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Pratt & Whitney Shares Vision at Discovery Academy
Pratt & Whitney Shares Vision at Discovery Academy
Posted on 01/04/2022
American aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney gave community members a view into their upcoming Asheville operation.Featured Photos: 1) Pratt & Whitney Plant Manager Dan Field speaks at the Nesbitt Discovery Academy on Dec. 16 as part of the company's Community Conversations outreach series. 2) As part of a panel, employee Norma-Ester Medina speaks about Pratt & Whitney's company culture. 3) BCS Supt. Dr. Tony Baldwin shares opening remarks prior to Pratt & Whitney's presentation.

By: Benjamin Rickert
BCS Communications Dept.

American aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney gave community members and educators a view into their upcoming Asheville operation through a Dec. 16 event hosted by the Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. Discovery Academy (NDA) and the Buncombe County Schools Foundation (BCSF). Currently under construction, the advanced casting foundry and airfoil production facility is expected to produce 300,000 airfoils annually, employing about 300 workers throughout 2022 and 2023. The company projects that about 800 workers will be needed by 2028.

“The Pratt & Whitney Community Conversations are a great way for students, community members, and potential future employees to get to know our company and to learn what we are all about,” said Cataldo Perrone, Pratt & Whitney Senior Communications Manager. “The events serve as a way we can engage with the community face-to-face and discuss various topics such as pathways to STEM careers; our sustainability and environmental practices; diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; and the overall progress of the new facility.”

As part of a panel, employee Norma-Ester Medina speaks about Pratt & Whitney's company culture.In time, Pratt & Whitney’s local operation will provide work-based learning opportunities and student internships. Project Execution Lead and Plant Manager Dan Field said these opportunities are designed to help learners connect knowledge with application and experience life as an engineer.

“We like to assign [student interns] to engineers that are out there working on the shop floor solving real problems so they can gain that experience,” he said. “When a student can make a link between the practical application and the theory they learned in a book, it’s always a better ‘aha moment,’ and the understanding becomes more clear.”

NDA juniors Zane Moore and Alex Rapetski attended to learn more about the aerospace industry and what to expect in the years to come.

“I definitely want to see what kinds of opportunities will be made available to students, to see what kind of path we can take to get into this industry,” said Moore.

“I’m very interested in aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering,” added Rapetski. “I hope to learn about the impacts and what Pratt & Whitney is bringing to Asheville.”

BCS Supt. Dr. Tony Baldwin shares opening remarks prior to Pratt & Whitney's presentation.BCS Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin shared opening remarks during the event. Field then gave an update on the construction progress along with an overview of the facility’s goals. Norma-Ester Medina, Devin Daughterly, Steve Bullied, and other employees spoke about their individual experiences and the company’s empowering culture. The event was attended by community and business leaders, educators, and Discovery Academy students.

“The event really solidified Pratt & Whitney’s welcome to our school system and the community as a whole,” said BCSF Executive Director Christy Cheek. “This partnership will bring an educational boost to our students.”

Field agreed and was impressed by what he learned about NDA during his visit.

“STEM is very important to us and Nesbitt is a great example of what a school system can do when they think creatively about how to cater to those kids who really want to focus on engineering, science, technology, and mathematics,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity for us to partner up and help engage those kids.”

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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