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AMT Day: Who’s behind the neon vests sending you on a safe journey?

Each year on May 24, National AMT Day celebrates the impact Aviation Maintenance Technicians have on the millions of air travelers who journey the skies each day.
A Delta TechOps employee works on an aircraft

Every component, system and structure of a Delta aircraft has to be maintained just like any other machine: Tires inflated, brakes changed, seats installed, touch screens calibrated, lavatories, coffee makers and ovens kept tip-top. Oh, and then there are those massive jet engines – finely tuned machinery made by companies like Rolls-Royce. (Yeah, THAT Rolls-Royce.) 

At Delta, you’ll know the people who do that work by their signature yellow vest: They are TechOps Aviation Maintenance Technicians, and those AMTs play a key role in giving you the seamless journey you’ve come to expect.  

Each year on May 24, National AMT Day celebrates the impact these professionals have on the millions of air travelers who journey the skies each day. May 24 marks the birthday of the Wright Brothers’ mechanic, Charles E. Taylor, who pioneered the field of aircraft maintenance. The expertise Taylor brought to the Wright Brothers was instrumental in achieving successful air travel, and at Delta, our AMTs bring that same expertise to our customers and aircraft each day. 

Read on to explore the journeys of two Delta AMTs who put on the neon vest each day. 

Jessie Hekimian – AMT, Line Maintenance, JFK 

Delta TechOps employee Jessie Hekimian sits in the flight deck of an airplane.

Jessie Hekimian began her journey to become an AMT by attending Aviation High School – a Delta partner school – in New York.  She has been with the Delta TechOps team at JFK International Airport for 11 years. In her day-to-day, Jessie performs maintenance tasks ranging from tire and brake changes to servicing engines and hydraulics systems. As a Line Maintenance AMT, her main role is ensuring that aircraft are checked and serviced as they pull in and out of Delta’s JFK hub. Jessie also pays it forward to the next generation of students in New York through educational outreach programs. 

What’s your favorite part about your job? 

The rewarding feeling of watching the aircraft push back and take off to its next destination. Engine work is my favorite – to think how all these components come together to lift a big metal airframe with cargo and passengers is astonishing. I've also been granted the opportunity to partake in various volunteer events working with kids in high school who are curious about becoming an AMT. Spreading knowledge and encouraging others is such a gratifying feeling. 

What’s something unique about the AMT career path that’s special to you? 

While growing up, my mother would see my excitement to fly. I would ask, ‘How does it work?' She encouraged me to pursue this career and push myself because deep down it was something I always loved. Working as an AMT requires years of training and discipline. Becoming an AMT is a rare job especially as a woman, and I am eager to participate in changing the narrative. As a female in the industry, I feel a sense of responsibility to inspire the next generation of women to crack into this historically male-dominated field. Being an AMT is both challenging and rewarding because what we do contributes to the safety of Delta’s operation. 

How has working at Delta supported you personally? 

On my journey as an AMT, I have achieved various milestones not only at work, but also in life, like most recently becoming a homeowner. I took a path that isn’t widely shared as an option for young kids, but being an AMT at Delta has granted me the stability of a steady income and good healthcare. It has also allowed my family to make the distance from our extended family living in other countries become smaller – especially in times of need like when my great grandmother was ill. 

What’s something you’ve learned from a more experienced Delta AMT? 

The amount of knowledge our experienced mechanics have is endless. Whenever I encounter issues, they've taught me how to think differently – thinking of the process flow and visualizing the machine working together rather than focusing on a single component on its own. 

Tracy Rawls – Lead AMT, Cabin Maintenance, ATL 

Tracy Rawls, Lead Aviation Maintenance Technician on the Delta TechOps Cabin Maintenance Team, stands on board an airplane.

Tracy Rawls is an AMT with the Cabin Maintenance team in Atlanta, and he has been at Delta for 39 years. On any given day, Tracy’s team inspects, repairs and services the cabin interiors of Delta aircraft to ensure a comfortable flying experience for the next customers stepping onboard. Tracy is passionate about mentoring the newer Delta AMTs and passes along his knowledge on continuously improving the cabin product. He also is involved in Delta’s Habitat for Humanity community builds. 

What made you become an AMT? 

My dad was everything to me, and he taught me as a very young child how to work with my hands and to maintain every mechanical device that we owned. He worked at Delta Air Lines as an engine mechanic for 33 years, and he encouraged me to follow in his path. I knew as a kid that I wanted to grow up and be like my father. 

What’s your main objective for Delta customers? 

To provide the very best product possible. I want our customers to be confident that their experience with Delta will be safe, comfortable and a moment that they will be willing to share and remember. 

What’s something you’ve learned from a newer Delta AMT? 

The next generation of AMTs that we are getting are so advanced at the computer and technological advancements at a young age. It is reassuring that these young AMTs will "take the torch" of aviation maintenance to the next generation. 

What have you learned on the job during your experience at Delta? 

Delta Air Lines is a "family." I have learned over the years to really pay attention to the details, how to respect and work well with others, and how to create and live life with a positive attitude. 

Along with keeping Delta’s aircraft healthy and providing industry-leading operational performance, Delta TechOps AMTs also provide world-class service to 150 third-party Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul customers across the globe. Delta’s MRO capabilities were recently recognized as “Best Total Solutions Provider” by The145 in their 2024 Top Shop Awards. 

Last week, Delta TechOps exhibited at the 29th annual Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Chicago alongside thousands of aviation industry peers. Ahead of the conference, Delta TechOps was named “Best Total Solutions Provider” by The145 in their 2024 Top Shop Awards.

Like Jessie and Tracy, thousands of Delta’s AMTs began their career journey at a young age. Delta TechOps maintains partnerships with 56 A&P schools nationwide – with many providing pathways to the company. To learn more about pathways to aviation maintenance careers, visit the TechOps Careers page  or Delta Tech U. Interested in learning about the in’s and out’s of the Delta AMT role? Watch the video below: 

Delta TechOps prides itself on supporting the communities we serve. Each year, Delta TechOps employees build bikes for local children during the holidays through Toys for Tots. Delta TechOps also honors the U.S. military veteran community through its annual Veterans Day Celebration, involvement in Delta’s Honor Guard and volunteering for Delta’s Military Lounge during the holiday travel season.  

A Delta TechOps employee is shown at the Veterans Day celebration held Nov. 4, 2022.
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