Highlights included Bill Gostic from Pratt & Whitney and Intel Plant Tour
By Monica Nakamine
July 31, 2003
On-campus and off-campus SDM students reconvened at the SDM Summer ’03 Business Trip, from July 7-11. Keynote speaker Bill Gostic, Director of Systems Design Development for the Joint Strike Fighter at Pratt & Whitney, kicked the week off by speaking to the students about the complexities and processes involving the creation of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). At the end of the week, students had the opportunity to visit Intel where they learned about the company’s unique position in the semiconductor business as well as the processes involved in creating Intel microprocessors.
Bill Gostic – Pratt & Whitney
Since 1979, Bill Gostic has been with Pratt & Whitney in a variety of roles and positions. To date, his current job has been the most challenging – performing multiple balancing acts between the three different versions of the next-generation JSF – the F-35 and its two propulsion systems, the partner companies that are working on specific components for them, the nine countries that are scheduled to purchase the aircraft, and the three levels that the management teams functions at: program, air vehicle, and propulsion system.
"The Pratt & Whitney philosophy emphasizes program management," said Gostic. "The process involves key functions in business management, program management, engineering, manufacturing, and operations. Our philosophy, strategy, and technology allow us to be a pioneer in this industry."
To maintain focus in building the F-35s, which is a 10-year project with a $20 billion budget, the company and its employees adhere to core concepts that they call "program pillars":
"One of the challenges is to integrate multiple nations and companies for a single project and to create common platforms to build off of in order to lower costs," said Gostic. "The multi-national level of the JSF Systems Design Development program requires integration at the global and local levels."
Although the JSF is primarily being developed for and purchased by the U.S. government, international participation is crucial to the sustenance of the program. The United Kingdom is investing $2 billion; Italy, $1 billion; and the list extends to six other countries besides the U.S. These figures add up, bringing domestic spending down. However, allowing foreign countries to contribute to the F-35 also facilitates other benefits: communication, particularly during wartime when familiarity with each other’s aircraft is key, and global economic stimulation.
The business trip commenced with an insightful presentation at Intel’s Hudson, Massachusetts location, approximately one hour outside of Boston. A team of Intel employees welcomed the SDM students and discussed fabrication of microprocessor chips from silicon wafers, the primary function of this facility.
Later, the students were broken down into smaller groups for guided tours through the extensive "cleanroom," where the actual chips are made. The environment for wafer fabrication must be absolutely sterile – 10,000 times cleaner than a hospital operating room. Intel uses air filtration systems to change the air inside the cleanrooms every 10 minutes, reducing the chance of any existing airborne particles that could damage the chips and wafers. Even a single particle of dust can be gargantuan, compared to the microscopic intricacies of an Intel chip, and would affect the proper functioning of the microprocessor.
Employees, and all who enter the cleanroom, must keep themselves sanitary and particle-free by wearing special non-linting, anti-static uniforms called "bunny suits," which are worn over regular clothes and are primarily white. (Technicians who handle copper wear orange bunny suits.) Booties, a hair net, a helmet with an air filter unit, latex gloves, and safety glasses complete the Intel "look."
"The bunny suits were cool," said Ion Chalmers Freeman, an SDM student. "Even better, I learned that the work-in-process is worth far more than the fabrication plant itself, that Intel fabricates the StrongArm chip, and that design projects at Intel get highest priority."
During the rest of the week, students attended educational sessions on Financial and Managerial Accounting, System Engineering, and Operations Management, as well as workshops on Virtual Learning and Negotiations. The students also had some official down-time activities: a bowling social with the LFM ’05 class, a Boston Harbor dinner cruise, and a nine-hole golf scramble.