July 1, 2020

“Great Bay gave me impressive mental tools for troubleshooting problems and constantly having an innovative mindset.”

A certificate from GBCC led this student to exciting careers in aerospace and composite manufacturing.

Great Bay Community College gave Tylor Palmer the skills to succeed in a career in advanced composite manufacturing. But his time at the college offered him so much more. “Great Bay gave me impressive mental tools for troubleshooting problems and constantly having an innovative mindset,” he said.

Palmer studied fundamentals in composites and bonding at Great Bay’s Advanced Technology and Academic Center in 2013, earning a short-term certificate. He worked at Safran for two years, then moved to California to join the aerospace industry. While in California, he worked for the Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX. Elon Musk founded the private aerospace company with a goal of colonizing Mars.

In a short time, he went from studying a new science to exploring space technologies thanks to an innovate mindset that he began developing at a student at Great Bay. At SpaceX, Palmer worked as a composite technician building some of the massive parts that are atop the Falcon 9 rocket.

He joined SpaceX because of the company’s vision and its willingness to face near-impossible challenges with innovation and technology. “The idea of moving civilization to other planets is motivating, especially when surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people,” he said. “Working on a project that aims toward the impossible is a thrilling challenge.”

Palmer is back in New Hampshire, working in advanced composite manufacturing for a company that builds medical equipment.

Among the lessons he retains from his work at SpaceX, as well as his time at Great Bay, is that of teamwork and cooperation and working toward a larger goal. “You need your team. There are no heroes in massive projects like the example of building a rocket. Everyone does their part,” he said. “The SpaceX team was massive and being a part of that was an honor.”

The other lesson learned over the arc of his career, beginning at Great Bay, is the importance of asking questions and being patient. “It is important to never rush a project. Quality takes time,” he said.

When he enrolled in 2013, Palmer was working at a distribution center, uncertain of his future. He was curious about the science of advanced composites and interested in the message of Great Bay professors who showed him a path forward – from New Hampshire to California to Mars.

“When I enrolled, I was strictly focused on the new science that I had just stumbled on. During my duration there I was inspired by the professors who led the labs and they helped me aim myself into the direction I pursued,” he said.