‘Hammah’ Christopher Vallee, Sr.
2010 Motorcycle / Power Equipment Technician Graduate
Service Technician at Sheldon’s Harley-Davidson in Auburn, MA
My first career was in construction.
During 2009, there was a downturn in the economy; the construction company I owned tanked. Recognizing that I had always like working on bikes, my mom pushed me to go to school to train as a Motorcycle Technician.
I thoroughly enjoyed school at MTTI and learned a lot.
My instructor, Jay, was awesome. While still in school, I knew I wanted to work on Harleys. Several guys in the class went to Ocean State Harley-Davidson to intern. I went to Sheldon’s.
I got my foot in the door with MTTI’s internship program.
A lot of Harley-Davidson companies won’t take you unless you have schooling on your resume. Because of my training in MTTI’s program, Sheldon’s offered to hire me before I finished school. I wanted to first complete the program and graduate. Looking back, I know I made the right decision.
I worked my way up to a full Tech.
At the start, I washed and delivered bikes, got parts, did oil changes and other ‘small stuff’. Once established as a Tech, the company sent me to Harley-Davidson training once or twice a year. After 9-10 years working in the motorcycle industry, I am where I want to be in my career.
I pushed myself, during the past couple of years, to earn Master Technician status.
The Master Tech training is challenging—Harley-Davidson pushes you to learn. I took live instructor-led classes and also PHD video classes online. The toughest was the Master Electrical class. It is an important part of the training, because H-D bikes increasingly have more electrical components. In some cases, you need to use an oscilloscope to work on the electrical / electronic systems.
Initially I didn’t think there would be much money in being a Motorcycle Technician.
Now I recognize that you can make money if you work hard and are willing to learn. It does take some time to build your career in this industry. You have to first get your foot in the door. Provided you have a good work ethic, it will all work out.
I’m known by the nick-name I was given at Sheldon’s.
Far from being a quiet person, I’m not afraid to yell across the shop. While we’re in the flow, I’ll yell back and forth with my co-workers--we motivate each other. Years ago, another Technician told me that I’m loud when I work; he called me ‘Hammah.’ The name stuck.
I recommended MTTI to my co-worker, Max.
Max was working as a Shop Hand, but wanted to become a Technician at Sheldon’s. I told him MTTI is a great school with awesome instructors—and is much less expensive than other Motorcycle Tech schools.
MTTI gave me the jumpstart on the inner workings of mechanics.
The hands-on program taught me how to apply mechanical theory in day-to-day operations. There is no comparison now to how I felt when I worked in construction. As a Master Motorcycle Technician, I look forward to coming to work each day.
I love my job and the people I work with.
Everyone here works hard but has fun doing it—it’s a great place to work. If you have the heart and drive to work on bikes, it is such a fulfilling career. I advise you to stick with it—it’s worth it.