The engineers and designers who are “inventing the future of flight” gathered at the annual event that honors the most impactful achievements and offers post-contemporary insights.
Engineering Recognition Day (ERD) is the event at which Avio Aero and GE engineers and designers are honored for their brilliant achievements during the previous year, according to specific categories, including: ‘technical mentoring’, ‘young engineer’, and also ‘science and technology excellence’ and ‘materials & manufacturing’. It is a review with awards and nominations. Furthermore, it is a networking and conference event where the more than 750 professionals operating in Europe gathered to celebrate success and look into the challenges of the future.
During the event, the keynote speeches of the 2023 edition by two special guests were heard by all engineering colleagues in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Italy connected together and online: the dean of the Politecnico di Torino, Guido Saracco, and the founder and CEO of X-nano, nanotechnology for the energy transition, Paolo Mutti.
In front of professionals from the Italian, Polish, and Czech Republic offices, the two speakers outlined the profile of the engineer of today and the future: Engineer 2.0. This professional is highly competent, specialized in their discipline, in technical matters, and, in today's ever-changing and unpredictable world, must take a holistic approach to the world around them. This is a professional who also frequently observes and takes on something that may seem most distant from science and technology: the humanistic side of knowledge, which is not often explored in depth in traditional scientific training.
"There is a need to see young engineers addressing problems side by side with psychologists, semiologists, and philologists, combining a variety of professionalism and vocations"
In his speech, dean Saracco emphasized how today's students at the Politecnico have a great opportunity to learn and grow in a way that is different than in the past. This is made possible by courses that have an innovative structure and an increasingly diverse international environment. Tomorrow's engineers must experience a certain contamination from colleagues in the humanities faculties. It is from exchange and diversity that the best solutions and proposals are born.
“This is also how you create your professional growth,” Saracco said, pointing out that there is a need to see young engineers addressing problems side by side with psychologists, semiologists, and philologists, combining a variety of professionals and vocations even within technical teams.
Strengthening the link to companies also remains crucial: today, there are highly complex projects for which companies propose specific issues and require equally specific (as well as innovative) solutions that only so-called inter-functional teams, which include diverse profiles, are able to address, through sharing and debating. These techniques are difficult to express by working as they used to, in watertight compartments.
"A new engineer is needed, one who is ‘like a sponge’, curious, ready to deal with people with backgrounds even different from those of the engineer"
“It was a real pleasure to participate in this Avio Aero event,” said Paolo Mutti of X-nano, “and I really appreciated the opportunity to talk to this large group of engineers about my long professional experience, the successes, and the failures. And to discuss what I think is the real role of the engineer today: to continue to make decisions in very complex situations, always based on the data available. And I was keen to emphasize how professionals very much need to believe in their own means. Their training provides them with a solid foundation from which they can tackle any problem or critical issue, whether of an engineering nature or otherwise.”
Paolo Mutti also wanted to express his appreciation, as shown by many colleagues present, for the speech of the dean of the Politecnico di Torino because “I found Saracco's words about Engineer 2.0 very interesting. The world we live in today is very different from that of just a few years ago. A new engineer is needed, one who is ‘like a sponge’, curious, ready to deal with people with backgrounds even different from those of the engineer. Also, to address new and complex issues such as hydrogen or batteries that we face on a daily basis with our start-up.”
It is worth noting how this 2023 edition of the ERD is back in person after the interlude of the past two years. “It is definitely nice to return to ‘real’ relationships, made up of glances and handshakes. We missed it so much in recent years,” emphasized Stefania Latorre, Engineering Lean Operations & Quality Leader and the heart and soul of the event's organization.
Finally, the traditional presentation of awards to teams or individual colleagues who distinguished themselves in terms of commitment and achievement was well attended. As always, the “funny awards” were very popular. These “new” (informal and lighthearted) awards were presented, following a survey of all Avio Aero engineers, to identify their colleagues in the company who stood out for “fun and singular skills.” Some examples? Those who are “famous” for their tone of voice during meetings or those who break all records for the many (too many?) meetings they organize.
“I want to thank the two very welcome guests who allowed us to talk and look at our role as engineers in perspective, today and in the future, beyond the boundaries of our company. These two speeches were greatly appreciated by all. And, of course, thanks to the colleagues who participated by attending ERD 2023 for this day of celebration and sharing. We are ready to take on the new challenges we face: we have launched many new programs that look to the future of flying. 2023 will be beautiful”, concluded Giorgio Abrate, Engineering General Manager of Avio Aero.