Sarah Soboleski is fusing “power” and “water” in the most literal sense. She is a part of Advanced Programs in Aeroderivatives at GE Energy’s Power and Water business. Sarah and her team are developing a “fast ferry,” which will be the world’s first of its kind passenger ferry boat powered by liquid natural-gas.
The Advanced Programs team was assembled about a year ago to tackle large-scale new products on aggressive schedules. Soboleski’s team designed the LM2X Marine Driver, an aeroderivative gas turbine for ferries.
“Our goal is to enable the ferry to run cleaner while transporting faster,” Soboleski says. “We’re connecting people and ideas, and developing advanced technologies that solve customers’ problems.”
Soboleski and her team thrive on the cutting edge of technology, and understand that communication and collaboration are essential to meeting tight deadlines. The collaborative environment of the Advanced Programs team is an outgrowth of GE’s culture, where “innovation is an expectation,” Soboleski says.
One aspect is the physical proximity of engineers to the manufacturing process.
“I find that being on the shop floor, where the product is being manufactured, is one of my biggest inspirations,” Soboleski says. “It’s rewarding, seeing something that you’ve created coming to life, and it’s important to connect with the full process of a product’s development through execution.”
The other aspect is an open-door policy that puts junior and senior engineers in close proximity and often results in impromptu whiteboard discussions, Soboleski says.
“So much of what we do comes from collaboration,” Soboleski says. “We build on each other’s ideas and come up with the best possible solution.”