Martha L. Garcia
Winglet Seamless Support Program Manager
Boeing Commercial Airplanes
The Boeing Company
Education: M.S. (in progress), Pepperdine University; B.S., engineering technology, California State University, Long Beach.
As the oldest of six children growing up in East Los Angeles, Martha L. Garcia has accomplished a tremendous amount since she became the first person her family to attend college. Beginning her career as a procedures analyst at the McDonnell Douglas Corporation while she was still earning her B.S. degree, Ms. Garcia worked her way up to senior technical support analyst before moving to the Boeing Company as a specialist after they acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1996.
In her current role as winglet seamless support program manager, Ms. Garcia manages all customer support across multiple aircraft lines utilizing winglets, including one you’ve probably flown on recently. She is also responsible for resolving major in-service aircraft problems for the winglets division.
Despite the demanding duties of her professional career, Ms. Garcia has always found the time to give back to the community. She’s a tireless organizing and presenting programs in STEM to thousands of students, including many minority students in underserved areas around Los Angeles.
Her signature achievement has been the annual Engineering Week events held each February in front of 1,500 students from kindergarten through high school, helping expose them to careers and opportunities that they may not have otherwise known were options for them. Ms. Garcia puts her personal life on hold as she plans a curriculum, trains colleagues, sets up activities, and coordinates materials for this event which culminates with the tours she leads of the Boeing C-17 aircraft facility for kids in grades 5-12.
Besides inspiring students through practical, enjoyable demonstrations designed to help show how math can be fun, Ms. Garcia is an active volunteer for Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, a living classroom and aviation museum that offers after-school STEM programs to underserved youth. She also leads engineering activities for kids through the Boeing-funded Inner City Arts program.
Ms. Garcia’s mentoring activities include participating in a pen-pal career-exploration program for second grade students, and speaking to lower-income Hispanic youth – particularly young women students – about the challenges of juggling college, careers, family and financial expectations.
In addition to winning awards, including the C-17 Program Golden Eagle Award–Crisis Management Team and a nomination for the Amelia Earhart Society Woman of High Achievement honor, Ms. Garcia finds the time to supplement her career and community outreach work by raising and training puppies for Guide Dogs of America. Described by colleagues as inspiring, kind, generous, and a wonderful role model for women, Ms. Garcia engages, encourages, and gently leads both children and adults to think beyond what they know and helps make them want to learn.
-By Vinnie Longobardo