After nearly two decades as an employee in the manufacturing sector, Long Beach local Billy Carrillo decided to step into a leadership role, founding his own company: MLT Fab.

Mayor Rex Richardson introduced Carillo’s company as one of the latest additions to the city’s burgeoning aerospace sector during his annual State of the City address Tuesday.

“A hometown talent raised in Central Long Beach, who’s a product of Long Beach Unified schools and Long Beach City College,” Richardson said during his remarks, welcoming Carrillo’s business to the city.

Carrillo, 37, was born in Torrance but spent almost his entire life in Long Beach. He attended several manufacturing-related classes, including machining, at Long Beach City College. He did not get a certification from the college, opting instead to get on-the-job experience.

“I originally started off in the automotive industry, but soon got into aviation and aerospace,” Carrillo said. “I fell in love with it. I’ve been doing that going on 19 years now.”

Locally, Carrillo has worked for SpinLaunch and Virgin Orbit as well as industry leaders outside the city, including Lockheed Martin and SpaceX. Carrillo is currently employed by Boeing, and works later shifts these days to afford him more time to spend on his own company.

MLT, which was established in October, specializes in composite manufacturing, with components made of carbon fiber, fiberglass and metals. While he expects his primary customer base to be local aerospace companies, Carrillo said he’d like to branch into other sectors, including the automotive industry.

“I’m looking to provide those manufacturing skillsets for local companies, possibly startups or even large companies that … need assistance,” he said, adding that he also will offer design, engineering, assembly and testing services.

“I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel or anything, just take my expertise and use it to help other companies,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo subleased about 19,000 square feet from a local space company located within Douglas Park, which requested not to be named, he said. He is leasing month to month, Carrillo said, noting that the arrangement has afforded him access to equipment and materials it would take other fledgling companies years to amass.

For now, until business grows, Carrillo said he has been able to get by with just himself along with a part-time welder and machinist, both of whom want to come on full-time. Carrillo is in the midst of a “pretty huge” contract that would require him to hire employees immediately, he said, adding that he could have as many as 20-25 employees once business really takes off.

Community is important to Carrillo, who said he is working to partner with local institutions to highlight the manufacturing sector by bringing in high school and college students to learn the trade firsthand.

“A place for kids to do something productive, stay off the streets and keep them from getting in trouble,” Carrillo said. “Something positive. Giving back to the community.”

“I’ve always loved Long Beach,” he continued. “It’s been growing tremendously. There’s huge potential, so it’s nice to be in this area and be part of the history that’s taking place.”