By Mike Reader
About a year ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Waukesha County Business Alliance (WCBA) Manufacturing Alliance panel discussion on workforce development issues and meeting Brian White. Brian, President of GE Energy’s Waukesha Gas Engines, was one of the panelists and he spoke frankly about manufacturing and the privilege of employing about 700 Wisconsinites.
In September of 2012, and under Brian’s leadership, GE Energy’s Waukesha Gas Engines had announced the hiring of 115 employees, following a $3.1 million investment into its engineering center.
Brian is a brilliant leader, but his story is not your typical rise-to-the-top story, because Brian didn’t go to college after graduating from high school. As a matter of fact, he didn’t know what to do with his life, until he found the opportunities that manufacturing presented to him—opportunities which he did not hesitate to pursue.
In May 2013, Dream It! Do It! Wisconsin, featured Brian in a video titled “Upward Bound – Wisconsin Manufacturing Careers.” In just a few statements, Brian tells us about his early life, and gives anyone looking into a career in manufacturing the assurance that anything is possible.
Last night, I attended another WCBA meeting, hosted by GE Energy’s Waukesha Gas Engines, which included tours of the engine assembly area and featured the Dream It! Do It! Wisconsin video featuring Brian. I was pleased to connect with Brian again. We had a very good discussion about what each was doing to address the skills gap and looked forward to collaborating in the future.