Taylor is an automation engineer, author, and master archer. He’s also 1/2 of the Vöxtur team and the producer behind the podcast and website. Taylor also runs a video production company and enjoys ice cream. He’s married to a fiery social worker named Alexa, and together they are the world’s cutest couple. Here is his story!
What is the current role/passion/project you find yourself in and where can our readers find you?
I’m presently working as automation engineer at West Pharmaceuticals, sustaining and improving the automated assembly equipment we use to manufacture medical devices. I wouldn’t, however, consider my current employment a passion or project.
The project I’m really passionate about is my series of books called The Acacia Records. I’m working through draft three of book one right now, while often getting distracted by brainstorming the two sequels, as well as the prequel, White Pass. These four books are the single product of my creativity that I hope to be able to share with my family, friends, and ideally the world of fantasy readers. I want to be able to read them with my children when they’re old enough, but at the rate I’m going, it may have to be my grandchildren!
The reason I’m so passionate about these books is that I’ve read so many fantastic stories from immensely creative authors that have completely immersed me in the worlds they’ve created. I am grateful for the hours of entertainment and mind-stretching that these books have provided me, and I hope to do the same for a handful of readers. At this point, I’ve thought about the characters, settings, and plot points of my books so much, it seems like the stories have already happened. Who am I to leave them untold?
How did you come to be where you are now?
There are several aspects of my life which I would consider successes: my job, education, and family relationships to name a few. Though I have much more to achieve in all of these realms, I am grateful to say that I am off to a good start. There are so many factors that have led to where I am now, but in short, careful planning and determination have been instrumental.
In high school, I began sewing seeds that are now paying off. I worked hard to achieve good grades knowing that I could land a scholarship if I excelled enough. I set that plan in motion early on and this saved me a ton of money in tuition in the future. I also began working as a wedding catering assistant and then a warehouse worker for Scrapbook.com. Anything to save up money for the future.
For two years, I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Scotland and Ireland. There, I learned so much about how to interact with strangers, how to listen well, and when and how to teach effectively. This has come in handy when meeting new people, helping friends and family, and working in leadership roles.
When I came home, I reconnected with Lexi Olsen, who immediately captured my affections. She interested me because she was a perfect blend of fun-loving and hard-working. She was and is determined to advocate for and provide mental health services for those who need them. Through both of our higher education, we pressed forward with a plan and determination to achieve our respective Master degrees and become proficient in our fields. We are both early in our engineering and social work careers, but already we have seen our education and training pay off.
I mentioned family relationships earlier, and that’s because I believe that is something one should work at too. Many of us find it easy to get along with family members, but we all have our struggles there too. I think that in our families, as in work or school, we need to keep the big picture goals in mind, and work that down to what we need to do daily to create, maintain, and grow those family relationships.
What are your goals/hopes/plans for the future?
Because I’m at the beginning of my engineering career, I still have so many paths I can take. I’m in medical manufacturing right now, and I really enjoy it (although I never thought there’d be so much paperwork!), but I could go any direction from here. I’m not sure what the future holds, but as I continue to work as West, I hope to gain more insight into what I do and don’t want to do in the years to come.
The next phase to tackle is raising children. We don’t have any yet, but we hope to have a family that we can love and care for as well as our parents cared for us. There’s so much I’m excited to teach them, but at the same time, it’s very daunting to think of the effect that we’ll have on them and the potential for us to really mess it up! I have faith that God will guide us in our parenting, and I’m thrilled to see what challenges await.
One of my major goals is to publish The Acacia Records. It’s definitely a long-term goal and will require a massive amount of work before they’ll even be close to pitching to publishers. In the meantime, I’m trying my best not to let it slip away, no matter how busy things get for me.
I’d be lying if I said another goal of mine wasn’t to amass a large enough sum of money to comfortably retire early. I hope to expand my earnings beyond an engineering salary by exploring other business opportunities like Vöxtur and my video editing company, T.C.Bailey Productions.
What does growth mean to you?
When I was younger, my parents always stressed the importance of doing well in school, stretching myself, and working hard at whatever I endeavored to do. They were and are incredibly supportive and play a huge role in teaching these ethics by example. While there have often been promises of payoff for my diligence–scholarships to college, good-paying jobs, being at least somewhat of an attractive prospect for a young woman to marry–not everything is results-driven. I believe in working hard and being a good man for the sake of personal growth. The most important growth is entirely outside the realm of career, wealth, and status–though not coincidentally, these things often follow. I’m talking about growing forward in every aspect of your person. Mental fortitude, emotional maturity, spiritual awareness. These are the areas in which any man or woman can grow, regardless of outside forces.
