Peg Billson, vice-president, engineering, technology and programme management, Honeywell Aerospace and Honeywell Engines Systems and Services. She has a staff of 1,200 people, working on business worth

$400 million.

Q: How did you get into aerospace?

A: When I was very young, around four or five years old, my uncle took me for a flight in his Skymaster. That stuck with me until I was 14, when Dad asked me what I wanted to be and I said I wanted to work in aviation. It's been my singular focus since then. I'm very fortunate - I know now that it's an unusual thing to know so early. I still co-own a Piper Archer, but now I just enjoy flying as a hobby. My 10-year-old son has started flying with me and I think I've got him hooked.

Q: What was your best professional decision?

A: One of the best career moves I ever made was to get Bachelors and Masters degrees in aerospace engineering - it gave me depths of knowledge and credibility that I think really helped me early on. When I graduated I became a quality engineer, then a safety engineer. The challenge of engineering and understanding the depths behind the actual flight interested me greatly.

Q: Any regrets?

A: The regret I've always had is that I've not been able to fly for the industry. I wanted to do military service and fly high-performance aircraft.

Q: Do you think women are becoming better represented in aerospace?

A: I honestly don't notice I'm the only female in a room or a conversation. What I notice is that I am around people with like interests. What is interesting is that there have been times when I have sat and reflected with pride that I am in a room with only females, where we will be working on and solving an issue - that's happened to me several times in my career.

Q: What advice do you have for people getting into the industry?

A: Spend your energy day in and out in an area you're interested in. You won't do well if it's not your passion. Keep yourself in roles where it matters that you're there and makes the difference between getting the job gets done today or tomorrow. You will be exposed to more exciting things.

Q: What do you find exciting in your job?

A: We're greatly expanding our wheel and brake MRO services business - we've grown 60% in last two years. That includes strengthening our global presence. We're growing our Shanghai facility, for example, and have just signed a long-term agreement with Ryanair to support its fleet.


Source: Flight Daily News