Inspiring the Next Generation: Meet Tim

By Jillian Wright

With monumental achievements such as sending the first humans to the Moon, developing the International Space Station and advancing high-speed flight, the aerospace industry has always inspired and amazed Tim.

“That comes from my grandfather who fought in World War II,” he said. “When I was growing up, he was always taking me to airshows and sharing with me about the U.S. Air Force, and he was fascinated by airplanes and flight.”

Carrying these experiences with him throughout his career, Tim is a technical fellow leading the technology and strategy efforts for Northrop Grumman’s Propulsion Systems and Controls operating unit in Elkton, Maryland. Currently he and his team are taking additively-manufactured continuous fiber reinforced composite materials and turning them into high-temperature materials for applications in hypersonic vehicles.

White man wearing safety goggles works in workshop

“I’m leading the effort to develop and characterize those materials and evaluate their performance for those applications,” he said. “What’s really exciting about my role and what we’re doing on our current project is that it’s a great opportunity to solve hard problems that no one has addressed before.”

For Tim, a 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineer of the Year award recipient, creative problem-solving helps him define what’s possible in his work every day.

“It’s interesting to see how everyone thinks of engineering as numbers and hard science, but there’s a strong creativity aspect to be able to address the challenges,” he said. “The excitement of engineering is being creative to solve those unique challenges when you’re trying to create new products, improve existing ones and develop the next generation of technologies.”

Another one of Tim’s passions he fulfils through his work is helping to support the warfighter. He’s looking ahead to new chapter as the company breaks ground in July to start developing a Hypersonics Center of Excellence in Elkton.

“This is really a leapfrog in production capabilities for our site as well as for the country,” he said. “It’s going to lead directly to supporting the warfighter by providing them the tools they need to defend our freedoms and our way of life.”

Older man and young child stand outside watching toy rocket fly up

As chairperson of Northrop Grumman’s local STEM council, Tim also finds fulfillment through community outreach in the classroom by judging science fairs, participating in “Career Day,” conducting STEM student activities, sponsoring scholarships, and more. What’s important is being able to share his excitement for aerospace with children the way his grandfather did with him.

“What he shared with me when I was growing up, I’ve wanted to share with the next generation,” he said. “It’s always fun to give back to the students and share with them the great experiences the industry provides that I enjoy so much.”

For those interested in pursuing a career in engineering, Tim recommends exploring personal passions and approaching every opportunity with an open mind.

“Make sure you’re doing something you’re passionate about that you enjoy doing every day because that will keep you going,” he said. “And be open to opportunities you wouldn’t normally consider to get different experiences and exposure to different aspects of the company. That can lead you to some unique places.”

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