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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Les Welch, 32

Transportation

Lockheed Martin

Les Welch has been fixing equipment ever since his bike broke in sixth grade. At aerospace giant Lockheed Martin he fixes manufacturing. Welch is applying lean-production techniques pioneered for auto assembly to the manufacture of F-22 fighter planes, bucking the defense industry’s history of inefficient production. Traditionally, aircraft have been built in one spot, with assembly workers walking many kilometers (this has been measured) to fetch thousands of tools and parts. In Welch’s approach, a nascent air- craft will move from one work center to another, each designed to minimize worker movement and maximize assembly convenience. Inventory is also reduced. Eric Ouellette at Lockheed Martin says the changes will cut manufacturing time up to 40 percent. Ouellette, formerly Welch’s senior manager, says Welch is “passionate about eliminating waste.” Before earning his industrial engineering degree, Welch ran manufacturing for a large family business that made aluminum toolboxes for pickup trucks. As for his personal tinkering, it’s now directed at his 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

2002 TR35 Winners

Andrew Barrows

Transportation

Elisabeth M. Belding-Royer

Telecommunications

Vincent Berger

Telecommunications

Eric Bonabeau

Software

Daniel Branagan

Materials

Arnaud Brignon

Hardware

Howie Choset

Hardware

Michelle Effros

Telecommunications

Alexander Fay

Transportation

Claire Gmachl

Telecommunications

Michael Hansen

Hardware

Tom Hyongsok Soh

Telecommunications

Matt Keyser

Energy

Kara Kockelman

Transportation

Paul Krajewski

Transportation

Der-Horng Lee

Transportation

Ihor Lys

Hardware

Larry Mianzo

Transportation

Chahab Nastar

Software

Bill Nguyen

Telecommunications

Rajesh Reddy

Telecommunications

Vincent Rijmen

Software

Jonathan Rosenberg

Telecommunications

Steven Shaw

Energy

Anna Stefanopoulou

Transportation

Lisa Su

Hardware

Vahid Tarokh

Telecommunications

Steve Tuecke

Software

Les Welch

Transportation

Sean Willems

Software

Neil Young

Entertainment

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