United Airlines leader to speak at Penn State Brandywine commencement

MEDIA, Pa. — Mike Arata, Penn State alumnus, director of engineering at United Airlines, and Penn State Brandywine advisory board member, will be the speaker at Penn State Brandywine’s fall commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, in the Commons Building Gymnasium on campus.

Arata graduated from Penn State at University Park with a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering after attending the Brandywine campus during his first two years at Penn State.

Over the course of his 24-year career, Arata has held various positions at United Airlines. Upon graduation, he was hired as a liaison engineer in San Francisco, California. He later transferred to Chicago, Illinois, where he continued to work with liaison engineering as the lead engineer. Arata’s leadership roles expanded into line maintenance, where he assumed the area manager role and ran the aircraft maintenance terminal operation at United Airlines’ largest hub at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. He then returned to the engineering organization and assumed his current role.

Arata’s engineering team is responsible for the regulatory compliance, configuration control, modifications, reliability, and technical program requirements for the fleet. The United Airlines fleet is one of the largest in the world with more than 700 Boeing and Airbus aircrafts and close to 1,500 GE, Rolls Royce, and Pratt and Whitney jet engines.

Beyond United Airlines, at the aviation industry level, Arata chairs the Airlines for America (A4A) Engineering Maintenance and Material Council (EMMC). He also serves on the advisory board for Penn State Brandywine. 

He and his family live in the Chicago suburbs, but remain frequent visitors to the Philadelphia area.

Penn State Brandywine students receiving their diplomas in December will join the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world that consists of more than 177,000 members.

Penn State Brandywine is located at 25 Yearsley Mill Road in Media, Pa.

If you are unable to attend the event, you can watch the program live on YouTube: https://youtu.be/OyS_z052tCQ.