You don’t have to fly an airplane to be a pilot. Just ask Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, where she is in charge of the company’s 787 Dreamliner production operations and facilities.
“Be a pilot,” says Wyse. “By that, I mean chart your own course, don’t be afraid to try new things, whether it’s a new approach to a challenge or a new challenge all together.”
Her primary mission at Boeing SC is to ramp up aircraft production. The first South Carolina-built 787-8 was delivered in 2012, and last month the company delivered its first of the larger 787-9 aircraft.
“We have a tremendous team here that takes a lot of pride in what they do every day,” says Wyse, noting that the workers at Boeing SC have increased production rate on a widebody airplane faster than any site in the company. “The best answer isn’t always ‘more people’ or ‘more hours.” Rather, it’s from greater efficiency and production teams empowered to find better, safer, faster and more effective ways to accomplish the job, according to the Boeing exec.
Prior to her leadership at Boeing SC, she served as VP and general manager of the 737 Next Generation family and for 767 programs in Washington State. Wyse, who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA, has been with Boeing since 1985. Her husband is also a Boeing engineer.
She is known for her inclusive style of management which has been beneficial as Wyse adapted to the non-union workforce in the South Carolina facility as compared to the union workforce at Boeing facilities in Seattle and Renton – a paradigm not without its challenges and controversy. The IAM machinists union has been attempting to organize the South Carolina workers.
“It might sound cliché, but everything begins with people. If we are fair with each other, hold each other and ourselves accountable for the commitments we’ve made to our teammates, our company and our customers, and look out for ourselves and our teammates with respect to safety, then our business success will naturally follow suit,” says Wyse.
She believes in clear and open communication at all levels, ensuring that everyone has a voice and understands the goals as well as the strategic plan for meeting them.
The languid, low country lifestyle of South Carolina near Charleston can be a steep contrast to the Pacific Northwest and the Puget Sound area. But rather than focus on the differences, she prefers to focus on the similarities.
“Both are coastal communities, steeped in history and culture. Residents of both are proud to call them home and are equally proud to show off the places they call home to the many tourists that visit each year,” notes Wyse.
Her advice for young people considering a career reflects her own experience at Boeing. “Don’t be limited by what others say you can and can’t do, or what others have done before you. Always find new ways to challenge yourself, and set goals for yourself. Be a leader by deed and by service, act with integrity, and always do what’s right.”