‘Greg, I Just Got a Job:’ The Rules of Being a Great Mentor

Boeing exec gives back to the next generation of Eagles

Greg Rutbell (’16) and Chris Eggen, who is expected to graduate from Embry-Riddle in 2023, share more than an alma mater. Learning from each other as a mentor and a mentee, they bring out the best in each other. Boeing recognized this personal and professional win-win with awards honoring the veteran industrial engineer and the future mechanical engineer.

Mentorship is such a calling for Rutbell that he does a lot of outreach through LinkedIn. Over the past year, he has mentored at least 13 students, seven as Boeing summer interns and the others remotely, on his own time.

Celebrating 25 years at Boeing, Rutbell earned a 2022 Excellence in Leadership Award. He also presented Eggen with the Golden Eagle Award, which goes to an outstanding student mentee and intern at the company. This year, Eggen finished a summer internship assigned to the Apache AH-64 program in Mesa, Arizona.

A Master of Science degree focused on Leadership from Embry-Riddle Worldwide shaped Rutbell as a servant-leader, change agent and mentor.

Chris Eggen (center) was recognized with the Golden Eagle Award, for being an outstanding mentee at Boeing this summer. His mentor was fellow Eagle Greg Rutbell.

Throughout his Boeing career, Rutbell has guided, inspired and cultivated the skills of engineers who will take the industry to new heights. He shares more than technical savvy and project management experience, helping people embrace a culture of collaboration, sustainability and consistent quality and safety. He has put these values into practice working on incredible programs including the C-17 Globemaster III, F-22 Raptor and F-16 Fighting Falcon along with the the DC-10, KC-10, MD-11, MD-80/90 and 717 moving line programs. His most recent assignment for the last 12 years has been on the 737 program in Renton, Washington.

“Boeing culture and leadership enables mentoring, employee engagement and connecting people,” says Rutbell. That culture was shaped by world-renowned business leader Alan Mulally, former CEO of both Ford and Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Mulally created the Working Together Management System. This 11-point philosophy focuses on humility and relationship-building.

The system has created impressive business results and inspired a new generation of mentors and leadership. The biggest takeaway Rutbell remembers from Mulally’s leadership at Boeing was that “Alan promoted a total ‘people first’ principle that is totally approachable for anyone. He applied the ‘Working Together’ philosophy to all major airplane programs including research, development, testing, experimental and certification efforts for the revolutionary 777 program.”   

The Making of a Mentorship

Rutbell enthusiastically recommends Mulally’s work and an extensive reading list for servant-leaders. As additional influences on his purpose-driven contribution, he cites winning coaches, military officers, presidents, inventors, spiritual leaders and Yoda, who emphasized doing over trying.

Rutbell offers a tip for those who want to get the most out of their mentors. “Think about how you define success for yourself. Set goals and objectives that include hands-on experience and immersion in the operating principles of a company’s culture. Know what you want to get out of the relationship.”

This broad view of success encompasses community service and strong relationships. “A well-rounded life, plus diet and exercise” helps him balance the demands of his own work with his volunteerism and community service with newcomers to aerospace.

In choosing people to mentor, Rutbell considers grades, athletics, extracurricular activities participation and leadership along with research projects. Identifying and reaching out to Rutbell as a potential mentor via LinkedIn is a qualifier in itself, since it shows initiative and commitment to development.

A picture of a crystal award shaped like a Boeing jet. It's honoring Greg Rutbell for being a top mentor.
Greg Rutbell was just honored with Boeing’s 2022 Excellence in Leadership Award.

However, he acknowledges that rapport is also a factor. “I would say I spot a good match at least 80 percent of the time.”

Rutbell has mentored Eggen for more than two years and he says he is impressed with his capabilities and character. “Chris is an incredible engineer. He leads by example, building relationships, employee engagement and teamwork. He is super smart and he is going to be super successful.”

Eggen is now on the Prescott Campus, completing his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and aspiring to be “the best worker/person I can be.” In the eyes of his mentor, he impresses on that score. “Chris has made a lasting impact and influence in my life and exemplifies the importance of having a mentoring relationship.”

Thanks to LinkedIn, Rutbell’s reach as a mentor extends globally. He is currently a career coach to freshman Travis Ludlow from the U.K. who attends Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach. Ludlow is already a Guinness Book of World Records record-setter as one of the youngest pilots to fly solo around the world and has a TEDx Talk to his credit.

Ludlow has found a valued virtual coach in Rutbell. “What can I tell you? He has been amazing – always supportive and there when I have needed help. He will do anything for anyone and he is always looking out for people.”

Rutbell continues to measure proud moments in the phone calls he receives that announce, “Greg, I just got a job offer from Boeing!”

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