Every day, we rely on a dizzying array of ingenious machines that keep our homes warm and lit, fly us from continent to continent, and, sometimes, help keep us alive. Yet we give little thought to how they work and who built them.
That’s the main theme of a trio of GE ads the company launched during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Sunday.
The ads feature GE products — an incubator, a jet engine, and a power generator for a remote village that had never had electricity — and focus on how this technology transforms life, individually and collectively.
GE Reports went looking for the GE employees who built these technologies — and discovered two who’d not only helped shape the products but also experienced them on a more personal level. Muge Pirtini is a lead system designer at GE Healthcare’s maternal and infant care unit. Pirtini helped design the Giraffe OmniBed Carestation, a system that does double duty as an incubator and radiant warmer. Months later, her daughter was born prematurely and spent time in the Giraffe Warmer – growing in strength and size. “I had visited the same NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] several times for business purposes and saw babies with all the cables,” she recalls. “It was always heartbreaking. But this time, it was not a business visit. It was for my own child.”
Pirtini’s daughter spent four days in the unit before she was discharged. “During that time, I was the designer of these products, but I was also one of the parents,” she says. “I know how important these products are for the babies as well as for parents.”
In 2016, Pirtini’s colleague Ricky Buch, who works as senior strategy leader at GE Power, helped organize a trip to bring electricity to Rakuru, a 700-year-old Indian village perched high in the Himalayan mountains. The eight-member GE expedition gathered in the medieval mountain city of Leh and spent the next several days hiking to Rakuru, with solar panels and other gear strapped to a small caravan of donkeys. The mission was cold and treacherous, but deeply rewarding to the team in the end. “People want to be working on significant things that leave a lasting impact,” Buch says. “We tapped into that desire.”
Top image: Ricky Buch, who works as senior strategy leader at GE Power, helped organize a trip to bring electricity to Rakuru, a 700-year-old Indian village perched high in the Himalayan mountains. Image credit: GE Power.