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Nicole Piasecki.
Nicole Piasecki, vice president and general manager of the Propulsion Systems Division at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. (Image via Boeing)

Nicole Piasecki has been close to aviation her whole life. Not only is she a high-ranking executive at Boeing, but her father, inventor of the big twin-rotor helicopter, inspired her passion for the industry, according to her alma mater’s publication, Wharton Magazine.

Piasecki is the vice president and general manager of the Propulsion Systems Division at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. We caught up with her for this installment of our Working Geek feature. Continue reading for her answers to our questionnaire.

What’s your job? I oversee a team that’s responsible for designing and developing an integrated propulsion system for all Boeing commercial airplanes. We design and build the nacelle and integrate it onto the wing. We work with engine companies to define requirements and integrate their power plants onto the airplane to get the best efficiency and environmental performance required for the airlines’ mission.

Boeing 777X
Boeing 777X

My team also designs the fuel system, including the world’s highest-throughput fuel system for inflight re-fueling from the 767-modified KC-46 Tanker (1,200 gallons/minute). They’re also designing the world’s largest nacelle (for the 777X airplane).

We support delivery of about 750 airplanes a year and provide world-class customer support for another 12,000 aircraft in service around the globe.

Current location: In the air…Bellevue…with regular visits to our sites in Everett, Renton, Tukwila and North Charleston, S.C.

Computer types: Dell laptop.

Mobile devices: BlackBerry and iPad.

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: I’d drown in emails without Outlook. Open Table also comes in very handy when I get hungry on the road.

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? On an airplane … because I love to fly! My aisle seat at 35,000 feet is decidedly more peaceful than my standing desk — I get more thinking done up there.

Piasecki's office — when she's not flying.
Piasecki’s office — when she’s not in the air. (Image via Boeing.)

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? Surround yourself with people you trust and who have the strengths you lack. I’m very blessed to have a network of people who prop me up and allow me to devote my all to my family and work. Also, stay healthy and meditate to clear your mind.

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? Texts and e-mail rule in my world.

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? 136, but that’s about to change as soon as I board this flight.

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? Too, too many.

How do you run meetings? Collaboratively, but succinctly. I see value in bringing people together and having robust and productive dialogue.

Everyday work uniform? Usually business casual with bursts of color. My mother — a woman of grace, beauty, style and dignity — gives me her designer hand-me-downs.

How do you make time for family? Bring them with me when I can and reserve weekends for them and them only!

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? Exercise. It may be cliché, but I’ve been an avid sportsman all my life. It’s how I release, and gather, energy.

What are you listening to? A boarding announcement.

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? WSJ is still my go-to source for news. NPR is also helpful for the amount of time I’m on the road between Everett, Bellevue and Renton.

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man’s Fight for Justice” by Bill Browder.

Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? Both. It’s a gift or a curse, but I don’t require a lot of sleep and I rarely need an alarm clock.

Where do you get your best ideas? From the inspiring people around me. I thrive on input.

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? Alan Mulally (former president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Ford Motor Co.). He promotes working together, drives performance and accountability, demands transparency, and likes to have fun.

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