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MMI Grads Andre and Emily Bienvenu Met at School — Now They Run Their Own Shop

Mar 24, 2022 ·
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Students at Motorcycle Mechanics Institute might have different backgrounds, but they share the same passion for what runs on two wheels.

Emily and Andre Bienvenu are prime examples of this. Both made decisions to move across the country to Phoenix, Arizona, to attend the Motorcycle Technician Training program at MMI. Not only did they gain training and education that helped further their careers, they also met each other while in school and fell in love!

Keep reading to learn more about their journeys and how their passion for the motorcycle industry helped lead them to where they are today: running their own shop in Grand Island, Nebraska.1

Paths to MMI

Andre and Emily both developed an interest in motorcycles early on in their lives. Emily, who grew up in Nebraska, started riding when she was around 6 or 7.

“I always had an interest in motorcycles, and the older I got, the more passion I had for it,” she says.

Andre’s childhood was similar, spent riding dirt bikes with his friends in his home state of Louisiana.

“I always had a passion for two wheels,” he says. “I got my first job out of high school at a Harley dealership as a service writer, which was when I decided, ‘This is gonna be my life.’ ”

When it came to furthering their educations, both had become familiar with MMI from seeing ads on TV and through word of mouth.

“My friend owned a Honda dealership and was really supportive of me going to school,” Emily says. “He recommended MMI.”

“When I was working at the Harley dealership, I asked a lot of the technicians what school they went to,” Andre says. “They were very helpful when it came to deciding what I wanted to do.”

Both took different paths to get to MMI Phoenix. Emily made the decision to enroll right out of high school and began classes in October 2016.

Andre had been working at a Harley-Davidson® dealership for about eight months after high school, then made the decision to enlist in the Army. He had always had an interest in the military, and he was able to use his GI Bill® to help cover the cost of attending MMI, where he started in January 2017.21

A Shared Passion

Despite starting during different years, Emily and Andre’s paths crossed both at MMI and at the apartment complex where they both lived.

When Emily moved from Nebraska to Phoenix, she utilized student housing for a couple of months and had a couple of different roommates. However, she wanted to live at a place that had a garage and ended up moving into an apartment in the Deer Valley area.

The Army helped Andre move his things to Phoenix when he decided to attend MMI. He looked around for apartments near campus and ended up at the same complex as Emily.

“Our apartments weren’t even 100 feet from each other. We both had dogs, and we had both seen each other at MMI. We’d walk the dogs in the morning, and then when we got out of school, we’d let the dogs out,” they both recalled.

Apart from taking the core Motorcycle Technician Training program, both furthered their education by taking manufacturer-specific training that went more in-depth with a single manufacturer.

Andre focused on Harley-Davidson and took both the Late Model and Early Model training courses, as well as the three-week Screamin’ Eagle® course.27 Emily took the 12-week YamaPro® training program.

Both say they had a great experience at MMI and felt like it was well worth attending. Even Andre, who had previous mechanic experience, says there were a lot of things he learned that he wouldn’t have without the hands-on experience he gained at MMI.

Both Emily and Andre have fond memories of the different instructors they had during their time at MMI. When asked if they could pick a favorite, both Emily and Andre proceeded to rattle off a long list of teachers who made a positive impact on them.

Emily mentioned Steve Trivisonno, who doesn’t teach at MMI anymore but is her friend on Facebook.

“We talk all the time,” Emily says. “Steve actually wrote me a letter of recommendation for a scholarship, and I ended up getting it.”10

Among Andre’s list of instructors was Alex Montejo, an instructor also no longer at MMI, who taught theory.

“Before changing their courses, at MMI you started with six weeks of theory. If you had a boring instructor, it would be rough, but Alex made theory worth it for me,” Andre says. “He was a super knowledgeable guy who would answer any questions if you had them.”

Working and Starting a Business

Emily graduated from MMI in February 2018, while Andre graduated in May of the same year. Both felt positive about the job outlook after they left school, they said.

