Setting your trajectory for 2017

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!  First off, I must apologize and ask forgiveness for a long absence here on the blog for How to Be a Rocket Scientist.  I hope your 2016 was a happy, healthy, and rewarding year. Mine was full of adventure… some intentional and some unexpected. I had to devote a lot of time and energy to maneuvering through those (which I’ll explain a little more shortly).

If you missed seeing more from me, thanks very much!  I’m humbled.  If you want to get more frequent posts or thoughts from me in 2017, please like the Facebook page for the book.  In 2016 I found that this was easier and more likely to be the place for me to share relevant news or articles (or tips) about aerospace and aviation careers.

The other platform I will recommend is Twitter, where I am @BrettRocketSci. I tweet about more than rocket science there but 95% of it is related to aerospace, engineering, and drones.

With the new year, it’s an essential time to reflect on last year and think about your goals for the New Year.  And do more than think!  Plan, and then ACT!

What are your goals with rocket science, aerospace, or aviation in 2017?

If you want to share them with me I will be honored and humbled to read them.  Then I’ll make an honest effort to suggest some particular tips or things to be careful of, if you wish.

Whether you share them with me or not, I hope you take the time and effort to go through this process.  Every year (and every day) we are alive is a gift.  It is an opportunity to learn, to act, and to improve.  To either persist on our current course or to make a valuable course correction toward our ultimate goals.

With this attitude and determination every day, you will find yourself in a much different — and much better — place at the end of the year.

For me, I started this year in San Antonio, Texas working as a project manager in an industry outside of aerospace.  This was a very valuable and rewarding experience, being a demanding high-tech and hands-on industry.  But it was also a tough learning experience in a few ways.  One big lesson was to accept that my strengths, passions, and expertise are heavily focused in the aerospace fields.  Divorcing myself completely from this part of me was not a recipe for long term success.

I ended the year in a new location and with a new focus.  I’ll share that with you now along with my 3 big goals for 2017.  If you see a common interest in any of these with yourself, please let me know.  One of them is still very aligned with the book, this website, and my blog.  So I look forward to staying in touch and engaged with you in 2017!

Goal #1: Be a valued leader in the Sacramento aerospace region

During 2016 I relocated to Folsom in northern California, thanks to my wife and her career.  Texas was fun and amazing with tremendous benefits. But we are thrilled to be living in the beautiful Golden State now with its deep roots of innovation and abundance.

The Sacramento aerospace scene is impressive, as I wrote about in another blog post.  Like every industry in any region of the country, however, it is going through major adjustments and challenges.  Companies will need people and projects that focus on unique customer value, innovate ahead of the competition, and leverage the unique strengths of their organization.  If you are in the Sacramento region with any ties to the aviation or aerospace community and we haven’t been introduced to each other yet, please reach out to me.  I will love to learn more about you and your efforts so we can make 2017 a fantastic year for you.

Goal #2: Build a safe, secure, sustainable, and abundant commercial drone ecosystem

Living in northern California, there are a lot of agricultural themes and analogies here.  This region grows and produces enough food to feed the entire country!  But it’s very appropriate for the young and developing commercial unmanned aerial system (UAS) or drone industry too.

As I wrote about here, we are in the dawn of a new era in aviation.  It would be a tragic waste for me to miss out on this unique point in history, so I am working “in the fields” with many other innovators and leaders in the commercial drone industry to help this convergence of innovative technologies benefit individuals, companies, and communities across the world.  Here are I am at a drone expo that was held in Las Vegas in 2016:


This is where my experiences both inside and outside of aerospace seem to create a magic combination. Drones are providing benefits to diverse industries that never (or rarely) employed aviation systems.  Now that is changing with drones. They need someone who can be the “bridge” or “glue” to help them integrate these complex systems legally, safely, and effectively into their operations to reduce costs, increase profits, and grow their business.  If those are your goals for 2017 and you want to benefit from drones before your competition does, let’s get in touch.

Goal #3: Ensure a vibrant and successful aerospace future by helping students and professionals innovate in their careers

Innovation is about much more than technology.  Rocket science was a shining example of our industrial age.  (We can’t forget that the Chinese actually started it about 500 years ago.) But we have left the Industrial Age and are now in the Digital Age.  We still need industrial skills and technologies such as engineering and physics.  But the previous ways of learning, of working, and of doing things has changed.  It must change!  We must change along with these times.

That is why I wrote the book “How To Be a Rocket Scientist.”  Inside the book, you will find 10 powerful tips to help you launch your own career from wherever or whoever you are now.  It doesn’t take a college degree to get started!  Or if you have that college degree – even some work experience – and are looking for income-generating work in your niche, these 10 tips will help you too.

This is why I’m also involved in some other initiatives like the Diversity Working Group of AIAA.  We benefit from (and actually need) people from many different backgrounds and with many unique ideas to join us in the aerospace community.  If you are a member of AIAA or are looking for a professional organization to help you succeed in your career, I encourage you to join AIAA and get engaged with the DWG through that website.

The Digital Age has also led to a rebirth in entrepreneurship. Collaboration. Individual empowerment. Creativity. Innovation.

I didn’t have to ask for anyone’s permission to write and publish this book.  To make this website. To write this blog post.

What would you love to do if you didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission?

You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to set some meaningful and audacious goals for yourself in 2017.

Then make a plan to achieve them.

Then get to work on your plan.

Thanks for reading this article.  Thanks most of all for making the decision to do great things in 2017.  I look forward to enjoying the journey with you.


About Brett Rocket Scientist

Brett creates artful work in engineering, ideas, and innovation. In addition to 2 degrees, 3 patents, and over 15 years experience in aerospace engineering, he is the author of several books to foster STEM careers. He volunteers his time and skills as an officer with professional societies.

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