With all the discussion about the now seemingly uncertain future for Renton and its role on the re-engined 737, set off by comments yesterday from the company's CEO, it's important to note how the line achieved the status of "one of the great aerospace factories in the world." The credit, in large measure goes to Carolyn Corvi, who until 2008 was Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of Airplane Programs.
Corvi played an integral role in the company's lean transition, implementing the moving lines first on the 737 and later the 777. The 50% cut in 737 flow time that resulted has laid the groundwork for the company's plans today to advance to 42 airplanes per month in 2014.
Corvi was instrumental in Boeing's path toward continuous production improvement, earning her the title The Queen of Lean fostering its adoption at all levels inside the company.
In October, Corvi will be awarded the Museum of Flight's Pathfinder award, recognizing those with connections to the Pacific Northwest who have made significant contributions to the development of aerospace. Past honorees include Joe Sutter, T.A. Wilson, Bill Allen, Scott Crossfield and Tex Johnston.
Corvi joined Boeing in 1974 holding a variety of leadership positions, eventually serving as vice president and general manager of the 737 program in 2000, and later in 2002 combined general manager and vice president of the 757 program. In 2005, Corvi was appointed vice president of commercial airplane production, where she served until her retirement at the end of 2008 when she was followed by then-787 program vice president and general manager, Pat Shanahan.
After leaving Boeing, Corvi was elected to the Goodich board of directors in June 2009 and later Continental (now United Airlines) board of directors in December 2009 and now serves as Drector of Virginia Mason Medical Center where she is the chairman of the Medical Center and Health System. In short, Corvi transitioned from brining lean techniques and continuous improvement from aircraft production to heath care. The result was Virginia Mason being named the top hospital of the decade by the Leapfrog Group.