Granny flying high as Boeing engineer

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 01 Jan 2003


KUALA LUMPUR: Armed with a Malaysian Certificate of Education, homemaker Maimun Hassan Ringold left Malaysia with her American husband for the United States in 1969 when she was 20 years old. 

Three decades later, Maimun is now a successful career woman where she is responsible in ensuring that material used or recommended by design engineers meet the specifications for the interior of Boeing planes. 

Maimun, 53, is a materials and processes engineer for commercial airplanes in the Boeing company. 

Maimun left as a young bride of a Peace Corps member and spent the next 21 years as a wife, mother and homemaker in Seattle. 

“My children and family life is important to me and that made me dedicate those years to the growing period of my children,” she said in a recent interview at her sister’s house in Ampang Jaya. 

FULL OF ZEST ... Maimun, a grandmother, went back to her studies when her children left the nest.

Maimun was back in Malaysia for her customary visit every alternate year and this year was even more memorable as she managed to help out and attend her niece’s wedding. 

The petite, short-haired woman, whose vitality and zest for adventure belies her age, spent a greater part of her years in the US caring for her two children, a girl and a boy, and even managed to inculcate Malaysian and Muslim values in her children. 

As her children entered high school , Maimun toyed with the idea of going back to school. 

With her family's support, Maimun enrolled in the University of Washington where she graduated in 1990 with a degree in Materials And Science and later landed a job with Microsoft. 

“I was with Microsoft for a year in software support, and for the next couple of years at Interport, which produced integrated circuits,” she said. 

Maimun later joined Siemens Medical System where she remained for several years, overseeing the manufacturing of ultrasound machines. 

She joined Boeing about four years ago, taking up the post as a custodian of materials that are used for the interior of Boeing planes. 

“It is very much a desk-bound job but the challenge is in ensuring that the materials used or recommended or suggested by the design engineers meet the specifications for the planes. 

Her job at the Boeing Materials Technology, a subsidiary of the parent company, can be tedious but her love for challenges often keeps her captivated.  

“My motto is – Go for it! No matter what, the most important thing is to have it in you to forge ahead and make the best of what you want the future to be,” she said. 

She’s proving it yet again as she races against time to complete a few more flying hours before she gets her piloting licence. 

“For now, I am just enjoying the ride in the skies. It is a skill Boeing encourages us to pick up but for me, I just enjoy this sport,” said the gutsy grandmother of a year-old toddler.  

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