MTTI Gold Wrench Award Winner
Marine Mechanic, Onset Bay Marina
ACCSC* 2015 Outstanding Graduate Award recipient
*Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
“I came to MTTI with no knowledge about the marine industry. I had never even started an outboard motor! MTTI really does set you up to be successful and to have a career. Attending MTTI was the best decision I made.”
Before coming to MTTI, I served for four years in the United States Air Force as a Jet Engine Mechanic (Aerospace Propulsion Journeyman). After leaving the Air Force, I worked for seven years, performing medical billing as an Accounts Receivable Representative for a nursing facility. I wondered if I should get my A & P license (Airframe and/or Powerplant) so that I could work as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician.
I began looking online for mechanical training schools and MTTI came up in the search. MTTI has short-term programs, which made it less expensive than at other schools. I appreciated that the program included an internship to help get you into the field. As a Career Changer (and a single mother to my 10-year old daughter), I wanted to be sure I would have a paycheck at the end of the program. The tool bonus, given to graduates upon acceptance of a training-related position, was huge—I didn’t have any tools I could use on the job.
Coming into the program, I felt behind the curve.
A lot of my classmates had experience, and I had none. I had no knowledge about the industry. I had never even started an outboard motor! Mechanical experience in the Air Force was helpful, but working on a plane is very different than working on a boat. In the aircraft industry, you work as part of a crew, on big engines. In the marine industry, each person has a job and goes out by his or her self to do it.
I was the only female—and the smallest person—in the class.
During the first weeks, I had second thoughts. I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’ I expressed these doubts to my instructor, Don. I told him, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ Don asked me to give it a chance. He said, “It’s a fun industry—and there are different areas in which you can work. You might be better off working on inboards, where you can climb into the boat, in comparison with outboards, where you have to take off a heavy cover. There are also positions in parts
or as a Service Writer.”
It helped that all the guys in class were supportive. I really appreciate that MTTI has a small, close-knit community. In class, I became excited every time I learned to do something new. It was such a good feeling to know I had my hands on something and could fix it. Gradually I became comfortable—but I was petrified about going out to internship. I didn’t know what to expect.
I emailed my resume to seven marinas, including Onset Bay Marina.
I took a day to drive around and meet people, and to personally hand them my packet of internship information. I was invited to interview at three Marinas. I connected most with the person who later became my co-worker at Onset Bay, and was accepted there for internship.
When I began the internship, my co-worker took me under his wing. A part-time teacher of marine mechanics in Plymouth, he has a lot of knowledge to share. He showed me technical skills that really helped me on the job.
My co-worker assured me that it just takes time and experience to become proficient.
He said, “You’re smart enough. I can see you going to manufacturers’ trainings and soaking it up.” As the internship ended, he reviewed with me the progress I had made; he confirmed that I was a good fit for the industry. He stressed that I had filled a void, helping them get through a busy spring—the boats wouldn’t be in the water if I hadn’t been there.
In class at MTTI everyone was accepting and helpful. During internship, I found I had no difficulty in a male-dominated industry. As a smaller person, I sometimes needed to ask for help; I learned that it was ok—everyone was happy to help me. And I could help them in return because, as a smaller person, I was able to crawl into spaces that were difficult for a larger person to access.
As the internship ended, I was hired as a Marine Technician.
Now I’m driving boats and taking them out for sea trials. I’m also working towards completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management at Bridgewater State University. With my business education and work experience in billing, computer and office skills, I can see myself growing in the industry. If I do, some day, supervise other employees or have the opportunity to run a marina, I’ll have all the pieces put together.
When I have I tough day, I think to myself, ‘I could still be working at a desk'.
My co-worker reminds me to look out at the water and appreciate where I am. I have come so far in a short amount of time and I keep progressing. I feel this is exactly where I am supposed to be. Juggling all of my responsibilities—as a single mom, college student, an MTTI Marine Service Technician student, and as an intern—seemed daunting at the beginning. You think you can’t do all that, but you can. You figure it out as you are doing it.
When I first found MTTI’s website, I was intrigued by their video: “One Day Can Change Your Life”.
Now that I have completed the program, and have a job I love at the Marina, I know that one day did change my life. MTTI really does set you up to be successful and to have a career. Attending MTTI was the best decision I made.
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PHOTO: Sharon Ring, Vice President of MTTI, Alyssa Linkamper, MTTI Marine Service Technician Graduate & 2015 ACCSC Outstanding Graduate Award recipient, and Eddie Ring, Assistant Director of MTTI with (left) Christopher D. Lambert, ACCSC Associate Executive Director and (right) Michale S. McComis, Ed.D., ACCSC Executive Director.