Young Entrepreneur Spotlight: Connor Tinker

Date: August 02, 2016

Tinker Consulting helps people turn ideas into reality with engineering solutions.

Young Entrepreneur Spotlight: Connor Tinker

“Everyone wants the ability to turn their ideas into reality,
but not everyone has the skills or resources to do so,” said Connor
Tinker, winner of the NFIB/DDC Advocacy Young Entrepreneur Award.

It
was this realization that helped lead to the founding of Tinker’s
engineering consulting company, Tinker Consulting, in June 2015. In the
past few years, Tinker noticed daily how useful it was to have the
skills and tools necessary to make things. From Christmas gifts to home
décor to school projects, there were countless ways he could integrate
engineering into his daily life. He would make something, share it
online, and get immense positive feedback from friends and others, so it
gave him an idea for a niche business.

“Giving people this
ability means not only being able to solve people’s problems and make
people smile, but it inspires others to join STEM [science, technology,
engineering, and math],” he said. “When young kids get gifts that were
machine-made on a laser engraver or 3-D printed, they become curious as
to how it works and they get introduced to the technology far earlier
than they normally would. I enjoy introducing these technologies to
other people, as I am passionate about engineering and love to inspire
others.”

Tinker Consulting provides professional design and
manufacturing solutions to individuals, small businesses, schools, and
nonprofit organizations. Some of their capabilities include high-volume
3-D printing, vinyl cutting, laser engraving/etching, laser cutting, and
manual machining. The individualized and one-on-one process is founded
on participation and collaboration between customer and maker, which
sets the business apart from a standard machine shop or online printing
service.

These solutions have been so unique, interesting, and
advanced that word of mouth is a major driver of business growth: Tinker
said nearly half of their projects in the past year have come from
recommendations from previous customers.

As the business grew,
Tinker’s schedule grew even more hectic. He said the biggest challenge
of running a small business as a young entrepreneur was doing so on top
of school, extracurricular activities, and work at The Johns Hopkins
Applied Physics Laboratory. The experience reinforced what he already
knew: that time is precious, and the way we spend it is extremely
important.

It also helped him realize that he would need to take a
break from the business when he heads to Purdue University. In addition
to his studies, he plans to attend pilot school, play on Purdue’s
Ultimate Frisbee team, and mentor and volunteer in a local robotics
program. In the end, he decided it would be best to focus completely on
his education for the next 4-6 years.

However, in the future,
Tinker aims to expand his business nationally—it’s currently focused on
the market in Central Maryland; Tinker is from Clarksville—and to larger
engineering industry organizations.

“For as long as I can
remember, I have always loved helping people, and I have always loved
creating things,” Tinker said. “This business combines these passions
and gives me the ability to make my customers’ dreams a reality. People
come to me with ideas, and through brainstorming and design, this idea
becomes a product. I love how happy people are when I bring them their
product; it inspires me to be better.”

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