Los Altos Academy of Engineering
Mike Keirns
Mike Keirns was with the Los Altos Academy of Engineering for many years and acted as an indispensable resource of knowledge and experience resulting from his vast amount of past work experiences in the field of engineering. LAAE first became acquainted with Keirns when he started his own company in Fontana, California: KBS Engineering, which built Formula 5 racecar chasses along with the racecars themselves. The LAAE was currently racing at the Phoenix Solar Electric 500 in 1993 when Keirns also happened to be there. Slowly, he became interested in the program and decided to come and help the students on numerous projects.

Keirns started being more involved in the Academy through the annual Advisory Committee Meetings, where advisors and supporters get a recap of what went on in the last school year along with the new goals and problems that the Academy is facing. He has given numerous ideas to the Academy and has been a great help. Slowly, he began to be a part of the Academy by becoming one of the program’s three advisors, along with becoming a pre-engineering and electrical apprenticeship teacher at Los Altos High School.

Throughout the years, LAAE participated in numerous solar car races, one such race being the 2001 American Solar Challenge. Keirns went to the race with the Academy as an advisor, consultant, and a friend that was part of the only high school team which finished the race. Besides just providing help to the students, Keirns is also the technical advisor for Innovative Schools Advancing Air Quality's (ISAAQ) ZEV Challenge. He deals with the safety aspect of the race and sets the rules for the race itself. Besides having Mr. Keirns helping, Mrs. Keirns is also a great help to the Academy because she organizes the ZEV Challenge and completes all the paperwork for the race. Overall, Mr. Keirns has been a great help and pillar of support for the Academy.

The reason why Keirns was so skilled and experienced in engineering is because of his past work experience. He went to college in Chicago, and earned his electrical skills at ICS. For about ten years, Keirns worked at the Nestle Company as an engineer. He also spent around ten years working at a company that made refrigeration equipment. Besides working at these major companies, he also worked in a lot of other different jobs in between.

Keirns mostly worked with the juniors and seniors at LAAE to improve the students’ skills in electrical and shop work. The Academy is very grateful for his dedication and years of help, and hopes for an even better future with this distinguished character.

“Mr. Keirns has greatly added to the quality of the program. He started helping out with students and now he is actually a part of us.”
Robert Franz, LAAE Chief Advisor
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