Engineering Students Learn About Game-Changing Innovation

Submitted by Genevieve Bleidner '13 on February 21, 2011

On February 17, 2011, Fairfield University welcomed Mr. Chris Van Buiten, Director of Sikorsky Innovations, United Technologies, for a presentation on innovations in business and engineering. The event was organized by the:

Mr. Van Buiten covered much in his talk before having to catch a plane to fly out of state for the evening. He described how large established companies can leverage their size and capacity without hurting themselves, and emphasized the fact that innovation can yield game-changing technology when nurtured within a company.

In the presentation, Mr. Van Buiten talked about the newly launched Sikorsky Innovations organization of which he is Director, and mapped out the exciting breakthroughs the organization has made by embracing the innovation of its members, such as the first manned electric helicopter. He also described the ways in which businesses can achieve success through innovation, including the organizational, business, and technical drives behind the surge.

I was impressed by Mr. Van Buiten’s confidence and grasp of knowledge on his subject. Although I personally do not understand much of the scientific and mathematic aspects of engineering, I was intrigued to hear about the innovations and game-changing growth that the field has experienced in the last decade. Mr. Van Buiten held the audience’s attention with his charisma and knowledge, and I found myself becoming excited about these changes simply because Mr. Van Buiten himself was so emotionally invested in his cause.

Both informative and enjoyable, the event opened up my eyes to the interesting world of engineering, even though I’ll likely never be able to invent the next helicopter or design a smart aircraft myself.

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