GE Aviation History: Leading by Example – How John W. Blanton Helped Engineer the Future

by Cole Massie

John W. Blanton, Sr., took a love of aviation and turned it into a 26-year career at GE Aviation, developing a reputation as a pioneer, an innovator, and a risk-taker. He managed several key advanced engine technology programs before retiring in 1982 as general manager for commercial advanced engines and commercial engine programs.

As GE Aviation celebrates its 100th birthday this year, it’s impossible to understate the contributions Blanton Sr. made during his career to lift up the company to where it is today. If you asked those closest to him, though, you wouldn’t get that impression.

Now a retired physician and working medical school professor in Connecticut, Dr. John W. Blanton, Jr., described his father as characteristically quiet.

“My father was a very modest, humble man,” he said. “He preferred to lead by example. He never sought out the spotlight or extra attention.”

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