Allen S. Novick

Vice President, Marketing Intelligence and Support
Rolls-Royce Corp.
BSAE ’65, MSAE ’67, PhD ’72 (Aeronautics and Astronautics)

For his technical and managerial leadership in the production of commercial aircraft engines, and for his commitment to bettering industry in Indiana.

A Serendipitous Journey

Allen Novick’s career as an aeronautical engineer began somewhat by chance. “When I was in high school, I was told I was good in math, and I liked the sciences,” he says. “In those days, with those traits you should be an engineer. I thought: okay, I’d like to be an engineer. I can’t say that I truly knew what it all entailed.”

From the moment he began his journey to Purdue, fortuitous circumstances led him to aeronautics. “I got on an airplane at Boston’s Logan airport and flew out here,” Novick remembers. “I had what I will call a ‘unique experience’ in that I flew into the Purdue airport from Chicago on a Lake Central Airlines DC-3. That was an experience into itself, and it was the first time I ever flew.

“Then during the first couple of days in Lafayette, I walked around campus and tried to get my bearings,” Novick continues. “I walked by the aeronautical and engineering sciences building and very frankly said to myself: gee, that sounds neat. As a country, we were all interested in space at that time [the early ’60s]. I decided right then and there that that’s what I wanted to major in.”

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, Novick received job offers from several companies but decided instead to continue his education. “I realized from having interviewed what the long-term benefit of having a Purdue graduate degree would be,” explains Novick, “because Purdue then and today has a super reputation, and there was no doubt that the degrees would open doors for me.”

When Novick completed his PhD, he moved back east with his family. “I had an opportunity to interview with Detroit Diesel Allison in Indianapolis, but I turned it down because we were going back to Massachusetts,” says Novick. “We decided after we moved that we really liked it in Indiana, so I called Allison back and asked them to reconsider me if they had not found anyone.” As fortune would have it, the position was still open, and Novick’s stellar career took off.

The Cost of Excellence

Novick’s initial activities involved many aspects of turbine engine research and technology which over time centered on the development of PropFan technologies. “We tried to get the best of two worlds: the efficiency of a propeller and the speed of a turbofan,” explains Novick.

He led Allison’s activities in winning the power plant selections on both Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas offerings for the NASA PropFan Test Assessment program and was the managing director of a partnership with Pratt & Whitney to develop PropFan engines for commercial airliners. His leadership in PropFan technology culminated in the company winning its first Collier Award, which recognizes the greatest achievement in aeronautics and astronautics in America, and he was the recipient of an Aviation Week Laurels award in 1987.

Novick’s insight then led to the development of the AE Common Core engine family, where the same turbo machinery is used to make three different engine concepts. The common core engine family concept has been instrumental in reducing production cost and has been a cornerstone of Rolls-Royce business in Indianapolis (Rolls-Royce purchased Allison Engine Co. in 1995). “We’re the only ones who have been successful in creating a common core engine family,” says Novick. As Vice President of Allison’s Large Commercial Engines he led the campaigns to winning engine competitions on seven aircraft. These successes launched Allison into the commercial regional airline, corporate jet and unmanned air vehicle market sectors. Two of the aircraft, Citation X and Global Hawk, were also Collier Award winners.

He later developed the “cost excellence” philosophy and organizational structure, a measure that has been instrumental in contributing to Rolls-Royce’s success. “We are a highly competitive industry,” Novick says. “Cost is becoming a very dominant aspect of the business. The way to make money today is to reduce your cost, but there is only so much you can do by going around and cajoling your suppliers to reduce cost.”

Instead, Novick introduced a new factor into the engineering parameter. “We created what we call the philosophy of cost consciousness,” explains Novick. “We put together an organization that did nothing but work on cost: to design for cost, to take existing parts and redesign them, to get the engineers to start to put cost into their matrix and parameters in addition to everything else that they worried about.”

The idea of cost consciousness caught on quickly. “We started it here in Indianapolis, and about a year later, Rolls-Royce in the UK adopted it.”

Building a Team

Novick attributes his success to his ability to create a community with common goals. “It’s an interactive environment that we are in today,” he says. “During school you learned as an individual; you try to absorb everything and you are working for your own grade. In today’s world—in industry—it’s teamwork that gets the job done.”

This understanding has led Novick to be a cofounder in the Indiana Advanced Aerospace Manufacturing Alliance. “It’s a voluntary organization where manufacturers cooperate together in order to advance the state of aerospace manufacturing in Indiana,” he explains. “We’ll work to get funding to advance technology, and get exposure for Indiana companies to others in the aerospace industry who might buy from them.”

The alliance helps mainly smaller businesses and aims not only to advance manufacturing technology but also to help create more jobs in Indiana. “It’s an exciting adventure,” says Novick, “and something we can hopefully make an impact through.”

2005 Founding Member, Indiana Advanced Aerospace Manufacturing Alliance
2004– Vice President, Marketing_Intelligence and Support,_Rolls-Royce Corp.
2004 Lifetime Achievement Award Nominee, Regional Airline World
2002 Vice President, Cost Excellence, Rolls-Royce Corp.
1999 Air Breathing Propulsion Award, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Vice President, Supplier Relationships, Rolls-Royce Corp.
1993 Vice President, Large Commercial Engines, Allison Engine Co.
1989 Director, Large Aircraft Engines, Allison Gas Turbine Division, GMC
1988 Allison wins Collier Trophy_for PropFan technology
1987 Laurels, Aviation Week and Space Technology
1984 Director, Business Development, Advanced Large Aircraft Engines, Allison Gas Turbine Division, GMC
1982 Best Paper of the Year, ASME Journal of Engineering for Power
Chief Project Engineer, Allison Gas Turbine Division, GMC
1972 Senior Research Engineer, Allison Gas Turbine Division, GMC
1965– Graduate Instructor,
1972 Purdue

BSAE ’65, MSAE ’67, PhD ’72, Purdue University