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Aviation Maintenance Alum Mike Hagler Accepts the Alumni of the Year Award

Picture of campus

May 18, 2017

South Seattle College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) program has been turning out well-trained, job-ready technicians for over 50 years. Among those technicians is 1990 graduate Mike Hagler. Mike recently accepted South’s 2017 Alumni of the Year Award at the 2017 Friends of the College reception on May 15. After graduating, Mike embarked on a 27-year aviation industry career that continues today in Delta Air Lines’ Tech Ops division, where he was instrumental to the creation of the Delta Aircraft Maintenance internship program for South students.

Read what Mike had to say about his time in the industry and how he got his start at South Seattle College:

“It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be nominated for this generous award. Nearly 30 years ago, not long after the movie Top Gun premiered (yes, it was that long ago), I enrolled in the then South Seattle Community College Aviation Maintenance Program. The waiting list was so long I actually camped outside the door (along with at least 20 other people) the night before the doors opened for registration.

After completing the program in 1990, my career has now spanned 27 years, including work at two major airlines and in cities.

I have always seized any opportunity that came my way. And believe me when I say, opportunity comes in very strange packages. In my career with American Air Lines I worked as a mechanic, lead mechanic (one of my favorite jobs ever) a production supervisor, shift manager and finally as a station manager. I retired from American after 22 years and joined the team at Delta Air Lines TechOps, where, in the past four years I have been able to fulfill my dream to not only introduce people to the world of commercial aircraft maintenance, but to nurture their careers and help get them established in what I think is unquestionably one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs.

When I was tasked by Delta with setting up an aircraft maintenance intern program, South Seattle College was the natural choice to pursue this. I couldn’t think of a more fitting professional full circle than giving back to the school where it all began: that cold, damp night in a sleeping bag in front of the hangar.  

Therefore, I humbly accept this award. In addition, I would like to include my colleagues from Delta TechOps, and lead mechanics Mark Steuck and Chris Mills (both South Seattle College Alums). It’s during their shifts that our interns are trained and turned into the AMT’s of tomorrow. Thanks to both of you!”     

Congratulations Mike, we are honored to have you as an alum!