Engineering Retirees Society (ERS)
Life after Boeing? Just ask former Profs and Techs
Getting ready to retire from The Boeing Company? A rocket scientist who worked on satellite boosters, a tech who worked in Reliability,
Maintainability and Testability and an engineer
who worked interior configuration would like
to meet you. They are among the officers of the
Engineering Retirees Society (ERS).
ERS members meet quarterly at the SPEEA
Tukwila hall to re-connect with fellow retirees and
spouses and hear from guest speakers on topics
ranging from caring for someone with Alzheimer’s
to tips for travel by train or cruise ship.
In addition, members and their spouses are
invited to quarterly investment group meetings,
organized by ERS President Dave Watt, who has
a special interest in this group.
An ERS member for about 20 years, his first exposure to ERS came when he was still a member.
He stopped by the SPEEA hall for something and
noticed the investment group meeting. “That was
most interesting to me when I joined,” he said.
For Jim Gillan, the transition to ERS was easy. As
a SPEEA member, he was active with the SPEEA
and Northwest Legislative and Public Affairs
(L&PA) committees. Joining ERS, which affiliates
with a national non-profit focused on lobbying
retiree issues, was a match made in heaven for him.
“I’m doing what I love,” said the former Tech
in Reliability, Maintainability and Testability
(RMT) group in Customer Aviation Services,
who now serves as ERS treasurer and continues
to attend the L&PA meetings.
A former ERS president recruited Dwight Rousu
(rocket scientist) to join ERS when he retired. The
two met through L&PA committee meetings at
SPEEA. Since joining ERS, Rousu participated
in lawmaker meetings in Washington, D.C., as a
representative of ERS with the National Retiree
Legislative Network (NRLN).
“Associating with NRLN helps us more effectively talk to congressional representatives by
having experts studying issues, having a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., having a system of
action alerts when a bill is before Congress and
organizing meeting dates in Washington, D.C.,
when we can visit our legislators on the hill along
with retirees from states and districts all over the
nation,” Rousu said.
“It’s important to us,” added Watt, who has also
gone to Washington, D.C., to represent ERS at
NRLN events. “Since our main focus is on protecting benefits, our only way to have influence
is through the legislative network.”
Advocacy through affiliation and members
Some ERS leaders are shown here including the Steering Board and committee officers. They meet quarterly prior to the general member meetings to discuss ERS governance, finances,
recruitment and reports from the committees.
SPEEA members are key to Boeing’s success
By Bill Dugovich
SPEEA Communications Director
From the early years designing and building aircraft in the Boeing Red Barn, through the technological leaps made through
generations of new aircraft; engineers, technical
workers, pilots and other aerospace professionals
are the foundation of The Boeing Company’s
Edward Curtis Wells is one of many noted
engineers whose work brought success. Hired
in 1931, Wells is credited with redesigning
aircraft wings. During his 40 years at Boeing,
Wells was instrumental in the creation of the
B- 17 Flying Fortress, B-29 Superfortress, B-47
Stratojet, B-52 Stratofortress, 707 and the evolu-
tion of the commercial product
line. The joint SPEEA/Boeing
Ed Wells Partnership is named
While Wells’ career took him
into management before the
first meeting of SPEEA in 1944,
representation and membership in our union is part of the
careers of many who rose to the
highest levels of management.
SPEEA member T.A. Wilson
served on our Executive Board
in 1950. Moving into management in 1951, his resignation
letter to the board read: “I'm
sure that in enacting the will of the membership,
the executive committee shall
give consideration to the will of
the nonmembers, for they know
not what they do.” Wilson was
named Boeing President in
1968 and the following year
added Chief Executive Officer
to his title.
Other executives who started
their Boeing careers as dues-paying SPEEA members include
Walter Gillette, Phillip Condit
and Alan Mulally. Current
Boeing President and CEO
Dennis Muilenburg was
SPEEA-represented for the first
years of his Boeing career.
T.A. Wilson, past member, 1980
continued on page 11