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Meet a #futureshaper: Sean Byrnes

Here’s how he’s making taxis fly

With a military background, Sean Byrnes knows how to think strategically.

He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and then served in the United States Army for five years.

Now, he grows our actuation business, which includes the widgets that move parts on planes, space shuttles and missiles. He's taking that expertise to new technologies in transportation.

“Air taxis won’t work if they can’t be steered,” Sean said. “We are figuring out how to do that, to ensure these vehicles go where they need to go and perform as expected.”

Based in Tempe, here’s his #futureshaper story:

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an Army officer, then maybe work in the foreign service with the State Department or become James Bond. Leading teams and working internationally were my goals, but when I was a child, I didn’t know other ways to do that. Now I get to do all of that—travel internationally, work with cool, cutting-edge technology—all without the danger, bureaucracy, or politics.

What do you do?

I manage the growth, business development and marketing activities for Honeywell’s Actuation and Motion Control Product line. Actuation and Motion Controls refers to the types of products that mechanically move different widgets on aircraft, missiles and rockets—think the flaps on the wing of an aircraft, the things that open and close valves, or things that wiggle the fins on a missile.

Why is the future important?

The future is our legacy. What we make the future is what we will leave behind for the next generations.

How does your job make tomorrow better/safer than today?

My job is helping develop the new technologies in transportation. It is developing the solutions to the problems of how we will mechanically steer and control air taxis and short-range aircraft. Air taxis won’t work if they can’t be steered. We are figuring out how to do that, to ensure these vehicles go where they need to go and perform as expected.

What qualities do you think a #futureshaper should have?

A #futureshaper must have a vision of what the future needs. It requires looking ahead to the technical challenges we are going to face, then finding creative solutions to solve those problems. They need to use a mix of experience in the old ways of doing things, with the willingness to try, and sometimes fail at, something new.

What do you for fun?

I obviously love to travel. If I’m not traveling for work, I will always find myself exploring new areas. They may be close to home, or a short flight away from Phoenix on a weekend. I get itchy if I haven’t left the state in a month or the country in 90 days.

I also stay physically active. I work out and run every day, even when I’m travelling to 6 different countries in two weeks. For example, after I got off the plane from the US in Prague two weeks ago and got to the hotel, I went straight out for a 3 kilometer run to a nearby castle. 

Learn more about what it is like to be a #futureshaper.