Alumnus Leads North Idaho Company toward Revolutionizing Composite Manufacturing
By Tony Thompson and Eric Hollenbeck
WSU alumnus Tyler Alvarado (’08 Acct., ’09 MBA), strolls into the CrossFit gym on a cold January morning. He is proudly sporting a gray WSU hoodie and, despite it being 5:45 a.m. and freezing outside, he has a big smile on his face and is eager to start the morning workout—a crucial part of his morning routine before he heads over to his office, located just a few blocks away from the gym.
Alvarado is the chief executive officer of Continuous Composites, a technology company in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Spend just 15 minutes with him, and you will quickly see his skill as a leader. He is focused, driven, and exudes the type of enthusiasm and optimism that leaves a mark on those around him—leadership traits that have no doubt helped him build a strong team to propel his company toward revolutionizing composite design and manufacturing.
The company, founded in 2015 by Alvarado, his business partner John Swallow, and inventor Ken Tyler, has attracted the attention of the aerospace, automotive, and sporting goods industries, as well as that of the Department of Defense.
“We’ve taken the powerful benefits of composite materials, like carbon fiber, and combined them with additive manufacturing technology to create new materials and applications for building,” says Alvarado.
Alvarado says it is exciting to see the company’s technology evolve because it has the potential to improve the speed of composite manufacturing while significantly lowering costs.
“I see substantial employee growth, continued expansion in Coeur d’Alene, and large-scale technology applications such as printing entire aircrafts, cars, and buildings,” he says.
Carson business education sets foundation for success
At the company headquarters, Alvarado reflects on his Carson College experience with fondness and appreciation. “It was awesome and prepared me for my future. I had great professors in accounting, and writing a business plan for my MBA capstone played really well with entrepreneurship,” he says.
Not only did his business education provide him with practical business skills, he says the program also helped him greatly strengthen his soft skills, such as professional etiquette.
“One of the most valuable experiences was attending an etiquette dinner while in the MBA program. I was a slob before then,” he says with a laugh. “To this day, I still use what I learned that evening, as there is a substantial amount of business deals done over a meal.”
Alvarado’s business acumen, along with his mastery of soft skills, has played an important role in his career trajectory. He is also the first to point out that, just like building a company, he did not go at it alone.
“Mentorship is important to me,” he says. “I’ve had some very good mentors who have really helped me along the way. I would love to come back to the Carson College and educate students about career paths in entrepreneurship.”
To learn more about supporting entrepreneurship in the Carson College,
contact Jeff Pilcher, director of development, at 509-335-8906 or firstname.lastname@example.org.