Richard (Rick) Stephens, senior vice president for human resources and administration, the Boeing Company.

is that our youngsters grow up in the digital world and they are less and less interested and less and less adept at having real human contact and interaction. I think that’s a key challenge we face.”

Finally, Boeing needs engineers who will pursue new knowledge throughout their careers. This drive starts from an early age. Stephens told the story of a chief engineer at Boeing whose father hung a model of an F-15 from his ceiling when he was a child, and he started becoming an engineer as he wondered what it would be like to build airplanes like the F-15. Similarly, many engineers who are nearing the end of their careers were inspired as students by the challenge of Sputnik and reclaiming the American lead in aerospace.

Producing engineers with these traits will require providing students with role models and mentors to help them through the first few years.

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