tulane University and GE’s Women’s Network has introduced sixth and seventh graders to the ins and outs of the towering wind turbines that are transforming the world’s energy. The girls learn how renewable energy can fight climate change, and get to build turbines of their own out of sticks, cardboard and glue. The workshops were taught by a pair of young GE engineers from the Technology Center for the Americas, a research facility opened on NASA’s New Orleans campus by LM Wind Power, a unit of GE Renewable Energy where workers develop and test blades for the next generations of wind turbines.

Generational wisdom: Those GE engineers, Claire Stortstrom and Kristen Hanrahan, both followed a similar path, enrolling at Tulane before hiring on with GE. Stortstrom is a test and validation manager, putting turbine blade designs through all manner of unholy trials — one involves an instrument dubbed “the guillotine” — to ensure they’re battle-ready for the real world. Hanrahan works as a manufacturing engineer, helping pick the right process to build a blade. When it comes time to meet the STEM groups, the pair install themselves in an empty office in downtown New Orleans, fielding questions, building confidence and helping engineer the optimal conditions of success for the engineers of tomorrow.

Read more here about the paths Stortstrom and Hanrahan took into the wind business. And if you need to point your kids to more female role models in STEM careers, look no further than GE’s own Vera Silva, chief technology officer for GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business, where she’s helping create the energy grid of the future. Silva is one of a handful of female leaders featured in the new children’s book “Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers,” an illustrated story about women making history that comes out smack in the middle of Women’s History Month. Learn more about the book here, and click here for more about Silva’s path through the energy business.


On March 3, a Bombardier Global 7500 business jet, powered by a pair of GE’s Passport engines, flew from Singapore to Tuscon, Arizona. Covering the 8,152 nautical miles in just over 16 hours, the craft set speed and distance records for a purpose-built business jet, arriving in the Grand Canyon State in style — and with fuel to spare. The Global 7500 is one of Bombardier’s latest large, long-range business jets, able to carry as many as 19 passengers at close to the speed of sound thanks to its sleek, lightweight design and engines, which incorporate futuristic technologies while building on GE’s long expertise in jet engine design.

The business of business engines: GE’s engineers know a thing or two about business jets. In the 1960s, they repurposed the J85 supersonic engine, designed for the military, to help Bill Lear launch the business jet market. The beating heart of the Passport engine is a scaled-down version of the engine core developed for the LEAP, a new engine that powers ultra-efficient single-aisle passenger jets including the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX families. Orders for the LEAP are booming; meanwhile, Bombardier expects to see “significant growth” in business jets in the coming years, with a forecasted 8,300 new deliveries, valued at $250 billion, between 2016 and 2025.

Read more here about the record-setting Global 7500 and the powerful hardware that propels it.


Predictive Technology for Power

This monitoring center uses artificial intelligence to predict problems before they happen.

Posted by GE on Tuesday, January 29, 2019


“Things can change at any time. What seems like the end of the world might be the beginning of a new one.”
— Amanda Berta, GE Renewable Energy


Quote: GE Reports. Image:©20xx Craig Houtz.

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