This year marks 15 years since the founding of the Engineering Design Center (EDC) at the Institute of Aviation.
In April 2000, GE and the Institute of Aviation signed an agreement that marked the beginning of the cooperation between Polish engineers with an American corporation.
Within 15 years, EDC has developed from a small organization employing 22 engineers to one of the world’s most famous research centres. In 2015, employment in the EDC was nearly 1,900 engineers from Poland and abroad.
Warsaw EDC is a place that is constantly growing, not only in terms of employment. Currently, employees of both companies jointly implement global projects in three different sectors such as aviation (GE Aviation, GE Aviation Systems), energy (GE Power & Water, GE Energy Management) and gas and oil (GE Oil & Gas). In everyday work advanced analytical and computational tools are used. They work in modern and still emerging laboratories within the EDC.
The anniversary year for EDC started off with a gala with the participation of a special guest – the Chairman of the Board and GE Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Immelt. The huge success of the Warsaw EDC is noticeable not only within Europe. The work of Polish engineers significantly affects the development of individual GE businesses around the world.
After 15 years of the EDC it can be certainly said that the best is yet to come.
We invite you to read:
The history of the Engineering Design Center
Recollections from the first years of activity
How it has began?
The end of the twentieth century was not kind for the aviation industry in Poland. The changing of the political system and the loss of the Russian market meant that there was a crisis which was difficult to overcame. Wojciech Potkański, Deputy Director of the Institute of Aviation explains that all the powerful heavy industry companies in Poland were in a similar situation. Once they used to be workplaces for tens of thousands of people, now they are only marks of historical events. Not only the Polish market but also other countries liberated from the Communist regimes, such as the Czech Republic and Romania, experiences difficult moments.
– It was very difficult for all of us – says Director Potkański. – And it seems that America saw it. They realized that all those qualified specialists who a few years ago were a part of a large, dynamically operating companies, at some point were left with nothing. There was only one conclusion: Why not establish cooperation with them?
Without thinking US experts took trips to Eastern Europe and studied the technological potential, which reportedly was somewhere within us.
– In 1995-1997 American delegations began arriving and they checked our technical capabilities. Here, at the Institute of Aviation, we continually presented things, discussed and talked with our Western colleagues – says the Director Potkański. – We were getting tired of that. It seemed that nothing would come out of it, but then all of a sudden in August or September 1999, there came two gentlemen from the General Electric Aircraft Engines and announced that GE would like to open a test-design center here with us.
In April 2000, GE and the Institute of Aviation signed an agreement that ensured the cooperation of Polish engineers with the American corporation.
It is thanks to this agreement, that situation of the Institute of Aviation began to change radically, and the EDC started to grow more and more each year. Magdalena Nizik, President of GE Company Poland recalls:
– We were such an island in Europe back then. It was only the matter of time, when GE began to slowly make more transactions. Soon, they acquired Unison, Smith Aerospace (whole Aviation Systems), Aviation Czech and Avio. The development of Turkey and the investment in other sectors of heavy industry meant that at our center we currently have five businesses, and we already appear as a technological region on the map, along with other Eastern European countries.
– Two years after its establishment, the EDC was a small organization within a large corporation. There was a sense of skepticism and incredulity from our American superiors. No one believed that countries such as Poland or Mexico can design anything. We had to really earn ourselves a position that we now have – adds Magdalena Nizik.
The work in Engineering Design Center in 2000 was started with 22 engineers who soon began to explore the work of their colleagues from overseas. They trained and learned the customs and atmosphere in America and brought it with them to Aleja Krakowska.
– Our first engineers traveled to Evendale sometimes for a half of year, sometimes for 9 months. There they learned the American culture procedures and everything that was necessary to build our center locally. It was and it is of tremendous value – admits the Infrastructure Director of the Institute of Aviation, Grzegorz Szymanowski, who for years was associated with the EDC.
In this way, after the first turbulent and difficult years of the early twenty-first century, a unique EDC reality that binds the unusual relationship between GE and the Institute of Aviation was created.
[The material of EDC Communications Team was published in the anniversary edition of the “EDC Times” newspaper from May 7th, 2015]
The 15th anniversary of the Engineering Design Center – Jubilee Gala
On May, 7th was held a jubilee Gala on the occasion of the 15thanniversary of the Engineering Design Center, which was founded on the premises of the Institute of Aviation. In the meeting with the EDC employees took part a special guest – Jeff Immelt, Chairman of the Board and GE Chief Executive Officer. The Gala was hosted by prof. Witold Wiśniowski – Director of the Institute of Aviation and Magdalena Nizik – Director of General Electric Company Polska.
The anniversary meeting was inaugurated with the speech of Jeff Immelt, who stressed the importance of the Engineering Design Center foundation in the East-Central Europe. EDC engineers who were present at the meeting raised numerous questions concerning future development plans of GE businesses in Poland and business forecasts for the global market.
Later in the meeting held a cross-business prize-giving and a panel discussion with EDC employees.
The artistic performance was delivered by Kabaret Moralnego Niepokoju. The Gala ended with an anniversary treat.