15 Jul Christopher Allison and Jake Fuhrman: Boettcher Scholars Chase Dreams Together
Christopher always wanted to be an astronaut – and that’s still his dream. A 2009 Scholar, he majored in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, the same program Jake is in as a 2017 Scholar. Both Scholars shared a few of the same professors.
“CU was the obvious go-to for aerospace,” said Jake. He always wanted to build airplanes after growing up watching his dad fly them as a pilot.
After graduating, Christopher traveled to all seven continents and even ran his first half-marathon in Antarctica. He currently owns four restaurants in addition to his Senior Systems Engineer – Federal Agencies Integration Lead position at Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). At SNC, Christopher is responsible for licensing high-tech projects through the appropriate federal agencies.
“Basically, I’m a translator of technical-speak to government-speak,” Christopher said.
Jake is a Technical Intern at SNC, a position he had applied for as a sophomore and junior but had received rejections both times. He applied a third time after seeing Christopher’s profile in a newsletter from the Presidents Leadership Class, a leadership program at CU Boulder that both Scholars were (and are) involved in. Jake reached out to Christopher and they connected as Boettcher Scholars.
“I knew the cloth Jake was cut from,” said Christopher. “The vetting had been done from other organizations.”
As a Technical Intern, Jake has a plethora of different projects he’s working on.
“My main focus right now is taking a high-level overview of a project – a whole life cycle – and breaking it down into individual steps,” Jake said.
Christopher’s entrance to the company was not too different from Jake’s. He was actually at a Boettcher Finalist event when he made the connection to SNC.
“I sat at a table of a prospective Scholar whose dad was a program manager at Sierra Nevada,” said Christopher. “I asked if he determined internships at SNC, and he said he was pretty integral.” After following up, Christopher was offered a job.
Both Scholars are now working at their dream aerospace company – one that allows them to not only practice their skills but challenge them.
“These projects haven’t existed before. My favorite aspect is the futuristic innovation – like having the technology to put humans on the moon,” Jake said, referencing SNC’s Lunar Lander project.
“Every day is a new adventure,” added Christopher. “We have audacious goals and we’re always pushing the envelope. In the paradigm of regulation, there’s isn’t a script written on how you do this.”
Outside of work, Jake enjoys hiking on Boulder’s many trails and playing tennis. He plans to graduate next year and potentially pursue a fifth-year master’s program.
Christopher brews beer and wine and loves to cook. COVID-19 has put some plans on hold – including his now-rescheduled wedding – but with four restaurants to look after, Christopher is still plenty busy.
Christopher and Jake offered some advice for Boettcher Scholars.
“Take advantage of all the opportunities,” said Jake. “And be grateful for all that Boettcher gives you. Without Boettcher, many opportunities would have never been open to me.”
“Don’t be afraid to take opportunities, but also learn to say ‘no,’” Christopher said. “We say ‘yes’ to everything as Boettcher Scholars. Know your limitations.”