When Kenya Airways CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni snipped the ceremonial red ribbon stretched between him and the glistening 777-300ER with his company’s livery emblazoned upon it, the quick cut was the culmination of a busy visit to Everett, Wash.
The day before Naikuni took delivery of Kenya Airways first 777-300ER, he and members of his team took the opportunity to tour Boeing’s Everett factory and meet some of the employees who work inside.
The first stop the group made was alongside a 747-8. That’s where Naikuni was introduced to Joseph Macharia, a 747-8 mechanic who grew up in Kenya and moved to the United States nine years ago. He has worked at Boeing the past two years. “It’s been my dream since I was young,” Macharia says of his determination to work with airplanes. “Either to fly, to fix it, to put it together, it’s my passion, I love it! I love what I do.”
Macharia says he knew instantly which visitor was Titus Naikuni when the tour group approached and the tall, thin CEO began walking in his direction. “I see him on the news,” he says with a smile. “I see him on the newspapers and I was so happy to meet him and to shake his hand! I could not confuse him with anybody else!
The airline CEO says he was equally inspired by the quick meeting. “I felt very proud to see a Kenyan out there!” Naikuni said at the conclusion of his visit.
But Naikuni’s praise was not reserved just for Macharia. He also visited with a number of 777 employees, many of whom had worked on the airplane he flew away in just 24 hours later. “The employees in Boeing are very committed to their work and they’re very proud,” he said. “For you to see an employee on the shop floor meeting with a customer and being able to say ‘thank you’ to you, it was very touching.”