Feb 15, 2022
Boom’s VP of Manufacturing is Ready to Open the Factory Floor
Chris Taylor has a vision for Boom to realize its mission at the Overture Superfactory
Chris Taylor knew he wanted to work in manufacturing before he even went to college – and to this day, he loves to get excited about building a new product. His next project? That’ll be Overture, Boom’s supersonic commercial airliner.
Taylor is Boom’s newly-appointed vice president of manufacturing, based at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina: the site of the Overture Superfactory. As Boom’s first Greensboro hire, he’s responsible for developing the manufacturing facility and processes.
We sat down with Taylor to learn more about his passion for aviation and Boom’s vision for the Superfactory.
Stomping Around in Mud to Turn Design into Reality
Chris Taylor: I’m responsible for manufacturing and delivering Overture to the flight test team. That begins with building a team to establish processes required to turn design into reality and to execute all those strategies safely with a high degree of quality — on schedule and on time.
During my first year in Greensboro, I’ll be stomping around in mud while crews prepare the site and construct the physical building. I’ll also be traveling in support of the many suppliers and partners who are building tools and components for us.
Currently, I’m establishing an operating plan to take learnings from XB-1 to build a larger scale facility and set a cadence for the production line. When construction is complete, I’ll spend a lot of time on the manufacturing floor, where I love to be.
I’m very excited to start building out our team in Greensboro. The state and local officials in North Carolina are ideal partners for Boom as we build the supersonic future. And, the level of community support showed me immediately that this is the right place to be. There are also hundreds of aerospace companies and suppliers in North Carolina. It’s such a great opportunity for Boom and we are proud to help North Carolina's aerospace footprint to grow.
Aircraft Manufacturing: An Unintentional But Lucky Career Path
For me, going into manufacturing was very intentional. I always wanted to work in a factory and find ways to help technicians do their jobs better and to make them feel more empowered in the work they do. That meant supporting the people building the product, whatever that product was.
Going into aviation and aerospace was less intentional. Although I knew I wanted to work in manufacturing before college, I didn’t initially care what the product was. (Maybe I should have known where I would have ended up, because as a kid, I built WWII model airplanes as a hobby.)
When I was in college at Georgia Institute of Technology, I joined the co-op program. These exist so college students can get real-world work experience, alongside their classes. Luckily for me, Gulfstream, which was the only aerospace business at the time in my hometown of Savannah, Georgia, was just beginning to participate in the program. I ended up landing a co-op job with Gulfstream and I didn’t leave for nearly four decades. That experience as a co-op student, where I was actually in the tool shop as a toolmaker, immediately showed me I was on the right career path.
I am always motivated by wanting to make everything better for people who work in the factory. But I am also motivated by the end product. Even if, over the course of a project, something isn't going my way, walking out on the factory floor and seeing something incredible being built drives me. It reinforces why I do what I do. The product has to be inspiring — and for me, that’s Overture.
Driven by Boom’s Leadership and Mission
I had a great experience working with Brian Durrence (Boom’s Chief Technology Officer) and Troy Follak (Boom’s Senior Vice President of Engineering and Overture’s Chief Engineer) on the Gulfstream G650 development. They were always open to everything manufacturing wanted to improve. Their teams listened to us, and they both fostered a relationship of collaboration. They made it easy to say yes when presented with the chance to work with them again at Boom.
It was initially difficult to leave my comfort zone. But, when I walked in the door at Boom, I could feel the excitement. And it felt like everyone was doing something really extraordinary. When I looked at the size of the opportunity, how could I not get excited about tackling that?
In any organization, there is always the challenge of rapid growth. To go from a couple hundred people to several thousand in a very short time, while developing a system to operate under, is a challenge. But it’s a rich and exciting challenge. The opportunity lies when we hit milestones, like the one we just achieved by selecting the site of the Overture Superfactory. With each goal we meet, we get closer to the supersonic future.
I am thrilled to begin work at an innovative company with a culture of collaboration. Boom’s leadership has created a unique work environment and culture that can be taken to even bigger heights with great people. At Boom, you’re not just a number. You can do so much more than occupy a desk. You can apply yourself 100 percent to everything, no matter the task. Your work is rewarding because you are personally contributing to such an audacious goal.