Tom Prete Speaks at NSBE Convention

BOSTON - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tom Prete, vice president, Engineering, Pratt & Whitney, spoke at the opening session of the 42nd Annual Convention of the National Society of Black Engineers in Boston. United Technologies Corp. sponsored the opening session at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Full text remarks, as prepared for delivery

Thank you Dr. Reid for the invitation to be here tonight and the kind introduction. I'd also like to thank Neville Green, Mary McWilliams and Paula McCall for making tonight possible.

I'm truly honored to be a part of this year's Convention and represent United Technologies, who has partnered with NSBE for more than 20 years, and has sponsored this opening session each year since 2002.

We're proud of our partnership with NSBE – which for us is a source of exceptional engineering talent.

So there are about 4,500 people here tonight, and for me – being surrounded by engineers and students who are passionate about engineering – it doesn't get any better than this.

You are truly the innovation leaders of tomorrow.

I'm excited to be here, not only because I get to spend time with young, enthusiastic and driven engineers – believe it or not, I used to be one myself!

But also because I can talk to you about the impact that you can have as engineer, if you're up to the challenge, at United Technologies.

Tonight I'll tell you a little bit about United Technologies: who we are, what we do and how our people and innovations are moving the world forward.

Then I'm going to dive into more detail about my part of the business, Pratt & Whitney, and talk about our incredible engineering feats we're accomplishing every day.

I hope you come away from tonight's event with a better understanding of opportunities at United Technologies – and a feeling of excitement about the future … your future.

So, who is United Technologies? Let's take a look (at this video) …

As you can see, United Technologies is focused on tackling some of the world's biggest problems.

We are a Fortune 50 company that designs and manufactures products that keep people safe, comfortable, productive and on the move.

As our name suggests, United Technologies revolves around technology. That's what makes me so excited to come to work every day.

While the name "United Technologies" may not be widely known, our products and services touch millions of people every single day.

At Pratt & Whitney, we make the best jet engines in the world. We serve more than 11,000 customers worldwide. Our fleet of commercial engines has logged more than 1 billion hours of flight, and we power the world's most advanced fighter jet.

Every second, a Pratt & Whitney powered aircraft takes off or lands somewhere in the world!

Also every second, a commercial flight takes off with UTC Aerospace Systems products onboard – from electric systems and engine components to wheels and brakes, and inflatable emergency slides and rafts … just to name some of the 30+ systems we provide on today's aircraft.

Otis is the world's largest maker of elevators, and its products move the equivalent of the world's population every three days. Otis is known for its presence in landmark buildings – from the world's tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa to the Empire State Building.

In countless buildings, you'll find solutions from UTC Climate, Controls & Security – from HVAC and building controls to fire safety and security from brands like Kidde and Chubb.

And, we help preserve cultural heritage sites, like the Sistine Chapel. Here, Carrier installed a custom HVAC solution to help protect Michelangelo's priceless paintings from carbon dioxide and pollutants brought in by visitors. Intelligent controls and smart cameras help anticipates visitor levels and adjust performance.

And our refrigeration technology cools and preserves perishables for the transport, retail and service industries. Our technologies keep more food fresh than anyone else before it reaches the home refrigerator.

Basically – at UTC – we make modern life possible!

Our President and CEO Greg Hayes recently said that the future of our company is based on two things: innovation and sustainability. I couldn't agree more.

When the economic environment is tough, it would be easy to cut R&D spending to help manage costs … but United Technologies has made a conscious decision not to do that.

In fact, one of our key priorities for this year is investing in innovation, which is critical to our long-term success.

We are building a new, state-of-the-art, Engineering building in Connecticut and a LEED-certified research center where many of our technologies are developed.

At the United Technologies Research Center, our scientists are creating next-generation innovations … helping autonomous flight become a reality and pioneering a game-changing use of natural gas for transportation.

We have made significant investments in our aerospace businesses and will continue to do so.

