Forty-five years at Middle River Aerostructure Systems aren’t just a timestamp; they’re a symphony of wrenches and robots, crafted parts and unwavering camaraderie. This story celebrates the incredible dedication and service of five individuals from Middle River Aerostructure Systems (MRAS), each with 45 years of experience. Each story echoes with loyalty, passion, and commitment, a testament to the enduring legacy etched in steel and sky. These are the sky weavers, the fixers, the shepherds, and the bondsmiths of MRAS, their lives a chorus of dedication that proves the greatest journeys begin not with a roar, but with the quiet hum of a dream taking flight. Meet our stars:
A creature of habit and routine, Charles “Bucky” Martin has found contentment and purpose in his 45-year career at MRAS. Hired on a neighbor’s tip, this precision assembly mechanic finds joy in the familiar hum of machinery, the intricate puzzles of his craft, and the camaraderie of a workplace that feels like home. Despite long years and changing times, his passion for meticulously building aerospace giants from steel and dreams remains steady, fueled by quiet pride, the comfort of predictable schedules (including a punctual lunch break!), and the enduring friendships forged within the factory walls. “I keep everything the same and I like my routines. So, coming to work has never been a problem for me. If I can’t do my typical routine, I get lost.”
Roger Burleson, a painter, plater, and sandblaster finds his greatest joy in the camaraderie of his co-workers. He values the company’s strong benefits and takes pride knowing his meticulous work touches countless lives in the skies. While the initial years held tight deadlines and pressure, Roger now relishes the rhythm of his days, finding motivation in the knowledge that his skills help paint the wings of dreams. “Just come to work and listen to the old guys,” he advises, with a wink to the enduring value of experience and a friendly hello to keep everyone’s spirits soaring. Though myth might paint his job as repetitive, Roger thrives in the quiet satisfaction of near-perfect precision, knowing each stroke contributes to a legacy that takes flight.
Stephen “Teddy” Gregory finds purpose beyond inspection reports. His 45 years have evolved from simply needing a job to impart wisdom on new hires and ensuring every detail meets the highest standards. His passion, ignited by faith, drives him to leave a legacy and empower others, his meticulous eye and “yes, even though I say no” spirit ensuring customer satisfaction every step of the way. “I only anticipated being here for about 5 years but then I got married and realized I needed to work somewhere stable. This place has been good to me for 45 years. He believes there should be more emphasis on training and evaluating the new hires. “Place candidates in areas where they can be more of an asset to the company and not necessarily where they applied.” For Teddy, inspection isn’t just a job, it’s a commitment to the company’s future, one meticulous glance at a time.
Drawn by the promise of good friends and unwavering support, Theron “Terry” Boone has poured his dedication into 45 years of development bonding, nurturing both his family and MRAS’ future. From Bob Hodges’ early lessons to mentoring new hires in the training center, Terry thrives on knowledge transfer, injecting passion and fun into muscle memory drills. The arrival of Automated Fiber Placement machines rekindled his spirit, and watching his daughter command the technology now adds a fresh layer of pride. With every bond he creates, Terry carries the weight of 200+ lives, fueling his meticulousness and debunking the myth that anyone can do this job. “I always think that I am holding 200+ people’s lives in my hand so I need to make sure what I do is right.”
Timothy “Tim” Miller built a life fueled by precision assemblies and unwavering friendships. His days revolved around coffee-fueled focus, workflows, and meeting deadlines. His easygoing nature and genuine warmth (“I don’t try to be someone I’m not”) cemented his place in the factory’s heart, and retirement couldn’t sever the ties that defined his 45-year legacy. Tim’s story is a testament to the quiet heroes who find purpose in familiar routines, unwavering loyalty, and the irreplaceable friendships built within the walls of a workplace that became home. Tim retired on 11/30/2023.
For Tyrone Hale, MRAS wasn’t just a paycheck; it was a launchpad for his dreams. Joining in the company in 1978, Tyrone found not only decent pay and industry experience, but the thrill of crafting parts for aircraft soaring across the globe. The company’s robust benefits, including a secure pension and 401k, fueled his family’s future, while the recognition for his meticulous work in developer bonding added daily satisfaction. Tyrone believes there should be deeper community engagement and expanded training for new hires. “The love of the job and the love of the people,” he says, succinctly capturing the essence of his 45-year legacy.