Despite growing up in Bloomington, Brent Vlasman was interested in engineering and says, “Purdue was the obvious place for me. I was drawn to the applied nature of the aviation technology curriculum and enjoyed the hands-on nature of the courses at the airport. Besides, how many students get credit for taxiing a Boeing 727?”
After graduating with his master’s, Vlasman was hired by Rolls-Royce and entered the company’s leadership development program. Between 2010 and 2015, Vlasman led cross-functional, multicultural teams in the United States, Singapore, Norway and Hong Kong; while working in Marketing, Sales, and Program Management across the Aviation, Marine, and Energy industries.
Vlasman now serves as a senior business operations manager at GE Aviation where he is part of a team designing a new helicopter engine for the United States Army’s Blackhawk and Apache helicopters. He manages the cost and schedule performance of a team of 130 design engineers and serves as the point of contact for foreign design activities in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and Department of Commerce.
“The work I do will enable the U.S. Army to fly its Blackhawk and Apache helicopters in ‘hot and high’ conditions (e.g. in the mountains of the Middle East), where the current engine lacks sufficient power to complete all of its missions,” explains Vlasman. “Our engine will also have a future in helicopters that fight forest fires, perform search and rescue operations, serve as air ambulances, and transport workers to and from offshore oil and gas rigs.”
Vlasman lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife, Savannah and young son, Frederick.