Boeing scientist gives speech for Innovation Leadership Series

Nicholas LeVack

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Leo Christodoulou, a director at Boeing, discusses the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the Leadership Innovation Series in the Fort Collins Hilton on Thursday. (Photo credit: Eliott Foust)

Dr. Leo Christodoulou, who works as Boeing’s enterprise domain leader for structures technology, joined the Colorado State University-sponsored Innovation Leadership Series with a speech at the Hilton Fort Collins Thursday night.

His speech focused on his personal mantra of innovation and dreams, making a dream become reality and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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“Innovation and dreams are so close together and they have been the mantra under which I’ve lived,” Christodoulou said during his speech.

Alan Rudolph, CSU’s vice president of research, spoke personally of Christodoulou while introducing him. The two worked together under the employ of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

“One of the things that I really appreciated as a biologist … and Leo’s a material scientist, is we had a lot to talk about and collaborate on in thinking about the world as a dynamic place,” Rudolph said.

Christodoulou asked audience members to consider the multiple stakeholders of a prospective venture, such as the innovator, the executor and the investor. He said that in order for a dream to become innovation, it is not enough to have the idea; you must be able to relate it to all potential stakeholders.

“I especially like the thing that he said about needing to sell yourself the idea first and needing to know what your next step would be right after you got funding,” said David Presley, a senior mechanical engineering student.

Christodoulou also presented on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane, which he claimed is already changing the world.

“This aircraft is a complete new paradigm for how we build airplanes,” Christodoulou said.

According to Christodoulou, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner includes aerodynamics designed precisely by supercomputers, passenger-pleasing features and greater fuel efficiency than other aircraft.

“Ground-breaking, lightweight, the new materials are really interesting,” Presley said. “People love it too. [Boeing] kept everyone in mind, I think, when they designed it — all the stakeholders, you know, from the airlines to the manufacture to the passengers.”

Acknowledging the 787’s significant financial burden on the company, even pointing out that Boeing shares fell $5.67 on Wednesday, Christodoulou still expressed his pleasure in working with a company in line with his childhood aspirations.

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“It was always my dream to work with flying machines and it has come true in some ways,” Christodoulou said.

Collegian Business and Technology Beat Reporter Nicholas LeVack can be reached at news@colostate.edu and on Twitter @NicholasLeVack.