What do you do to take care of yourself?
My self-care mostly involves taking time to explore my hobbies. I like archery, and shooting my bows helps me to relax and enjoy myself. It gives my mind a break while trying to further develop a skill I’d like to improve. I also really enjoy writing my books (if you haven’t noticed). Sometimes it’s enough self-care just to think about a scene from my book on the drive home and try to figure out how to make it more interesting, or how to develop character relationships, etc. These are the things I like to do alone to take care of myself, but what really helps me stay happy and healthy is spending time with Lexi. We love to paddle board on the river or lake at night, visit my grandparents’ cabin, and sing songs together.
I think it’s important to stay active, and this should apply to most any who are able. Admittedly, I’m not the best at following this advice, but I try to mountain bike frequently and go running on occasion. With a friendly shove, I was convinced to participate in a Spartan Race, and will likely do more. I’m not much of a competitor, but regardless, I believe that physical health and mental health are linked and that both should take a part in self-care.
What habits or skills are you hoping to develop in the future?
I’m hoping to become a much better engineer in the future. I’d like to learn how to program PLC’s and more controls engineer tools. I also wouldn’t mind actually filling a deer tag this year…
In an alternate dimension, every job pays the same. With that in mind, what career would you pursue?
I would love to film and edit a TV show like Planet Earth and Planet Earth II. I absolutely love the content that the BBC put out in these amazing nature videos, and would be fascinated to travel all over the world to get those shots. I also love video editing, and have been doing it passively for about four years now, so this would combine two passions of mine. Another cool aspect of this would be doing the Foley art of the different sounds that couldn’t be captured at the scene, but are added in later. If money was no issue and I had all the necessary resources, you’d see a T.C.Bailey Productions nature series soon enough!
Is there a book, podcast, movie, etc. that has been particularly impactful on your journey?
I’m not one to read or listen to much non-fiction, because I find fantasy much more entertaining. I won’t apologize for that! Here are a few of my favorite books if you’re interested:
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – These books tell one of the greatest stories I’ve ever encountered, with an incredible depth of setting and overlapping plots that all tie together.
- The Mistborn Series (especially the first trilogy) by Brandon Sanderson – Incredible world-building and a wonderfully unique hard magic system that supports and drives an intricate plot.
- Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher – A unique take on elemental magic with believable characters that develop tremendously over six books.
The reasons I would say these books are impactful to me (though perhaps not impactful to many readers of this article) is that they have taught me so much about writing techniques, skills, and styles. These authors and the characters and worlds they have built have helped me to become a stronger writer with a higher standard for my own creative work.
What piece of advice or request do you have for our readers before you leave?
An interesting thing about progression that a lot of people seem to overlook is that growing forward doesn’t always mean moving forward at full speed. We require physical and mental maintenance to function well, and that means slowing down for a bit of R&R regularly. At my work, we often find that we’re pushed for max production. In other words, whatever we can produce, our customers will buy, so the more we produce, the more money we’ll make. No risk of inventory just sitting around. So naturally, we want our machines running non-stop day in day out, right? Well, no. We have to shut each machine down for weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, semiannual, and annual preventative maintenance (PM). While these activities range from 30 minutes to a full day depending on the PM, this is always worth doing, because this preventative maintenance is taking care of potential issues before they occur. If we wait around until something out of our control takes the machine down, it could be down for days instead of hours.
This is the same for your mind, body, and spirit. We should take the time to regularly perform “preventative maintenance” on ourselves so that we can stay physically and mentally healthy. If you wait until something catastrophic forces you to take care of your physical or mental well-being, you might be down and out for much longer. My advice would be to make sure you take care of yourself well, so you can properly take care of the people and work in your life. If it helps, you might even consider making a schedule, a bit like my automated equipment.
The last thing I’d advise is to remember why you do what you do. If you don’t know, I encourage you to do a little introspection to discover it. Do you work hard to provide for a family? Are you trying to improve the way you feel about yourself? Do you hope to please your God? Whatever the case may be, proper motivation will help to keep you on your course of growth. When impediments come your way, remembering the love and respect you have for your family and for yourself will help you to push through and overcome.
P.S. Don’t forget to smile, even when your day looks like this!