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MMI Graduate Travis Conrad Shows How You Can Pursue a Passion Later in Life

Feb 4, 2022 ·

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Sometimes it takes a major life event for us to think about pursuing a passion. Big changes and unexpected circumstances can cause us to stop and think about what we want out of life, including what we want to do for a career.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a great example of one of these types of events. Many people were forced to make decisions impacting their future, including Travis Conrad, who ended up attending and graduating from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute.

Keep reading to hear more about his background of loving bikes and how he found success after graduating from MMI!

A Decision to Make

Travis grew up in White River Junction, Vermont. Motorcycles were introduced to him around age 5, when he got his first dirt bike. He also remembers riding on the back of his dad’s motorcycle every chance he got.

While the world of bikes and motorcycles was opened to him at an early age, Travis didn’t initially pursue a career in the industry. Instead, he ended up graduating from Full Sail University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in show production. He spent eight years working freelance on live concerts and theater gigs. He also worked full time at a local bus terminal, where he sold tickets, handled snow removal in the winter and cleaned buses during staffing shortages.

Even though his work didn’t relate to motorcycles, Travis still kept an interest in bikes and watched a lot of motorcycle content on YouTube. He ended up getting his motorcycle endorsement in 2019, along with his first street bike.

Travis says he watched content from influential moto video bloggers, including Blockhead and John Maxwell.

“Blockhead’s channel really got me back into riding bikes, but John Maxwell’s channel got me thinking about changing careers and working on bikes for a living,” Travis says. “John made a video about how he got started working on bikes, and that was the first time I learned about MMI.”

The opportunity to attend MMI was something Travis began considering even more when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and caused him to be let go from both his jobs. He says, “I decided it was time for a career change, and that’s when I started looking into MMI.”

Focused Harley-Davidson Courses

Travis began talking with an Admissions Representative at MMI Orlando who helped him get enrolled in the Motorcycle Technology program and connected with resources he needed to make the move to Florida to start school. This included housing assistance, which he says “worked out well and was very easy.”

Travis’ first day of classes was December 28, 2020, and he says he was both excited and nervous. “In that first class, Moto 101, I was disassembling an engine and measuring components. It was great, and I felt like I had made the right decision to go to MMI.”

Travis held down a job on campus as a student worker in the Information Technology department.1 He says this allowed him to get to know some of his instructors better, as he would help them with their IT issues when he wasn’t attending their classes.

Eventually, Travis completed the core Motorcycle program and went on to take the Harley-Davidson OEM classes. This included the 24-week Harley-Davidson Late Model elective, as well as the three-week Screamin’ Eagle® elective.

“I learned a lot, especially when I got to the Harley-Davidson elective classes. I really enjoyed the Screamin’ Eagle® elective for Harley. I want to focus on performance Harley builds later on in my career, and getting dyno experience really cemented that goal for me,” Travis says.

“The two instructors for that class, Jimmy McMillan and Mike Stellato, were some of my favorites that I had at school,” he adds.

Overall, Travis enjoyed his experience at MMI, and says that the only real challenge he faced was making the initial decision to take the leap and change his career.

From Campus to a Career

Travis graduated from MMI Orlando with the Top Tech award on November 4, 2021, ready to enter the industry and pursue a career. It helped that he had some choices lined up even before walking across the stage.

“I actually had a couple of job opportunities before I graduated,” he says. “I used the Employment Services website to find dealerships hiring in central Texas, because I knew that’s where I wanted to go. Then I sent out my résumé and transcript to the dealerships, and I had a job offer from two a month before I graduated.”6

Travis accepted a position at Adam Smith’s Harley-Davidson in Waco, Texas. He says he decided to go with them because they had a smaller service department, allowing him to work on a larger variety of jobs earlier in his career.

As of November 28, 2021, Travis had been on the job for two weeks and had already finished a complete custom paint swap. “(This included) the fenders, saddlebags, side covers, gas tank and fairing. I’m still learning a lot every day and enjoying it,” he says.

His goals include getting his Master Level Technician certification as soon as possible, and to one day work at a shop or start his own shop that focuses on performance Harley-Davidson builds.

Pursue Your Passion Today

Thanks to the education and experience he gained at MMI, Travis Conrad was able to start his career in the motorcycle industry. He made a shift and took a leap of faith to pursue his passion!

Travis’ advice to anyone in a similar situation is simple — just do it. “If this is something you are really interested in, then I would recommend going after it, because my only regret is that I didn’t pursue this sooner.”

With classes starting every six weeks, you have the flexibility to enroll at MMI and start working toward a future you’re excited about. Our Admissions Representatives are happy to offer guidance and support to get you started. Request more information 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

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.

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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