Monday, June 18, 2012
On Monday, Spirit AeroSystems held a celebration for its Wichita employees. Boeing company leaders came to town to personally thank Spirit employees for their tornado recovery efforts.
After the April 14 tornado struck their Wichita plant, Spirit CEO Jeff Turner challenged his top management team to get back to full production by April 23. Turner says the recovery work accomplished by employees and contractors was nothing short of awesome.
"I have used "awesome" so many times in the last six weeks or so that it is a highly-used word," said Turner.
The destruction caused by the EF-3 tornado could also be described as awesome. At Monday's event, employees watched video captured by company security cameras as the tornado swept through the facility. It left such damage that some feared work might be halted for weeks.
An army of contractors and Spirit employees battled through and were able to get the plant up and running in just a few days. Boeing executives say the only way to properly thank Spirit was to do it in person.
"What you guys did as a result of this event builds confidence with the customers in ways I can't even begin to tell you. So thank you so much," said Boeing Supplier Management Vice President and General Manager Kent Fisher.
Storm restoration continues at Spirit and probably will for many months. Boeing executives admit they did not think Spirit could keep from missing deadlines, which could have led to production halts and airline scheduling conflicts.
"When you looked at that devastation, it was hard to imagine we weren't going to have massive delays to our customers," said Boeing 737 Program Vice President Beverly Wyse.
Despite all that tornado damage, not one of Boeing's airline customers missed a delivery.