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Local Third Graders Dream Up Names for SEA Snowplows

July 2, 2024

The next time the temperatures drop, three of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA) fleet of snowplows will hit the airfield debuting a new look and new names — submitted by local third-grade students.

The new names — Sno Bro, Powder Pup, and Snow Dragon — belong to three of the newest members of SEA’s snow equipment fleet. They will report for duty this winter to keep runways and surfaces clear and travelers on their way with a glow-up, displaying whimsical logos inspired by their new names. The names for the Overaassen plow and broom combination units (added to the fleet in 2023) were selected through a contest the Port of Seattle held for third-grade students in the Highline School District.

More than 180 individual entries were submitted by students. The winners were selected by the airport’s snow team who operate the snowplows and are responsible for snow and ice maintenance of runways, taxiways, and the ramp areas.


A snowy celebration

Port of Seattle construction manager Heather Munden and her son, who just finished the fourth grade, came up with the idea for SEA after their own community held a school contest to name the city’s newest snowplow.

Port staff and the Highline School District were on board. Highline School District, made up of communities that surround the airport, regularly partners with the Port on career awareness events, so the contest was a natural extension of that collaboration.

Port staff narrowed down the list of 180 student entries to 10-15 and the snow team selected the top three as the winners. Classmates of students who entered the winning names from Cedarhurst Elementary School in Burien, North Hill Elementary School in Des Moines, and Gregory Heights Elementary School in Burien visited the airport for a celebration at the snow shed located at the southwest corner of the airfield. Students also received an airfield and fire station tour. “I can’t imagine it going any better,” Munden said. “The kids got to see what we do and that we are more than just an airport.”

Mr. Null, a teacher at Cedarhurst Elementary, attended with his class. He said the contest was a great experience for his students. “Anytime a project can tie into a real-life thing, it's great to get the kids involved. It’s more exciting for them when they know the work they are doing will have a real impact,” he said.

He said offering students a behind-the-scenes experience of airport operations was priceless. They had a great time watching planes take off and land and seeing something new. “Now when they are driving past the Port or the airport for the rest of their lives, they'll be able to say they’ve been there and had that experience when they had the chance.”

Winning names

Isabella from North Hill Elementary came up with the winning name, “Sno Bro.” She said the name was inspired by her cousin who loves to play in the snow and also likes the term “bro.” “To be chosen was really cool,” she said. “It was exciting and I also liked the logo.”


Bao from Cedarhurst Elementary came up with the winning name “Snow Dragon.” “I chose the name because I like dragons,” he said. “I loved seeing the snowplow with the “Snow Dragon” name and the design was amazing.”


Elaine O’Brien, whose daughter Emily came up with the winning name "Powder Pup", said the experience was exciting for her daughter. “The school made a big deal out of it so it was a big pride point for her.” She said the day was a blast and students were excited to watch the planes on the airfield. “A lot of kids have never been on or near a plane,” she said.


Snow at SEA

SEA is one of the top 12 busiest airports in the country and averages 1,200-1,300 flights per day. Even a little bit of bad weather can have a big impact on flight operations. The airport team works all year and around the clock to prepare for, respond to, and communicate about inclement weather, whether it’s rain, snow, sleet, smoke, or fog. The snow team is made up of 99 people — 74 members of the Port and SEA teams who are trained in snow removal, and 25 mechanics standing by to make sure the equipment works.


The newly named snowplows are part of SEA Airport’s more than 50 pieces of equipment on hand for snow and ice maintenance including:

  • 17 plow and broom combination units. 9 tractor-trailer units with 24-foot plows. 8 fixed-chassis units with 20-foot plows
  • 2 friction testers to measure stopping distance for the runways
  • 4 high-speed brooms
  • 3 sander plows
  • 4 high-speed plows
  • 4 de-icing trucks, 3 with 75-foot booms and 1 boomless with a 50-foot spray width
  • 5 snow blowers 
  • 4 dump trucks with plows and de-icing and/or sanding capabilities dedicated to landside
  • 8 pickup trucks with plows and de-icing and/or sanding capabilities dedicated to landside
  • Walk-behind snow blowers and brooms
  • Lots of snow shovels and team members ready to work

Learn how SEA prepares for winter weather:

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