Current, powered by GE Maryrose Sylvester is President and CEO of Current, powered by GE — a first-of-its kind energy company that integrates GE’s LED, Solar, Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle businesses with its industrial strength Predix platform to deliver cost effective, efficient energy solutions. Current brings to market a holistic energy-as-a-service offering absent from industry today that includes sensor-enabled hardware, software, fulfillment, product management and financing solutions.
Prior to her role at Current, Maryrose served as President and CEO of GE Lighting where she led more than 12,000 employees from one of GE’s most iconic businesses in an exciting global transformation as world markets shifted toward energy-efficient lighting solutions. Before joining Lighting, Sylvester was President and CEO of GE Intelligent Platforms – GE’s high-technology global provider of software, hardware, services and expertise in automation, operations management and embedded computing, serving the energy, water, oil and gas, manufacturing, government and telecommunications industries.
Sylvester began her GE career in 1987 as an intern at GE Motors in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. She then joined GE Lighting in 1988 in the Sourcing operation. Along the way, she held positions of increasing responsibility, such as Director of Sourcing for GE Lighting Europe, based in Budapest, Hungary, and in 1997, as General Manager of Worldwide Sourcing for the business, based in Cleveland. Sylvester also served as General Manager for Global High Intensity Discharge (HID) before being named President & CEO of GE Lighting Systems in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 2000. She was then named President of the former GE Quartz in 2002, followed by the CEO roles with GE Intelligent Platforms in 2006 and GE Lighting in 2011 respectively. Sylvester is a member of GE’s Corporate Executive Council, GE’s Commercial Council and she was instrumental in helping to launch the GE Women’s Network. She is Vice Chair of the Board of Governors for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. She serves on the Board for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and Hathaway Brown School. Sylvester holds a B.S. Degree in Procurement and Production Management from Bowling Green State University and an MBA from Cleveland State University – both in Ohio.
Current, powered by GE, is a digital power service built to transform the way the world uses energy. Current is a new kind of energy company designed to meet the unique needs of a wide range of commercial and industrial, municipal and utility customers. It brings together capabilities from several existing GE businesses – LED lighting, Solar, Energy Storage, and electric vehicle charging stations – along with new financing and software solutions to offer integrated energy solutions aimed at delivering increased reliability, efficiency and profitability. These advanced solutions will help customers save on their energy bills, and help utility partners better manage their distributed load.
A recent essay from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published in the Chicago Tribune noted that, “the breadth and the depth of student experiences in STEM courses, labs, and applied learning activities ensures that they move into their careers with the skills necessary to meet a region’s STEM workforce needs.” The piece went on to say that the most effective way to attain this outcome is by schools working in collaboration with local businesses and industries.
When reflecting on the STEM initiative supported by our company that makes me most proud, it’s the collaboration with our MC2 STEM High School easily topping my list.
In 2008, our team at GE launched the largest public-private partnership in our history, and one of the greatest skill-based initiatives we know of across the nation. We were the first corporate partner to agree to host one of the multi-campus, project based, transdisciplinary school known as MC2 STEM High School. Subsequently, the sophomore site of MC2 STEM has been embedded in the GE Lighting Headquarters at Nela Park in East Cleveland, Ohio, since 2009.
The school, which focuses on STEM curricula and activities, is part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, one of the most economically challenged school districts in the country. While CMSD graduates students at about 60 percent, MC2 STEM graduated four classes thus far at an average of 94 percent. We have more than 175 volunteers from within GE giving 2,600+ hours annually as tutors, mentors, buddies and even instructors to the 100 sophomores at the school. At any given time, you may see students immersed in workshops with employees from our technology division or in rigorous projects and mentorship programs with our engineers.
The goal is to provide these students with an integrated curriculum informed by real-world experiences. We seek to address the skills they will need to succeed as professionals as industry maintains a continued focus on uniting the physical digital worlds through technology. Nearly a decade ago, our GE team had the foresight to place a big bet on what we call the Industrial Internet. As more and more personal and home devices became connected to the Internet of Things, GE was focusing on the possibilities connectivity holds for bigger business and public operations. Imagine industrial factories where machinery alerts facilities managers of maintenance issues before they impact production. Or transportation vehicles that automatically update schedules from coast to coast in real time. Or streetlights that can do anything from helping cities detect and respond to gunfire incidents to showing residents where to find parking spaces. The Industrial Internet means we are connecting to the big things that make our world run to help them run better.
By engaging youth early through STEM based initiatives such as MC2 STEM, we expose them to opportunities that they may not have known existed. We are working to bring about the next generation of talent and leadership that will help us realize the incredible power of the Industrial Internet. Mentorships and apprenticeships like those we pursue with our STEM students build a different skill than that learned from textbooks or even projects that only take place within a traditional scholastic environment – they are challenged with real world assignments, experience failure and success. We want students to work in diverse teams, teams which make them think differently and learn how to work with a broad spectrum of backgrounds.
When tackling the most pressing education challenges in the STEM system, the value and utility of public-private partnerships must not be overlooked. We are proof positive of the benefits at GE as seen through the success of MC2 STEM. The endeavor was a truly comprehensive community effort in which corporations, government and non-profits came together with CMSD. The union and teachers flexed to give up seniority based models, public schools partnered with charters to fill gaps, and businesses stood by to provide support and funding. The underlying belief fueling this partnership – every child should have the opportunity to attend a high-quality school that prepares them to compete in a global economy reliant upon talent to digitize industry.
Our world is rapidly changing, and the demand for innovators proficient in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math has never been greater. We have a responsibility to create, foster and support educational opportunities to help develop such innovators. I am so very proud of the work we have done with MC2 STEM High School, and look forward to watching this next generation of leaders deliver new and exciting solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.