Vlatko Vlatkovic
Director
General Electric Infrastructure Queretaro (GEIQ)
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View from the Top

Exploring Aerospace From a Tech Perspective

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 08:42

Q: How much Aerospace-related research is conducted at GE Infrastructure Queretaro (GEIQ)?
A: Aerospace represents over 60 percent of the work GEIQ does in Queretaro. The center has almost 2,000 engineers and of those, 1,200 are working in aerospace-related technologies including engine design, services and operations. We also have a division for aviation systems that includes avionics and airplane and power systems.  
Q: What are Mexico’s strengths and which areas should be developed to deepen its aerospace participation?
A: The country is very strong in assembly. My colleagues from the automotive and energy industries all say that it is always faster to assemble components in Mexico. The country has world-class engineering and technology capabilities and educated, innovative people, which means that Mexico has great potential in these areas. Investing in research will provide Mexico with the opportunity to compete globally. The goal of centers like ours is to get closer to the local industry and to help the country become more active in R&D.
Q: As the largest aviation engineering center outside the US, what are your main contributions to the aerospace sector?
A: GE works globally and constantly ponders the future of many areas, including aerospace. The center in Queretaro was created in 2000, when GE decided that it would be a key element to its operations in Mexico. This center conducts research and design for aerospace, among other sectors. Mexico has a good opportunity to grow in this industry and we are investing in the sector because we see potential to develop the local supply chain.
The center focuses on heavy industries like energy, oil and gas and aviation. Another area of importance is software, which will help optimize the performance of our equipment. In Mexico and globally, it is important to look ahead and to develop technology. GEIQ’s capabilities are on par with other centers around the world, which makes it diverse and complex. Mexico’s impact on the sector is derived from its human capital. The country has excellent people who make us competitive. Our competitors come to Mexico because they are attracted by this talent. My goals are to invest in emerging technologies like additive manufacturing and design, and to grow the capabilities we have in the state.
Q: How are you working with universities and research centers such as UNAQ, CIDETEQ or CENTA?
A: We are developing the right strategy to benefit not just Queretaro or Mexico but the entire region of Latin America. Our current projects with these schools and centers are diverse in terms of technical content and we are exploring further options for cooperation.
Q: Where does GEIQ stand in the research/academic landscape and how is the center making a difference in the sector?
A: Focusing on research and development will create new capabilities for the region and improve technology. The intellectual property generated in the region can have a lasting impact on the global aerospace sector. We are also creating jobs for suppliers, designers and many others.
Q: GEIQ has been in the state for 17 years. What are the center’s next challenges?
A: For the future, we want to grow our technology capabilities and continue innovating. We need to work intensively with the local government and universities to ensure we are making the appropriate investment in education. We need a global mindset and our vision is to become leaders in the area.
Q: What are GEIQ’s growth expectations within Queretaro’s aerospace sector in 2017?
A: We will continue to work on developing the center. GEIQ is one of GE’s four major global centers, the others being in China, India and Europe. This center connects Mexico with Latin America and expands the technical capabilities that we need to grow globally.