Tyrone Jacobs Jr.
Electrical Materials Process and Physics Engineer
7:45 AM: He arrives to the Boeing’s El Segundo office, puts his stuff down, sets up his computer and charges all his devices. Since he’s in a little earlier than expected, this is time where he could grab some breakfast and center himself a little before diving in.
If you’re only familiar with Boeing through the headlines you see, you’d probably be surprised to know they’re working on so many other things other than planes and aviation. The El Segundo office is where you’ll find the company’s center for Boeing’s satellites, which include all the intelligence gathered from government and commercial satellite systems. That’s where Tyrone comes in—he’s working on building the hardware for those satellites.
These satellites could be used for strategic defense information for governments, space research, global communications, navigation and other top-secret use cases.
Tyrone was ready to jump into the big task of the day: quality conformance inspection data reviews on the parts that they’re using for the satellites Boeing’s building. Those parts could be connectors, magnetics, capacitors, you name it!
Sometimes, there are days where Tyrone multitasks between many projects at once, but on this day, this project was a high priority, so that’s all he focused on.
- The purpose: to contribute to Boeing’s various satellite programs
- The objective: to verify the manufacturer’s parts is up to Boeing’s requirements and standards.
Whether you're a components engineer or not, if you pay for something, you want to be sure that that part you paid for is doing what it says it can do. That verification process is time-consuming and requires a thorough inspection from Tyrone.
He has to make sure that the supplier he's working with have tested and quantified the parts they ordered to Boeing’s standards. How, you ask?
The vendors run simulations similar to the conditions the parts with experience in space—since that's where the parts will end up eventually—and record their findings. The vendors then write up a detailed report that includes the conditions the parts experienced, for how long, at what velocity etc.
Tyrone and his colleagues then take that report and go through it with a fine-toothed comb while also conducting their own experiments to verify the part's function is in line with the satellite planning on being built.
Tyrone is still working on quality conformance inspection data reviews on the parts mentioned earlier in. Another function of his job is to provide strategic counsel and advise designers with insight from his work to inform future part designs and part purchases.
Tyrone mentioned that, as engineers, they aren’t involved in the contract phase with suppliers and manufacturers. But if you’re wondering how much these parts cost—it depends on the part you're ordering—but you can expect the price tag to be in the thousands AT LEAST!
That's why Tyrone's perspective is considered when purchasing parts. Since he's working with the parts so closely and they cost so much, it's important to try and get the right part purchased the first time.
He may be working on the same task all day, but that doesn’t mean he’s glued to his desk... Tyrone likes to take short breaks to decompress or briefly check social media—time to spread some positive vibes!
Tyrone is known on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat as "Mr. Positive Vibes," a public persona-and-lifestyle to promote his personal brand and values. Tyrone believes your 9-5 job doesn't have to be the main aspect of your identity—he loves his job and engineering but what matters most to him is his character and his integrity.
It does not matter to me what money I make, what superficial and material items I may posses—that is not enough to motivate and drive me. What matters to me is how I treat others, how I try and be a blessing to others, especially those who cannot help me or do anything in return.
So how does one take that passion for helping people and turn it into something meaningful? You start by practicing what you preach—he started by simply posting and sharing positivity on his social media channels.
The genesis of Mr. Positive Vibes sprung from feeling doubtful, depressed and unsure about his future one day as an undergrad student. He knew he wanted to be successful. He knew he had the potential to be great. He knew he had to work hard to achieve his goals.
However, negative thoughts kept clouding his positivity—he was unsure how given the circumstances he grew up in and the lack of resources and courage to reach out for help. Instead of dwelling on the "what if" or "what could be" that would drag him down, he decided to use his voice and speak out—put his feelings and aspirations out into the world in a public Facebook post—and vowed to always try to see the positive in every situation.
It was just really just a form of self expression... You know, how I want it to get better, how I wanted to become better and how I didn't really want to live my life the way that I was living... I wanted better circumstances. I wanted to work harder. I wanted to feel better about myself.
Today, he's used his growing presence and platforms to land speaking gigs and explore the option of becoming a motivational coach. When asked if this aspect of his identity would ever cause Tyrone to quit engineering and pursue this business full-time, he said it's a possibility, but not right now.
"I'm always going to be an engineer in my heart."
Tyrone wrapped up his day at the office and headed home to get ready for class. As we mentioned, this particular day focused on one particular task but another aspect of his job he loves is his involvement with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) as a full-time employee at Boeing and as a volunteer and leader.
Tyrone's role as Boeing's NSBE Recruitment Lead gives him a mentorship-and-recruitment opportunity to give back to the organization that's done so much for his career and pay it forward to the next generation of Black engineers. He's also involved with Boeing's Black Employee Association as the Vice President to help "further personal and professional development, promote diversity within the company and strengthen networking," according to Boeing's website.
NSBE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. Tyrone said the mission, as stated on their website as well, is "to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers to excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community."
Black men receive under 9 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics from 2018, while black women receive about 1 percent. When deciding whether or not to become an engineer in the first place, Tyrone didn't need a study or a report to believe those stats were true—all he had to do was look around at the racial and ethnic makeups of his classes and workspaces.
It was that realization coupled with the depression and anxiety he was feeling in his formative years that inspired him to take action, seek assistance and find a like-minded community to belong to by joining NSBE back in 2014 where he continues to be involved to this day. He recently became elected to become NSBE's Region VI Professionals Chair for the 2020-2021 term.
Tyrone came home, changed, grabbed his laptop and back out he went to attend class.
He’s currently enrolled in the University of Southern California’s Astronautical Engineering program.
His goal is to eventually become a space engineer and the program teaches him not only how to build satellites, like he is doing now, but also how to design, build and operate rockets and missiles, space launchers, space navigational systems, and planetary probes.
Tyrone has had a long day, so he went home, watched some TV to unwind, took a shower, and went to bed.