Sarah Kane graduated from Virginia Tech in 2009 with a degree in Marketing and Spanish. After obtaining her Masters in Applied Project Management at Villanova, Kane worked her way through Boeing and is now the Aerial Refueling Engineering Manager in charge of Aerial Refueling Certification on the KC-46 Tanker program.
Can you tell me about your current job?
I am responsible for Systems Engineering and Aerial Refueling Certification on the KC-46 Tanker program for Boeing Defense and Space Systems. This airplane will provide aerial refueling capabilities for all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft.
We designed the KC-46 to carry passengers, cargo and patients with additional capability to detect, avoid, defeat and survive threats using multiple layers of protection. My team has the opportunity to work directly with the US Air Force to refine the system design and support an ongoing flight test program to demonstrate these new capabilities.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Being on a cutting edge team where we are designing, testing, and delivering a brand new military aircraft capability. We’re in a very exciting portion of the program where we actually get to participate in experimental fight tests! Working with the Air Force, we are using our four flight test airplanes alongside existing Air Force assets (F-18, C-17, etc) to test the limits of our product’s capability and to demonstrate how it works.
How did you get to Boeing out of Pamplin?
I actually landed an internship with Boeing from Pamplin’s Business Horizons career fair. I started off in a group called “Strategic Sourcing, New Business Acquisition” primarily working with Navy customers. After that I worked my way up and around the company to now be in a senior management position within engineering.
What clubs or activities were you involved in at Tech and which had the greatest impact on your career?
I had many many jobs as I paid my way through college. I worked in the Foreign Language Department, Sharkey’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and even worked as a tutor for student athletes. As far as clubs go I was a part of Alpha Kappa Psi (co-ed business fraternity) and was a Pamplin Ambassador. Being a Pamplin Ambassador was one of my favorite activities while I was at VT. I had the opportunity to give speeches to prospective and new students during open houses, etc. and it really helped me to define both my presentation and leadership style.
What was your favorite class at Tech?
It was actually the capstone class for all of business, which was Business Policy and Strategy taught by Professor Stephen Skripak. It was a tough class but Skripak was an awesome and inspiring professor. He talked about industry and brought in his experience, we read case studies that were actually relevant to real life business, and we had to read and watch the news and pay attention to “real life” circumstances, which was great.
What is your position on the RAB?
I am on the outreach committee. We basically come up with events with ways to connect recent alumni and current students together for advice and mentoring etc. Being in Seattle is a challenge to take on because the majority of VT grads are on the east coast, but it will be nice to establish an alumni base on the west coast.
What are you most looking forward to on the RAB?
Having an opportunity to come back to Blacksburg and visit! I haven’t been back in forever and I can’t wait to reconnect and be involved with current students. Even on the west coast, I often contend that Virginia Tech is the best college experience around. I’m excited to have an opportunity to give back to a school that has given me so much.
Do you have a piece of advice for current students?
The sky is the limit; don’t confine yourself to one assumed career path based on your current major. There is no substitute for either hard work or passion. Find something you are passionate about doing and do it as well as possible each and every day. People will notice and more importantly, you will always be learning and growing!