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From Tinkering on Bikes to Getting Paid for Motorcycle Work

"MMI is an accelerated program, it's not part-time. It's not a little bit of your life. It was one of those things I had to fully commit to. It was one of those things I had to make huge drastic changes in my life in order to make it happen."


Around 8 years ago, Gregg West purchased his first motorcycle, a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. He says his passion for motorcycles came from the freedom the bikes provided, letting riders hop on and explore.

He started tinkering on his bike and discovered it was something he enjoyed doing – so much so that today, working on motorcycles as his career.

“It got exciting because I could actually take it apart and put it back together without having any extra parts,” says Gregg. “It blossomed into, 'Oh, you can actually make money off this, and you can actually do something with this.' There was way more of a path.”

Gregg purchased a Harley-Davidson motorcycle next. He decided school was the best next option for him to continue working on motorcycles and start making a professional career out of it. An Arizona native, Gregg attended Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) in Phoenix.

He graduated in 2015 and has been working with motorcycles ever since. Today, he's a technician at Desert Wind Harley-Davidson, surrounded by bikes just like the ones he loves to own.

How MMI Helped Gregg Grow a Motorcycle Career

Gregg took two Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) courses at MMI, for Harley-Davidson and Honda HonTech. Gregg says the programs were intensive because there was so much to learn, but they prepared him for his role today.

Gregg says part of what has made him a successful motorcycle professional was the supportive instructors at MMI. Gregg says his instructors gave him answers that helped him find appropriate solutions. He had teachers who helped him see his potential in the career field and led him in the right direction.

For students who are considering MMI or who are attending it today, he says it's important to be aware of the dedication the program requires in order to succeed.

“MMI is an accelerated program,” Gregg says. “It's not part-time. It's not a little bit of your life. It was one of those things I had to fully commit to. It was one of those things I had to make huge drastic changes in my life in order to make it happen.”

Gregg says he had a lot of personal life changes happening while he was in school, which he attended while working a full-time job. While the schedule was demanding and time-consuming, he's grateful to have stuck with it and to have gotten to where he is today.

A Daily Life Working on Bikes

Gregg has been at Desert Wind Harley-Davidson for about a year now, having come from an aftermarket shop and previously working at Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson. He works on oil changes, tires, batteries, testing, tech support, diagnosing motorcycles – a little bit of everything.

Gregg says in 5 to 10 years, he hopes to have master tech certification and more of a grasp of the where the motorcycle industry is heading.

“I'm really excited to see where the industry is going because it seems like everyone is starting to compete a little more with each other a little bit closer,” Gregg says. “The older technology is getting out of the door, so it's interesting to see where the leaders are starting to take points.”

For students who are looking to find a job in motorcycles like Gregg, he advises that it's important to make yourself stand out to employers. Gregg called his service manager every day for 2 weeks to put himself out there and make a name for himself, to show that hunger that can impress employers.

“There are new people every 6 weeks who want a job, so you have to remember if you're not serious about it and you don't want it, there's somebody else who does,” Gregg says.

If you're interested in a career in working on motorcycles, contact MMI for motorcycle school information

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