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A New Meaning to Freedom: Get to Know MMI Grad & Veteran Harvey Paige

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Nov 10, 2020 ·
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Veterans Day has a special meaning here at Universal Technical Institute. It’s a day to honor all who have served our country—which includes many of our incredible students and graduates across our campuses.

Among these inspiring stories is Harvey Paige, a 2015 graduate from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Florida. After serving our country for close to 10 years, Harvey decided to pursue his love for motorcycles full-time. Today, he’s a master technician at Toad Suck Harley-Davidson in Arkansas.

For Harvey, working on motorcycles is about so much more than turning wrenches. This career has changed his life, and he’s using it to change the lives of others who have faced similar challenges. Keep reading to learn about Harvey’s story and how he’s making an impact in his community and beyond.

Serving Our Country

Harvey joined the military in 2001. He was deployed six times and suffered eight concussions and a variety of other injuries. While he had originally planned to pursue the military as his career, he returned home in 2010 after a serious leg injury.

Like many veterans, Harvey’s transition back to civilian life was anything but easy. Not only was he without a job, he was suffering from the repercussions of his injuries. He was used to the structure and sense of camaraderie that came with being in the military, both of which he lost when he returned home.

“It was like the walls were caving in,” Harvey shares. He felt alone as he faced the emotions he had bottled up from his time at war. When he reached his lowest of lows, he attempted to take his own life.

Luckily, Harvey’s story didn’t end there. In fact, it marked the beginning of a new chapter. It was this event that made Harvey realize he needed help, and that he was in need of a new passion he could apply himself to. For him, the answer was simple: motorcycles.

When Motorcycles Came Into the Picture

Harvey grew up on a farm, where he was always working on cars, trucks and farm equipment. Working on engines was familiar to him, but his passion for motorcycles was actually sparked while he was in the military.

One night when Harvey was stationed in Italy, he met someone who owned Harley-Davidson bikes. He and several of his comrades ended up taking the bikes out for a spin, and he fell in love with riding. After that, he started tinkering on bikes … and it’s safe to say the rest is history.

When Harvey was in search of a career upon returning home, following his passion for motorcycles just made sense. “It was a natural fit,” he says. He ended up getting a job at a local Harley-Davidson, where he swept floors and helped out with whatever the shop needed.

Eventually, Harvey started doing oil changes on the bikes in the shop and realized he needed to learn more. Working on these bikes required additional skills, which is what eventually led to his decision to enroll at MMI. He packed his bags and headed to Orlando to complete his motorcycle training.

Harvey’s MMI Journey

Harvey excelled during his time at MMI. While he had some prior experience working on bikes, he went to MMI in 2014 ready to learn.

“I wanted to be a sponge,” Harvey says. His goal was to learn as much as he possibly could. He loved all of his courses, but his favorites were the electrical course and the performance course, where he got to see his work in action on the dynamometer.

Harvey appreciated the real-world element his instructors brought into the classroom. According to him, the instructors weren’t just teaching from a book—they were teaching based on real-life experiences. “It’s all of those tips and tricks that made me a better tech,” he shares.

Harvey graduated at the top of his class. He applied many of the same principles he learned in the military to his training. “While I was going to school, I took the dedication I gained through the military and applied it to my studies. That really helped me to succeed,” he says.

“MMI set me up for success,” Harvey continues. His training gave him a foundation of knowledge he could build upon in the industry. Currently, he’s just one class away from becoming master certified—which was one of the things he wanted to accomplish when pursuing this career path.

Living His Dream

After graduating from MMI’s core motorcycle and Harley-Davidson programs, Harvey returned to the same shop he was working at before—but this time, as a technician.1 He ended up following his manager to a shop in Conway, Arkansas, which is where he still works today.

“Spinning wrenches and fixing these motorcycles is how I deal with my demons,” Harvey shares. He loves his job and the variety that comes with it. Whether it’s doing routine maintenance or a motor build, Harvey never knows what’s going to come through his door—which keeps things exciting. 

One of Harvey’s favorite aspects of his job is being able to take bikes out on test rides to ensure everything works for the customer. This inspires him to put his everything into each project he works on, because he knows he’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor by taking the bike out on the beautiful roads of Arkansas.

At this point, there’s not much that Harvey can’t fix. His focus, attention to detail and drive, all of which he learned in the military, are what continue to propel his career forward. “I was able to take all of that knowledge and apply it to working in the shop,” he says.

Making a Difference

Since returning home, Harvey has found purpose in his work and family—but the road hasn’t been easy. “Every day is still a transition,” he says.

Harvey is actively involved with the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and active-duty service members in a variety of ways, whether it be through financial support or help with the effects of PTSD.

WWP organizes a variety of ‘Project Odysseys,’ which feature different adventure-based activities veterans can take part in. One of these is the Rolling Project Odyssey, a motorcycle group riding experience that supports veterans in their recovery.

In 2015, Harvey went on his first odyssey, and he says it changed his life. He was nervous to go at first, because he had never talked openly about his experiences and emotions being in the military. But in just one week, that all changed.

“By the end of the week, we were all brothers. It was kind of like we had been together for years,” he shares.

According to Harvey, WWP helps to instill a sense of camaraderie that many veterans lose when they return home to civilian life. Whether it’s attending a local meetup or calling to check in with each other, these programs help veterans to know they’re not alone.

One of the most exciting things Harvey has gotten to do through WWP was travelling to Nashville, Tennessee, where he got to work with songwriters to create a song about the struggles veterans like Harvey face. “If I can stop one person from committing suicide, that’s the only thing I care about,” Harvey shares.

Looking Ahead

Like any great technician, Harvey has big goals for the future. He hopes to one day become a service manager or even open a shop of his own. He’s also considered returning to MMI as an instructor to pass his knowledge on to the next generation.

When Harvey’s not busy working in the shop, he’s spending time with his family. He has two boys, ages 13 and 15. His youngest is into bikes and has his own tool set, and he enjoys looking over Harvey’s notes from his time at MMI.

Harvey’s story has already impacted the lives of many, and he’s just getting started. We’re excited to follow his success in the years to come!

Special thanks to Harvey and all who have risked their lives serving our country. To learn more about the resources UTI offers veterans and military service members, visit our Military & Veterans Services page.

Train to Become a Motorcycle Technician

Looking to turn your passion for motorcycles into a career? MMI’s 42-week Motorcycle Technician training program is designed to equip you with the skills today’s employers are looking for. To learn more, visit our program page and request information to get in touch with an Admissions Representative today.

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It only takes a few minutes to learn about technician training opportunities.

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By submitting this form, I agree that Universal Technical Institute, Inc., Custom Training Group, Inc., and their representatives may email, call, and / or text me with marketing messages about educational programs and services, as well as for school - related communications, at any phone number I provide, including a wireless number, using prerecorded calls or automated technology. I understand that my consent is not required to apply, enroll or make any purchase.

By submitting this form, I further understand and agree that all information provided is subject to UTI’s Privacy Policy available at uti.edu/privacy-policy

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