“I graduated from MTTI confident in my knowledge and skills. Two months after I was hired at my first job, their Master Tech left. I serviced bikes mostly on my own. The knowledge I got at MTTI helped me succeed, especially because I had learned to read the service manual. I tell techs today, learn to read the service and assembly manuals. The answers are right there—just follow the guidelines you are given.”
A year after high school graduation, I bought a 2017 Yamaha R3 from Motorsports Nation. I was just a customer who walked through their door. I never imagined that one day I would work there as a Motorcycle Technician.
For almost two years after high school, I attended community college. It wasn’t for me. Reading from a textbook and then taking a test wasn’t my strong suit. I dropped out of college and worked at a couple of different jobs to support myself. Living in the area, I’d seen MTTI’s ads on billboards and had driven by the school. I did some digging on the internet, and saw that MTTI offered a powersports program.
Seeing all the bikes, on the ground floor and in the rafters—and all the engines and components—was overwhelming. My Instructor, Gary, made learning easy by beginning with the bare bones basics of how everything works. Teaching each component of bikes and power equipment gave us a solid baseline from which to understand motorcycle mechanics. I’m a hands-on learner; once I do something a couple of times, it becomes second nature. Time in the shop every day helped me quickly pick up and retain new information and skills.
Cale had been in the automotive field, so he had a mechanical background. I’d go to him and ask, “Hey, do you know how this and this go together? Could you show me?” He would help me—and all of my classmates–no questions asked. He’d always throw in some back story on how a buddy of his had this same problem with his bike or engine, so it was relatable–and made learning fun. It was no surprise that, after working alongside Gary at Bettencourt’s, Cale was eventually hired at MTTI as the program’s shop skills instructor.
A classmate, Dave, recommended me to Motorsports Nation. He told them, “Hey, Austin’s a good kid. He’s got a good head on his shoulder.” Being the “new guy” at Motorsports Nation, was a little nerve-racking; I had butterflies for the first few weeks. I had to get the hang of things and adjust to the day-to-day routine. Fortunately, I was very well prepared and felt confident that I had the skills to proficiently handle the jobs I was tasked to do.
My coworkers are all amazing; the Master Techs are willing to teach us so that we grow our skills. At the beginning, I did a lot of basic set up procedures and pre-delivery inspections. I prepped the bikes we got from the warehouses, to get them ready for delivery to customers. I started doing basic services, including oil changes, tire changes and installs of minor accessories. Now I’ve advanced to swapping out major components from motorcycles that have been damaged in accidents, and doing a lot more diagnostics to identify problems. I’m proud of the skills I’ve developed and that, after 3 years, I can turn around and mentor new hires—some from MTTI.
Motorsports Nation sells and services Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Can-Am and other high performance On-Road and Off-Road vehicles. We deal with a little bit of everything, from personal watercraft like jet skis, to ATVs to motorcycles, dirt bikes and scooters. We have Side X Sides, too—they’re become pretty popular.
I tell them if you want to work on a specific brand, like Harley Davidson, maybe. But I know that Harley Davidson sends their techs to Harley School—most dealerships send their techs to manufacturers for training. An engine is an engine regardless of the brand. I definitely recommend MTTI’s Motorcycle / Power Equipment program, because you get the baseline and a little more to start working on most brands in the industry.
I’ll need to earn more specific certifications for the brands that we deal with on a daily basis. Having more Certified Technicians is an asset to the company, so I look forward, when the time is right, to that next step.
I had chosen the powersports program at MTTI specifically to work on bikes. When I returned to MTTI this year to review the program at an Advisory Committee meeting, it opened my mind. I was surprised to see more power equipment employers than I had expected. I learned it is an up-and coming business; there is a critical need for power equipment technicians. The experience that students get working on lawn and other power equipment in MTTI’s program gives them additional employment opportunities.
Shops are always looking for more hands to wrench bikes. What the world’s been going through the last few years has been wild! There seems to be even more interest in bikes than before the pandemic. People want to buy themselves and their kids dirt bikes, get out, go into the woods. They want to have fun and make good memories.
I’d probably be at an office job somewhere, sitting behind a desk—and that’s really not my style. I like working with my hands. Sitting behind a computer all day would probably drive me crazy. If you are passionate about putting in the time and effort to build a lifelong powersports career, I definitely recommend MTTI’s Motorcycle/Power Equipment Technician program. Going to MTTI changed my life—it will definitely change yours.
“Motorsports Nations wants to hire people with experience—not diesel or cars guys; that’s a whole different world. That’s why we look to MTTI—there aren’t a lot of schools that train entry-level motorcycle technicians. We take students every year for internship; most of the time we have the opportunity to hire. Austin is a rare breed, who works hard and rarely takes time off. He loves what he does.”
– Michael Lemos, Service Manager at Motorsports Nation
Top Spotlight Photo: Austin Amaral, Motorcycle Technician at Motorsports Nation
Top Left: Austin Amaral
Top Right: Austin working on a Can-Am Side X Side
Middle Left: MTTI Graduates working at Motorsports Nation: Austin Amaral (2019), Michael Lemos (2009), Fausto Ramos (2022)
Lower Spotlight Photo: Austin working on a Can-Am Side X Side