Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jeff Immelt, C.E.O. of General Electric, Speaks Brilliantly on High Technology Manufacturing

Steve Lohr has a fantastic article in today's New York Times, in the Sunday Business section, on Jeff Immelt, the C.E.O. of General Electric (G.E.).

The article is a must read!

I have had several of my undergrad students go to work for G.E. and some of you may even recall that Jack Welch, Immelt's predecessor, received his undergrad degree from UMass Amherst.

The two and a half page article in the Times emphasizes Immelt's credo, that we must go back to making stuff and not just be focused on financial engineering but actually be producing products and especially high tech products as G.E. is doing from jet engines to medical equipment to locomotives (love it) to energy-related equipment, including power turbines, nuclear plants, and windmills. (Since I am a faculty member in the Department of Finance and Operations Management at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, I can say that I cover "all bases!")

Immelt received an undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics from Dartmouth (one of my majors at Brown University as well) and went on to get his MBA from Harvard. He has always been really good with numbers. Would you believe that G.E is the biggest exporter in the U.S. after Boeing?

Immelt believes that technology-based manufacturing will reinvigorate the economy and he is putting his terrific vision into practice by creating thousands of new jobs.

I have my hardcopy of this article, with a half page photo of Immelt, and will show it to my students tomorrow. I am sure that they will be inspired by his vision and that high-tech manufacturing will be a growth industry and the skills needed to excel in this sector include knowledge of math, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and reading abilities.

Coincidentally, a week ago I had dinner with one of my former students, who is a Ford executive, and he told me that he had recently spoken with Immelt. I am looking forward to our next conversation at which I will certainly bring up Immelt and G.E.!