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American Airlines AMT Ken MacTiernan Receives Airlines for America’s ‘Nuts and Bolts’ Award

Ken MacTiernan, an American Airlines Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT), has become the first person actively working in the profession to be honored with Airlines for America’s  Nuts and Bolts award.

American Airlines AMT and Airlines for America's Nuts and Bolts Award Winner, Ken MacTiernan - Courtesy American Airlines

On Friday (February 16, 2024), American Airlines announced that Ken MacTiernan, one of the carrier's Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMT), has been honored by Airlines for America (A4A).  Mr. MacTiernan has become the first active AMT to be honored with A4A’s Nuts and Bolts Award since the prize was launched in 1967.  The award recognizes exemplary service and achievements in engineering and maintenance in the commercial aviation industry, with honorees from airlines and other aviation entities selected annually.  Mr. MacTiernan will be honored by industry leaders this April at Aviation Week’s MRO Americas conference in Chicago, where he will officially receive the Nuts and Bolts award.

In Friday’s announcement, American Airlines AMT and Nuts and Bolts Award recipient, Ken MacTiernan, said,

“It’s humbling to be recognized, but to be recognized for giving back to my profession means everything to me.  This award encourages me to keep promoting my craft by showing others in the industry, and those entering the industry, that the work you do has a positive impact. It’s a win-win for the industry and American Airlines.”

Evie Garces, Vice President – Line Maintenance; Ken; Chris Oriyano, Director – Line Maintenance - Courtesy American Airlines

Also commenting on Ken’s award, American’s Vice President of Line Maintenance, Evie Garces, added,

“The entire American team is thrilled that Ken is being honored with this prestigious award.  He is not only a highly skilled AMT, but he is a true advocate of the AMT profession.  Ken and his commitment to aviation maintenance are legends across the industry.”

Airlines for America’s Vice President – Safety, Maintenance and Engineering, Bob Ireland, added,

“Ken’s passion and efforts for the AMT will be felt for generations to come,” said Bob Ireland, A4A Vice President — Safety, Maintenance and Engineering, “This recognition is particularly well-deserved.”

Daughter Danielle, wife Maribell, Ken and son Ronan - Courtesy American Airlines

Mr. MacTiernan started his aviation career with the USAF in Merced, California, and received his airframe & powerplant licenses while completing his time with the Air Force.  In 1986 he joined American at New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) airport as an AMT, before transferring to San Diego (SAN) 11 months later.

Reflecting on his transfer to San Diego, Ken said,

“On February 15, 1987, it was 32 below with the wind coming off the Hudson.  I was working on a DC-10 and I remember thinking, ‘This isn’t going to work long-term. If I’m going to do this for the next 30-plus years, I might want to go someplace warmer.’ I visited some buddies from the Air Force in San Diego and the rest is history.”

Since that time, Ken has worked tirelessly to promote the profession.  He helped establish National AMT Day, which is celebrated annually on May 24th, the Birthday of the Wright Brothers' mechanic, Charles Taylor.  Ken is also a founder of ‘The Competition’, previously known as the Aerospace Maintenance Competition.  The annual event brings teams of aviation and aerospace maintenance professionals and students together in a two-day competition to showcase their knowledge, skills and abilities.  The event this year will be held from April 9th through 11th in Chicago, and will showcase 90 teams from around the world.  Additionally, American Airlines' annual Excellence in Aviation Maintenance award is also named after Ken, and honors AMTs who exhibit excellence and strive to uphold the highest standard in aircraft maintenance, while supporting and promoting the profession.

American Airlines’ purpose is ‘To Care for People on Life’s Journey®’.  Shares in the American Airlines Group, Inc., trade on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol AAL and the company’s stock is included in the S&P 500. 


Source: American Airlines


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