You can find her amid sparks and welding equipment, working on her latest masterpiece while using her pink tool bag and wearing her personalized welding helmet and trusty pink boots. Her name is Mackenzie Main, and she’s an 8-year-old Havasu native with a future so bright, you’ll need a helmet yourself to see it.
Mackenzie’s latest project was helping add the finishing touches to the personal watercraft monument that was recently installed on the Island, at the invitation of welder and artist Jaque Meng. Geared up in her best, Mackenzie helped secure the monument’s bolts and ensure the final details were just right.
Her dad, Douglas Main, thought it was “awesome” when Meng invited Mackenzie to help her out. Mackenzie was a little bit nervous that she might mess up, she said, but everything went according to plan. Getting a little extra practice in the day before at her dad’s shop, Mainline Welding, didn’t hurt, either.
The Main kids have been exposed to the welding trade since they were little, Douglas said, noting the importance of letting their hands get dirty with trying new things at a young age. With school being handled at home until recently, Mackenzie has spent even more time in the shop.
She gets a firsthand look at welding life, watching raw material be transformed into works of art or functional machinery, seeing sparks fly and metal grinding, witnessing the welders’ frustration as problems crop up, and getting the chance to see the final product presented to their customers.
And Mackenzie is right there beside them, working away and honing her skills.
“I think it’s inspiring for others to see Kenzie so involved in welding at such a young age,” Mainline Welding Office Manager Dayna Hobday said. “She is the only 8-year-old I know who wakes up at 4 a.m. to come to work during fall break. Plus, she brings a nice competitive edge to the boys working in the shop.”
Getting up early is no big deal for Mackenzie. If there’s work to be done or a work trip to take with her dad, she’s guaranteed to be ready to go no matter the hour. She’s even prodded her dad to get up and get going on an occasion or two. Douglas said his kids have been all over the place with him, riding right alongside him from truck stop to truck shop.
The Mainline Welding shop is one of Mackenzie’s favorite places to be.
“Every time she gets a chance to come to the shop, she finds new things to make so she can practice her welding,” Hobday said. “She plans everything out, from measuring and planning to finding steel and getting the welder set up.”
Hobday added that as Mackenzie works away, it’s not uncommon for the employees to pause and gaze a little longer at her craftsmanship, in awe of her skill and expert form.
“Kenzie is super rad and ambitious,” Hobday added. “She’s not afraid to think outside the box and always puts in 100%.”
Mackenzie said there isn’t much about the art that’s difficult for her, though flying sparks and more intricate projects can be intimidating.
She’s made a stool, a desk, a metal sign for her dad’s office space, little people and flowers. She hopes to sell some of her work to “save up for a pet tiger,” Hobday said. Doug said she’s even made forts out of scrap metal.
If she’s not geared up in the shop, Mackenzie loves playing volleyball and soccer, and she’s really enjoying math and division.
Douglas loves seeing her continue to grow as a young woman and welder. Being involved in the trade industry so early in life is building her already strong work ethic and teaching her to become a contributor to the world. Seeing her help Meng with the PWC monument was a proud moment, and he could tell how much fun she had while welding.
Teaching the younger generation about trades is an investment in the future, Douglas said. He hopes Mackenzie’s experiences inspire other kids to get their hands dirty, try something new, learn through their mistakes, and understand how to carry their weight for their community and family.
Now next time you pass by the PWC monument on the Island loop, you know who to thank for the craftsmanship – Meng and little Mackenzie.