We also recognize the need for continued investment in our commercial businesses, and plan to increase our R&D investment at Otis by 25 percent this year.

Last year alone, we invested nearly $4 billion in company- and customer-funded research and development.

At the end of the day, though, it's all about our people. What makes our company so strong is our people, and we continually invest in them.

Because our products serve critical functions, they are heavily engineered…they take time, discipline and the collaborative intelligence of a lot of different people from different backgrounds coming together.

Our workforce is nearly 200,000 strong and about 20,000 of us are engineers.

All of our employees share a commitment to making the world a better place to live. We do this through our innovative technologies – and we have unique opportunities for engineering talent.

It's very powerful to see innovation like this in action every day – and it's a source of pride for our engineers around the world.

As you look to your future, know that you have great opportunities ahead. Our world is being shaped by engineering and new technologies – and through your talent and creativity, you can make a difference.

In many ways, the world is getting smaller. The population is growing and people are coming together to live in cities. More than half of the world's population lives in urban centers … that's up from just 30 percent in 1950. By 2050, two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities.

As cities grow and expand, so will the need for more apartment buildings, airports and mass-transit systems – all of which will be equipped with elevators and escalators, climate systems, and fire and security systems.

And these cities are becoming more connected – thanks to the growing demand for air travel.

Only 20 percent of people around the world have ever set foot on an airplane. Well that number is going to grow, especially as the middle class more than doubles to about 60 percent of the global population in 2030.

Clearly, our world is changing … and these global megatrends are going to require innovation and more sustainable products and behaviors.

I'm proud to say that United Technologies is uniquely positioned to meet this challenge through our technology and our processes.

We've developed energy-efficient solutions for green buildings that can change how cities urbanize. For example, Otis has an elevator the can run on solar power, using less electricity than it takes to power a microwave or hair dryer. Chillers from Carrier offer increased efficiencies of nearly 70 percent.

As commercial aviation accelerates, our Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems businesses will support the growing demand for air travel.

We have reinvented jet aviation with the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan Engine, the world's most fuel-efficient jet engine. I can't wait to tell you more that engine in a moment …

United Technologies has the capacity to do things on a scale that others simply can't.

None of our success would be possible without our people. Our employees are at the core of all of our innovations and it is something we are very proud of.

Our employees are spread across the world, yet they share talent, commitment and integrity. They are truly differentiators for us.

Across United Technologies, we'll keep working together to find new solutions that move the world forward.

For example, at Pratt & Whitney, that means designing, building and servicing the best engines in the world.

When it comes to our high-technology products – including jet engines – it's crucial to foster a culture that values diversity of thought. For us, inclusion powers innovation.

In today's competitive environment, if you're not getting the ideas and thoughts of everyone in the organization, you're moving backwards.

We have a brief video that speaks Pratt & Whitney's culture. Let's hear from some our employees around the globe …

I'm really excited to tell you about Pratt & Whitney!

Engineering is all about making a positive difference in the world.

I love your theme this year of "Engineering a Cultural Change" – technology truly drives cultural shifts in our industries and our world.

Pratt & Whitney is all about transformation. We've been transforming aviation for 90 years.

But we aren't just a 90-year old company – we are a 21st century aerospace leader with a long legacy and an amazing future.

Part of our success comes from embracing constant change. And our engineering group is really at the heart of that.

It's an exciting time here. We're in the midst of the largest ramp up of new engine production in nearly two decades. And the products we're designing and producing are truly changing the world.

Let me share a few examples …

Our commercial Geared Turbofan engine, or GTF, marks a revolutionary advancement in aircraft engines. It has a game-changing design that results in lower environmental impact and significant fuel savings.

The GTF engine offers a 75 percent reduction in noise footprint compared to today's aircraft.

That means in a surrounding airport community, about half a million fewer people will hear a GTF engine-powered airplane take off, than aircraft with conventional aircraft with engines – at the same airport.

