George Fouche: Haiti native overcomes obstacles to flourish at GE Digital
“Computer engineering is a good blend of computer science and electrical engineering,” says George Fouche (’11 CMPEN). “It was almost like getting two degrees for the price of one.”
George was born in New York but raised in Haiti. In 2004, during a period of civil unrest in his home country of Haiti, he moved back to New York to live with his uncle and was inspired by one of his high school teachers to go to a university and study computer engineering.
The first in his family to attend college in the U.S., George began his studies at Penn State Altoona, where he formed friendships and learned teambuilding skills as a member of the SAE Baja team, which designs and fabricates a single-seat, all-terrain vehicle.
When George transferred to the University Park campus his junior year, he was able to build upon that experience when he joined the Penn State Formula SAE team and started his work study at the Student Space Programs Laboratory (SSPL).
One of his most memorable experiences as an undergraduate was completing an international internship at the Jokey Plastik plant in France, where he designed, built, and tested a system for producing bottle caps through the use of Automated Robots. George, as a native French speaker, also served as an English-to-French interpreter and translator for the enterprise.
“The job description said ‘must speak French,’ but when I got there, I was forbidden from speaking the language because my manager wanted everyone to practice their English,” laughs George.
In 2010 a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, causing financial strains on George’s immediate family. He initially thought he was going to have to drop out of school due to these financial hardships, but George says his Penn State family, the Multicultural Engineering Program Office, pulled through to help him finish his studies.
“Helen Edson, a member of the Multicultural Engineering Program Office, was especially supportive and found financial resources for me so that I could continue my education to become an engineer,” recalls George.
After graduating in December 2011, George stayed at Penn State to finish the research he was doing in the SSPL on energy harvesting technologies for wireless sensors.
He also completed a Robotics Research Internship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute where he assisted with running multi-robot experiments that can help during natural disasters, and mentored summer scholars.
In early 2013, George was hired as a software engineer by Image Access Corporation in New Jersey where he assisted with developing imaging capture software.
Later that year, George joined GE Healthcare in Wisconsin. His responsibilities as a software engineer included developing an IoT software platform for delivering on-product service connectivity, and developing a hybrid cross-platform mobile app, for Android and IOS, by leveraging web technologies for the GE Edison project.
George liked Wisconsin but soon decided that California might have more opportunities to advance in his career. He completed GE’s Advanced Course in Engineering program, applied to GE Digital in California, and was hired in May 2016.
As a software engineer at GE Digital, George is on a mission to provide software and services for building industrial internet mobile apps using the Predix platform.
He is extremely proud that his team, Predix mobile, was recognized in January with TechTarget’s 2017 Modern Mobility Innovation Award for its role in providing offline and synchronization capabilities.
In addition to his technical responsibilities at GE Digital, George relishes his coworkers’ passion for their work, noting “they want to be the best at what they do.”
George resides in Walnut Creek, CA.