Q&A with Steve Goo
Employees Boeing transferred
appear to like living in Oklahoma
Q: You were one of the Boeing employees who moved here from California. How's that transition going?
A: Typically, about 10 percent of the people you ask to transfer agree. We got closer to 50 percent. Many of those folks have now reached their one-year point. The relocation incentives lasted one year, and some people predicted they would all go back. I can count on one hand the number that did. By and large, the folks from California are liking it and buying homes and making a life for themselves here in Oklahoma. We're also moving a bunch of folks from Wichita (Kan.). We are about 300 jobs away from being done. When we started relocating, it was 800 jobs total. We have about 150 more to move and 150 more to hire. I expected a lot of hiccups but the move has been amazingly smooth. It's less about what the company does and more about what the community does.
Q: Has sequestration affected Boeing's operations?
A: The main impact has been uncertainty. Everybody knows the cuts are coming but they haven't been defined yet. That created uncertainty for our customers. We push to find more effective ways to produce the equipment that our men and women use to protect us. That's how we can contribute.
Q: How committed is Boeing to Oklahoma City?
A: A few years ago, we were looking at the defense budget going up and up and up and decided it wasn't sustainable. Back then, we started making important strategic decisions, like how do we get costs down before the downturn comes? Part of the strategy was to co-locate programs around the country. Oklahoma was one of a few sites we considered and ended up picking. Boeing is committed to Oklahoma City for the long term.
Q: I was a little surprised to hear of the recent $76 million contract to upgrade the B-52 bombers for the Air Force. I thought government spending was nil right now.
A: You're going to see slowdowns in big purchases, but there are compelling reasons why we need to modernize our fleet. Today, we're asking these B-52s to do some massive computing. The aircraft have to be upgraded to perform, and that's what we do.
Jennifer Palmer, Business Writer