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Originally published October 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 17, 2007 at 2:04 AM

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Boeing employees: Some stunned, but others saw needed change

Boeing employees had mixed reactions Tuesday to the company's decision to replace Mike Bair as head of the 787 Dreamliner program. Some said they'd expected...

Special to The Seattle Times

Boeing employees had mixed reactions Tuesday to the company's decision to replace Mike Bair as head of the 787 Dreamliner program.

Some said they'd expected a leadership change after news that delivery of the new plane would be delayed six months. Others expressed surprise.

Many employees said they were more concerned about supply-chain problems affecting the program, and some hadn't even heard of Bair's ouster by late afternoon.

"It's so many levels above me," Maria Diaz, 23, a manufacturing engineer on the 787 program, said of the leadership change. "I think they had very unrealistic expectations" for delivery.

Diaz said engineers on the program have been working at least 10 hours a day, six days a week. Now, she said, "I'm happy because I don't have to work overtime" under the revised delivery schedule.

Informed of Bair's ouster, another Everett engineer on the 787 program said, "I'm surprised. I'm really shocked, and I guess I didn't expect for them to do something like that." He declined to be named for fear of losing his job.

Ray Davis, a quality technician on the 787 program, said the delay was "definitely a leadership problem. ... It's nothing the machinists and mechanics and engineers have done."

The leadership change, he said, means that "now we're straightening that out."

A part-time 787 engineer who declined to be named said there has been "a lot of rumor and speculation" about the delays.

"As soon as a program is six months later than schedule, it cries out for an explanation," he said.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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