Airplanes are my husband's true love. He knows more about airplanes than anyone I know. If he was single, instead of married with two kids, he would still be working at Boeing. He loved Boeing and loved his job. There is just something about working at a company that builds such marvels that gives you incredible job satisfaction.
Working at Boeing was really interesting, challenging and rewarding, but I certainly didn't have the passion for planes that my husband did. Boeing is a big behemouth with a culture and product line that changes slowly. I learned that when I went to work for Intel and the pace was never slower than a marathon (I preferred Boeing to Intel waaayyyy better). Boeing is the last great (commercial) aircraft manufacturer in the US. Airbus, its only rival, a consortium of European interests, has eaten up some of Boeing's market share. Reasons for this are enough for a thesis.
When I left Boeing, I was working in Manufacturing Research and Development. Prior to that, I worked on the 777 program in the systems areas including flight controls, mechanical-hydraulics, and environmental controls. There is nothing like being in on the ground floor of a new product, especially one that is so large and complex as a plane. At the roll out, a big production in itself, I had an incredible sense of pride, along with thousands of others, who had gotten this machine from paper...to parts...to the sky.
I hope Boeing garners some big orders at the airshow. Airbus seems to be having a rough time as of late. Northwest Airlines, a perennial purchaser of Airbus products, has announced it will buy Boeing planes, 787s, the next time around. 'Bout time.