Seattle: Boeing and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

My blog post for today will be highlighting the visits we did on March 7, 2018. Beginning with the Boeing Factory which specializes in various models of the 737, the plant is located in Renton and we had the opportunity to have an hour-long guided tour of the manufacturing process for the commercial jets. The tour guide was very informative and the part I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to apply what I have been learning in my supply chain classes to the manufacturing process Boeing has implemented.

I was selected to share with the group a little bit of what I knew about the company going in. Few highlights would include that it is number one in its industry (Aviation) in the Seattle area, has its headquarters in Chicago and a location in Saint Louis (my hometown) & lastly, it practiced Lean Management in their plants. Before the trip, I had read articles regarding their manufacturing process and seen videos of the plant in action. The opportunity to experience the production line in person was, for me, an incredible learning experience.

Moving forward, the second company we visited was The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Located right outside the Seattle Center, neighbors to the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture, we were guided around its campus buildings. Our guide, Tom Wilcox, showed us around the Premium LEED structure and while doing so, highlighted the commissioned art pieces, architectural design, and office spaces located throughout. One of the commissioned art pieces we learned about was a giant net hanging in the center plaza between all the buildings. It symbolized that every knot and every connection tied together when working on separate projects- be it education, malnutrition or infectious disease- is connected, and when one moves the ripple effect can improve another area.

After learning more about the design of the building, we had the opportunity to explore the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center. The discovery center was separated into three major parts. The First part was an introduction of what motivates the organization and what led to their foundation. The second and third areas highlighted the specific causes the organization supported. For example, problems in access to healthcare (Infectious disease control, mother-child care throughout pregnancy and birth, and malnutrition) and education. The discovery center was highly interactive, so this allowed students to be involved and educate themselves on problems around the world we might have never heard of before. The last and final area inspired action and gave students the opportunity to reflect on what they can do with their unique strengths and experiences on how they can change the world.

The last stop in our busy day led us to Seattle University, a fellow Jesuit institution housed within the Association for Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Upon our arrival, we had the opportunity to meet with alums from Loyola University Chicago and learn what their lives were like in Seattle. The majors and professions varied. Overall, everyone was very excited to ask questions and learn more about what the careers and opportunities were like here in Seattle.


Christina Villarreal (BBA '19)
Supply Chain Management, Information Systems