The GTF also provides a 16 percent reduction in engine fuel burn, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 50 percent. This is equivalent to planting nearly one million trees or taking three million cars off the road every year.

The GTF engine entered in passenger service in January, and met all of its key performance requirements on day one.

The launch of this engine is shaping the commercial aviation industry … it has prompted airlines to re-engine airplanes to take advantage of the GTF's efficiencies and lower environmental impact.

Overall, the GTF will save operators more than $1 million per aircraft, per year.

On the military side, our F135 engine powers the most technologically advanced fighter jet ever produced, the F-35 Lightning II.

The F-35 can take off and land conventionally, operate off an aircraft carrier and even take off and land vertically. I've seen it - it's amazing!

Our F135 engine complements the aircraft's stealth capabilities and produces more 40,000 pounds of maximum thrust.

These engines are the latest in a long line of revolutionary products we've made during our 90-year history. These innovations would not have been possible without a culture that is open to change.

Things are definitely changing from an engineering perspective. Long gone are the days when engineers stayed at their desks, designing the next-generation engine and then handing it over to manufacturing to be produced.

Today, we're involving our engineers in the manufacturing process like never before – both within Pratt & Whitney and at our suppliers around the world.

Engineers have become much more "hands-on" – talking to machine operators about what it's like to manufacture our products and then using that information to improved designs and make our engines that much better.

Today's engineers across United Technologies have the ability to change the world – by being involved throughout the entire value stream producing the most technologically advanced and sustainable products.

One of the great things about United Technologies is that, as an engineer, you don't have to leave the company for growth opportunities. Our range of products – from jet engines to elevators to air conditioners – and our global reach allows employees to pursue any challenge and truly make a difference.

United Technologies has a strong culture that encourages lifelong learning. Our Employee Scholar Program is an example of this culture in action. It is one of the most comprehensive company-sponsored employee education programs in the world.

It gives employees the opportunity to expand their knowledge and learn new skills to remain competitive – covering all costs, including tuition and fees.

We recognize that our future success is dependent on the development and advancement of all employees. Since 1996, employees across 50 countries have earned more than 37,000 college degrees at a cost of nearly $1.2 billion. We consider it one of our most important investments.

Across United Technologies, our engineers power the future and help change the world.

I have one final video to share with you tonight, highlighting our incredible engineering talent across UTC …

As you can see, our engineers are excited and passionate about their work.

Many of the engineers you just saw in the video are here, as part of the United Technologies' 95-member recruiting team.

I hope you'll seek them out at the Career Fair over the next two days to hear more about their passion for engineering and United Technologies.

I stress a "career" fair, not a "job" fair. A career is so much more than just a job.

I have a career at Pratt & Whitney because of my passion for our products and my service to the customer. I know that what I do in my career makes a difference in the world – connecting families that have never flown before, or protecting our freedom.

I hope you have just as much excitement about your career path. As an engineer, the world is truly wide open to you.

At United Technologies, we work to create solutions every day…but there are still challenges to be solved all over the world. And that's where you come in.

You have the power to make an indelible mark … in your communities, your workplace and the broader world.

Gandhi said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." You don't know yourself as a person until you've touched those who have less than you.

As an engineer, you can achieve that level of service through the products and services you provide that advance mankind. You can also look outside of work to offer your tremendous talents to helping solve the world's social and economic issues through organizations like Engineers Without Borders or by getting involved in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering & Math – activities in your community.

John F. Kennedy once said, "For of those to whom much is given, much is required." All 4,500 engineers in this room have been blessed with a gift.

Solving challenges takes leadership, teamwork and inspiration. And it takes the talent and unique perspectives of engineers just like you. Are you up to the challenge? How are you going to answer the call?

United Technologies is here to help recruit the brightest minds and top engineering talent. So I hope you come and talk to us at Booth 319.

Wherever your path leads, I am confident that you are up to challenges ahead.

Congratulations on all that you've done so far, and all that you will accomplish.

Thank you for your time tonight, and enjoy the convention!