Spirit AeroSystems was awarded Butler Community College’s inaugural Corporate Diversity Award on Friday for workplace diversity and community inclusiveness.
Spirit’s diversity in the workplace and work in the community is “rivaled by few if any organizations,” said Butler president Jackie Vietti.
She said the company has provided strong support for a diversity leadership program called Advance Kansas, Vietti said.
“It was such an obvious choice, Vietti said of Spirit’s selection.
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Gov. Sam Brownback, who attended a breakfast in Spirit’s honor Friday, said that diversity allows for a variety of perspectives.
Kansas has long been a diverse state, and Spirit is a deserving recipient of the award, Brownback said.
“It’s a beauty that takes place,” Brownback said.
“Diversity builds a strong global company,” he said. “It’s a great honor to give to Spirit AeroSystems.”
Spirit AeroSystems CEO and president Jeff Turner accepted the award at the event at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.
“It’s a huge honor to stand here and represent the men and women that make up Spirit AeroSystems,” Turner said.
The company uses diversity to drive business performance, he said. It strives to use the unique characteristics of its work force to compete in a global environment.
“Ultimately whether the company survives or doesn’t is 100 percent on the shoulders of the men and women who make up the company.”
Spirit is a global company that has both employees and customers around the world, he said. It has 15,000 employees worldwide and 1,300 suppliers from 32 countries.
Diversity goes way beyond the obvious differences of race, religion, age or gender, Turner said.
It includes diversity of culture, job experience, belief systems, union affiliation, family status, education, training and more.
Managing diversity and considering and applying different ideas is an advantage, Turner said.
“Our employees are both similar and different …” he said. “Our products and services are better because we maximize diversity.”
Advance Kansas began in 2008, and classes have been held four times – attended by 148 people from 66 businesses and nonprofit organizations.
As part of the program, participants choose a community issue and develop initiatives to address it.
For example, one group planned and created a sustainable garden as a Wichita Children’s Home project after realizing that teens at the home had never planted a garden.
The teens helped decide what to grow, and then helped create the raised beds and plant the garden.