“Honestly, the biggest thing for any student is attendance. If you can show up 100% of the time, a dealership will probably hire you. That was something I strived for, and I got perfect attendance while attending MMI,” Andre says.6

Emily adds that landing a job is more likely “if you put in the work when you were at MMI and had good grades.”

Both started working after they graduated and moved to Grand Island. Andre started working at a Harley-Davidson shop. Emily had several job offers, including at a Honda shop, but ended up working with her family at their business in town for a while. The two got married in August 2019.

After spending two years at the Harley-Davidson shop, Andre decided to make the move in March 2020 to open his own business, Mid Nebraska Cycles (you can check out the shop’s Facebook page here). Emily continued working with her family and helped with side jobs in the shop. Then things began to take off, and she started working with Andre full time.

A typical day on the job at Mid Nebraska Cycles varies depending on the day and time of year, Andre says. During cooler weather and winter, they’ll typically tackle larger projects, like big engine builds.

“Summertime comes around, and then we’re hustling and bustling all day, changing tires, doing oil changes, and doing this and that,” he adds.

“We work on pretty much every kind of motorcycle. Four-wheelers, side-by-sides — pretty much anything that has an engine,” Emily says.

“We had a golf cart in here the other day!” Andre adds.

“Yeah, that was a new one,” Emily replied with a laugh.

Looking to the Future

When it comes to goals, both Andre and Emily agree that their main focus is to provide good service for the motorcycle community in their area.

“We have an almost 10-month-old son, and we want him to grow up and love motorcycles and have a lot of events (at the shop),” Emily says.

Andre adds that he would like to branch out and expand to having multiple shops at multiple locations.

“Trying to be the biggest independent shop in Nebraska one day — that’s the goal,” he says.

For others who might be interested in starting their own business, both Andre and Emily admit it’s a lot of hard work. Despite the natural challenges that come with taking on a venture, Andre’s advice is to just keep pushing forward.

“Never stop learning. Don’t ever act like you know it all. Be completely honest with customers … it’s how you treat your customers. If you treat them well, they’re going to come back to you,” he says.

Outside of their business goals, both Andre and Emily have several custom builds they want to accomplish. Over the course of the next year in particular, Emily will be working on customizing a Ducati that she recently won in a giveaway hosted by Revival Cycles based in Austin, Texas.

“You (had to) make a video and talk about what you would do to the bike as far as building and custom stuff. They accepted it into a voting process and the pubic voted, and I ended up winning!” Emily says. “I go down in April to get the bike and have a year to build it. Then it’ll go into the Handbuilt Show next year — huge show in Texas. I’m super-excited!”

Andre also has several bikes he wants to build, including working on a 1957 Harley Servi-Car his grandfather gave him.

“The chassis is pretty much gone, so I salvaged the engine and transmission and I want to eventually build a chopper out of that in memory of my grandfather,” he says.

It’s safe to say that between running a fledgling business, raising their young son and working on side projects, Andre and Emily have more than enough to keep them busy!

Get Motorcycle Technician Training at MMI

The passion Emily and Andre share for the motorcycle industry has helped get them get to where they are today, as well as the education they received from MMI.

If you share the same passion and desire to work in the industry, you can attend the Motorcycle Technician Training program and get hands-on experience that can be applied to a variety of careers.2 Whether you want to start your own business like the Bienvenus or work as a technician at a dealership, there are a number of opportunities out there.5

Request more information today to get in touch with an Admissions Representative and take the first step toward your future.

YOU COULD START YOUR EXCITING NEW CAREER AS A MECHANIC OR TECHNICIAN TODAY.
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1) MMI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.

5) UTI programs prepare graduates for careers in industries using the provided training, primarily as automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a technician, such as: parts associate, service writer, fabricator, paint and paint prep, and shop owner/operator. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

6) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

10) Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.

21) GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.

27) Does not include time required to complete a qualifying prerequisite program of 18 weeks plus an additional 12 weeks or 24 weeks in manufacturer-specific training, depending on the manufacturer.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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