INWED20: a leading edge career at Boeing

Website 2 Sisters in STEM asked Anne McIlveen about how she got started at Boeing and where it has taken her so far.

Anne McIlveen, Boeing Field Services Engineer

Tell us about your current job
Anne McIlveen – I am a Boeing Field Services Engineer, working to provide around the clock support for all of Boeing’s customers who operate the C-17 Globemaster III military cargo transport aircraft.

INWED20 challenges female engineers to Shape the World

Who/What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
When I was little I didn’t know what I wanted to do, in fact I don’t think I even knew what a professional engineer was until I was 17. However, I was lucky enough to receive some very good advice; “pick a thing/subject you love, if you love something it’s much easier to spend time getting good at it.” As a result I just kept pursuing the subjects in school that I enjoyed.

How did you get to where you are today?
Whilst studying for my A-levels (Maths, Physics, and History) I was fortunate enough to be able to do a week of work experience in Bombardier Aerospace Belfast. After climbing over a Tucano fatigue specimen aircraft and learning about Non-destructive Testing techniques and composite materials I knew aerospace engineering was for me. During the summer of my second year at university I managed to secure a summer internship with the Boeing engineering team at Royal Air Force Brize Norton supporting the C-17. Almost 5 years later and I’m still there today. Recently I’ve just been awarded C-17 Delegated Engineering Authority, which means I’m now able to release new structural repair procedures for any aircraft in the worldwide C-17 fleet.

What does your typical day look like?
As a Field Engineer I’m based on a military establishment. My day often starts by discussing the flying programme and which aircraft the Customer needs engineering assistance with. After that my days can vary a lot. Sometimes I spend most of the day at the desk designing a new repair, and answering a variety of technical queries, whilst others can be spent on the aircraft investigating and helping solve problems.  As the C-17 plays such a vital role in national defence, it’s important that our customers can get around-the-clock technical assistance. This means that every few weeks I also provide 24/7 on-call engineering support.

What are your career highlights so far?
Last year I was lucky enough to spend 3 months in California working with our head office stress analysis department. Whilst there I got to attend the annual Women in Aviation Conference, which was a fantastic experience. Although it’s pretty hard to top that, anytime I’ve been able to help our customers fix an aircraft and fly an important mission has been pretty cool. For example, at the moment we’ve been doing lots of flights to supply PPE for COVID-19 relief efforts.

What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy doing lots of sport – swimming, cycling, running and stand-up paddle boarding. The more time I can spend outdoors the better!

International Women in Engineering Day – June 23 – is an awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focuses attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. It also celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world. The event is organised by The Women’s Engineering Society. This year’s theme is #ShapeTheWorld #INWED20