MMI Grad Creates Platform to Empower Female Motorcycle Techs

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Mar 12, 2020 ·

At just 22 years old, Liana Acevedo is making a name for herself in the motorcycle industry. After graduating from MMI-Orlando at the top of her class, she became a service technician at one of the largest dealerships on the east coast.1

Liana is passionate about empowering females who love all things motorcycles. In her spare time, she runs an Instagram account called @thegirlswhowrench, where she features different females in the industry and has created a community where female techs can empower one another.

Keep reading to learn all about Liana’s story and how she’s paving the way for females in the motorcycle industry.

Liana’s Story

Liana’s dad rode Harleys, and growing up, she remembers watching super cross. She wasn’t familiar with dirt bikes before, but once she saw them on TV, she fell in love with the sport and wanted to start riding and racing herself.

At a young age, Liana began riding and quickly became fascinated with how bikes work. One day, her motorcycle broke, so she took it into a shop in her hometown in New Jersey. She went to the shop owner and asked if she could help out, and ended up working there for two years.

While working at the shop, Liana took classes at her local community college and earned her Associate’s degree. She loved working at the shop, but quickly realized that she needed certifications and wanted to learn more about the industry. The shop she worked in was older, and she wanted to learn more about electronics and how to work on newer bikes that were coming out.

While researching schools, a few of Liana’s friends recommended Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI). She first heard of the school when MMI came to her high school’s college fair, which is what initially planted the seed in her mind. When her friends suggested MMI, she looked into the school further and knew it was the place for her.

Being from New Jersey, Liana wasn’t sure how she would get to Orlando initially. Her parents were hesitant at first because of how far it was from home, but they were supportive of her passion. “I knew whatever it took, I had to get there,” she shares. 

After getting the approval of her parents and making housing arrangements with the help of UTI and MMI’s Housing Assistance team, Liana packed her bags and headed to Orlando, FL to complete her motorcycle training.

Training at MMI

When coming to MMI, Liana wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It was her first time being away from home on her own, so everything was new to her. However, she quickly felt at home being among those who shared her same passion for motorcycles. “I felt like we all understood each other. It was almost like we all came from the same place,” she says.

Liana Acevedo female motorcycle mechanics institute grad selfie

Liana loved getting to know her instructors. They were very supportive of her, and she keeps in touch with some of them to this day! Liana went to MMI on a mission to get the best grades, and her instructors cheered her on every step of the way. “They gave me everything that I needed to prove myself,” she shares. 

During her time at MMI, Liana received not one, but two Top Tech awards for Kawasaki and  Yamaha. These are awarded to students who go above and beyond. Liana also was the student of the course for several of her classes, which meant she had the highest grade.

“I really put everything into the material and studying,” Liana says. Her hard work certainly paid off, and she was recognized for her incredible achievements along the way.6

One of Liana’s favorite memories from MMI was learning and using the dynamometer in her engine performance class, which sparked a passion in her for learning about race engines. Another one of her favorite memories was the community she found while on campus. Liana’s roommate was a girl who was also attending MMI, and they became close friends who still keep in touch today.

Being so far from home, Liana shares that it was nice to have a friend there, and it helped her to settle into her surroundings. She was also able to connect with a lot of other females on campus, who provided a great support system as she completed her training. 

Starting Her Career

After graduating from MMI, Liana headed back to New Jersey to start her career. Today, she is a service technician at Motorcycle Mall in Belleville, NJ—one of the largest dealerships on the east coast!1 With 16 brands in-house and counting, Motorcycle Mall is the tri-state area’s premier motorcycle and powersports dealership.

On any given day, Liana will work on a wide variety of bikes, from Harley-Davidson to  Kawasaki to KTM. She uses her knowledge from MMI to do maintenance and repair and as she puts it, gets to fix things all day. She loves working on all types of makes and models—it’s always a new challenge and no two days are the same.

Liana credits MMI for giving her a foundation of knowledge that she is now building on in her career. “I feel like I was given the basics to continue my learning,” she says. She learns something new on the job every day.

“MMI gave me the tools I needed to know what I’m doing,” Liana continues. She learned the importance of keeping service manuals and how to go back and reference them when needed. According to her, no matter how long you’ve been in this industry, you’ll constantly be learning. It’s important to keep an open mind and be teachable.

Empowering Female Motorcycle Techs

Liana has experienced both the challenges and advantages that can come with being a female in this industry. Females are often in the minority, and Liana shares that one of the biggest challenges she has faced is when people doubt her abilities. 

There have been many times throughout Liana’s career when she has had to persevere and prove others wrong when they question her ability to do something. “Even when I didn’t know how to do something, I would do it over and over again until I could,” she shares.

On the other hand, one of the advantages to being a female in this industry is the strong camaraderie among females. “We empower each other,” Liana says. It’s less about competition and more about encouraging each other to succeed. This is what inspired Liana to create a community of her own through her Instagram account, @thegirlswhowrench.

Liana created The Girls Who Wrench after attending MMI. She remembers being nervous about the thought of being one of the few girls coming to MMI, but was pleasantly surprised by the number of females she was joined by in her classes.

“It can seem intimidating, but if more girls can see that there are girls out there doing this, they’ll feel more comfortable taking the step to go school,” she shares.

On her Instagram account, Liana features different females in the industry as well as inspiration and tech tips. It’s grown into an incredible community where girls can share their passion and encourage one another.

Liana’s dad always told her she could do anything she set her mind to, which is the message she hopes to share through her platform. Her advice for aspiring techs is to follow your dreams and not listen to the negative opinions of others. Instead, let it fuel you and prove them wrong.

When it comes to training for a career in the motorcycle industry, Liana recommends investing in your education. “I would absolutely recommend MMI,” she says. “Keep your head down, study hard, and dive into the textbooks.” If you put everything into it, you can get everything out of it!

Liana’s Goals for the Future

Liana has a big future ahead of her. She hopes to continue to grow her knowledge of the industry and become better and better as a technician. Her goal is to become a master tech, and with everything she’s achieved in her career so far, she’s well on her way.

“I feel like with the knowledge and tools I gained at MMI, I can do anything,” she shares. She doesn’t want to limit herself to just motorcycles—she would love to one day work on cars, watercraft and heavy equipment as well.

Finally, Liana wants to continue empowering other female techs on their journey and set an example of what it looks like to follow your dreams. She’s already made an incredible impact on the industry, and we’re excited to follow her success in the years to come!

Want to learn more about potential careers in the motorcycle industry? Check out our motorcycle career guide.

Train for a Career in the Motorcycle Industry

MMI’s 42-week Motorcycle Technician training program is offered at two campus locations in Phoenix, AZ and  Orlando, FL. To learn more, visit our program page and request information to get in touch with an admissions representative today!

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