We are the limits we overcome
Engineering Recognition Day 2021 has also been the opportunity to look ahead at the next challenges and opportunities in a time of global change, and even more…
“You are all the limitations you overcome”: these are the words that close the video with Rachele Somaschini, the professional rally driver with cystic fibrosis who was Avio Aero’s special guest at Engineering Recognition Day 2021. The ERDs are GE Aviation’s annual, worldwide fair dedicated to the innovative minds that bring the best aviation products to life. It is with these words from Rachele that we would like to begin today’s story.
Let’s start from the beginning: the day - being celebrated this year in April as usual, after the last edition was postponed to the end of the year due to the outbreak of the global emergency – has been dedicated to a wrap-up of the year 2020 and to reward the outstanding results by Avio Aero engineers. As it was impossible to gather over 650 Avio Aero engineers in the same place and we did not want to miss the special, annual occasion, the 2021 ERD was held virtually.
The event began with a brief introduction by CEO Riccardo Procacci, who wanted to greet the entire engineering team gathered for the celebration, underlining how much their contribution and passion are important and fundamental for all Avio Aero. Then followed a brief by Giorgio Abrate – the Avio Aero Engineering General Manager - who summarized the Avio Aero Engineering work plan of 2021 and illustrated the new engineering management system based on the principles of the LEAN approach.
Then came the turn of Christian Ferrari, Engineering Operation, Quality & Compliance Leader at Avio Aero, who introduced the event and the award categories. He underlined how much “It is an honor to play the role of ‘host’ for this event. This year, in particular, it has not been easy to examine the list of award contenders and select - together with the leadership team - the winners for several nominations: Best Young Engineer, Materials & Manufacturing, Customer Value Creation, Tools & Process Excellence, Technical Mentoring, and Science & Technology.”
The 2021 edition of the ERD also had a common thread, highlighted in the title of the event: Rising together. The culmination of this message was a video interview with Rachele Somaschini shown to spectators in the middle of the award ceremony. In her speech, Rachele wanted to tell us what it means to be an athlete with an extremely common but insidious, invisible disease. “To those who have no idea what cystic fibrosis is, I always say that to try to understand it you have to think what it would be like to breathe through a straw. That’s the feeling a patient gets when cystic fibrosis attacks their lungs.”
Rachele, who competes in a sport that still sees few women taking part, wanted to highlight that “being a woman or a man in a context such as motor racing makes no difference. Once you put on your helmet, the only enemy to beat is time and only with determination and training is it possible to win.”
A strong testimony from a young professional who did not have a carefree childhood. “As a child, I always had the feeling that I never had enough time to do everything and, if we consider that today the average life expectancy of a person with my pathology is 40 years, you can well understand why I work daily to raise funds: research means hope for the future.”
Rachele impresses with her great maturity, grit, and determination. When she came to the end of her talk, she did so with a phrase that is extremely meaningful to her. The words come from her friend Angelica, with whom she shared part of her experience and who unfortunately lost her battle with the disease: “You are all the limitations you overcome”.
This phrase is one that the two young women used to repeat to each other during their time in hospital or while they were travelling around the world. “I have it tattooed on my body and it’s written on my car: it helps me start each new day with the right enthusiasm.”
At this point we just have to thank Rachele for her words, for her beautiful smile of a determined and strong girl, for what she managed to convey to us. And thanks also to Silvia, Michael, Gilberto, Cosimo, Marco, Salvatore, Dario, Jaroslaw, Simone, Gianni and Valerio - the winners of this ERD 2021 - for their commitment and long to always surpass you and achieve important results together. And again, as Giorgio underlined in his final speech, thanks to all colleagues for their daily commitment and dedication but also "for being all unique and diverse ... because we like diversities, and it is also thanks to our ability to welcome and enhance them that we are ready to achieve important results, together ".
So ... see you at the next ERD!