The Boeing Company
For leadership and clear communication that unifies teams to achieve goals; for dedication as mentor, coach, and role model; and for elevating SWE’s mission and visibility in her workplace.
For Suzanne Waligora, a high school introduction to engineering class ignited a lifelong love of engineering. She recognized an opportunity to create a tremendous impact, and today, she is an engineer with The Boeing Company.
After graduation from the University of Michigan College of Engineering, Waligora began her journey at Boeing as an industrial engineer, where her leadership potential quickly became evident. She soon found herself developing plant schedules, representing the company to suppliers, and becoming the company’s focal point with elite customers. Waligora’s contributions led to greater responsibilities, where she planned and led manufacturing improvement workshops. Her work on the forward Systems Installation led to impressive annual savings for the company. At the same time, she took on technical training in project management, production preparation process, and value stream mapping.
Waligora’s assignments regularly included leading junior team members on project deliverables and mentoring their career advancement. Ultimately, she accepted a management position, leading a team of 20 engineers. Her efforts grew two individual contributors into management roles and four others into technical leads. Her team conducted 60 work measurement studies yielding millions of dollars in process improvements.
Foremost among Waligora’s many successes were her efforts to transform the 777 program and Everett, Washington, site into one capable of concurrently producing the new 777X. Her negotiating, networking, and team-building skills broke countless barriers and created numerous opportunities for improvements. She was awarded Boeing’s Communications Award for her efforts, and was named 2017 Boeing Commercial Airplanes Industrial Engineer of the Quarter by her peers.
Waligora most recently was an industrial engineering leader within the Interiors Responsibility Center. She has spearheaded efforts to transform existing processes into a digital one, allowing for better inventory management and easier measurements. She became interested in databases, teaching herself basic SQL programming and then taking a course in database programming. She routinely partnered with Boeing engineers in South Carolina to streamline efforts and minimize waste.
She changed roles during the summer of 2021, joining the Airplane Safety Engineering team as a safety engineer. In this position, she will spearhead root-cause-analysis investigations of safety issues. In addition to conducting investigations, her responsibilities include filing incident reports to the Federal Aviation Administration.
A SWE member for nearly 20 years, Waligora served for several years on the Pacific Northwest executive council as a section representative and secretary, and has served on the SWE@Boeing focal team during her entire career with Boeing. Her SWE advocacy was integral to Boeing’s receiving a Gold Level Mission Award for the second year in a row and three Best Practice Awards at WE20.
Waligora continues mentoring early-career engineers and volunteers regularly at schools to encourage STEM education. She is also deeply involved in community giving and volunteer efforts.
She holds a B.S. in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan, a certificate in project management and SQL development, and is a Six Sigma green belt. She lives near Seattle with her husband, Phil; son; and two dogs, Doogie and Rocky. She loves hiking, running, and reading, and enjoys a geocaching hobby with her family.