Josh West - 2009 Graduate, MTTI Motorcycle / Power Equipment Technician

Success Stories

Josh West

2009 Graduate, MTTI Motorcycle / Power Equipment Technician
Customer Service /Dealer Sales Rep, Twisted Throttle, Exeter, RI 

“MTTI is the first step in whatever your dream is—the path starts there and sets you in the right direction.”

I didn’t enjoy working full-time at a bank. I had been riding dirt bikes since I was a little boy. One day, I was in the garage, staring at my bike, and I said to myself: ‘This is what I want to do (as a career).

I lived in Riverside, within a few miles of MTTI (which was then located solely in East Providence). The School wasn’t yet advertised on billboards, and I hadn’t yet seen the bus stop ads. I googled schools and then visited MTTI to meet with instructor Jay Coffey. I was really impressed with the program. After my visit, I presented the information to my parents, who agreed to split the bill with me. I’m thankful to them for helping me attend school.

I was only about 19 and didn’t have the drive to go through four years of college—four years is a long time for 19 year old kids.

A seven month program is obtainable. You can keep the goal in the forefront and see yourself getting closer every day—the program flies by. Learning at MTTI was enjoyable; I had fun “playing” every day with bikes. I made friends at school, some of whom I remain in touch with; we still help each other solve bike problems.

I understood I would be entry-level at the program’s completion.

The program familiarized me with every term and all the tools in the industry. I even welded and did custom work on my own bike. My instructor, Mike, taught me a trick about carburetors that helped me get my bike running. I did a side-job for my Dad—I welded a mini chopper.

During the program Mike let me try all types of jobs. Because I had the opportunity to screw up in the school shop and have Mike’s help to fix it, when I started working I had the confidence to do the job right the first time. 

I interned with Frank, who owned Riders’.

Initially Frank couldn’t hire me when the internship ended. While I was getting out resumes, I continued to work for him voluntarily. When I proved that I could make more money than he would be paying me, Frank hired me. I was paid by the hour. It’s best not to be paid flat rate until you are 100% comfortable with all the jobs.  Until you can make money for the business you are a risk and a liability. As an entry level tech you are at the bottom of the totem pole; expect to prove yourself if you want to get paid more dollars.

I started out doing the small stuff—repairing and maintaining log splitters, weed whackers, lawn mowers.  During School I had worked on the carburetor of Ward Ring’s friend’s sport bike. One of Frank’s customers had the same bike as Ward’s friend—I could fix that bike! Frank’s willingness to let me try different jobs, and even fail, helped me build up experience. I stayed for nine months, until Frank closed the business and moved to Florida. 

I walked into Minuteman Harley-Davidson in Dartmouth, MA with an MTTI Certificate and nine months of experience—I was hired.

Working with Frank had prepared me to work at the faster pace at Minuteman. I twisted wrenches, worked in parts, called and made deliveries to customers. I got the full experience of what it takes to run a shop.

I left Minuteman for a great opportunity to work as a Rider Coach for the RI Rider Education Program at CCRI. It’s been one of my most rewarding jobs to properly introduce people to the sport and teach them how to safely ride. I did that close to full time during the summer of 2012, while also taking some history classes at CCRI. 

I saw the job description at Twisted Throttle on Craigslist.

Using the resume that Joan in MTTI’s Career Services helped me prepare, I added my recent experience and submitted it for the position. I met with Eric, the owner, and started work the following week, in November 2012.

Twisted Throttle is very focused on safety and functional riding—we’re more “rider oriented” than many other dealerships. I felt very comfortable knowing I had the knowledge and experience to walk in and relate well to employees and customers. Both the variety of bikes and motors I learned on at MTTI, and the ones I worked on at Riders’ and Minuteman, helped me understand how to work with riders of all types of bikes.

I started working in Customer Service, learning all of the products and how to install them.

I currently provide technical support to customers by phone, internet, email and online chat. I advise them on what accessories to install and how to install them; I also assist them by problem solving.

I work in the shop, too. Now I can rotate around—I might answer the phone in the morning, change a tire in the afternoon. No day is ever the same—it’s never boring. I’ve started traveling, for example, to the International Motorcycle Shows, which are held in New York City, Minnesota and Las Vegas. I meet lots of different people, all of whom are excited about motorcycles. I see new models—the newest releases.

MTTI’s program gave me the credibility to walk into a place and be considered for hire—it gave me a foot in the door.

The bottom line is MTTI gives you the tools to work in the industry—how you use that is another story. You have to be willing to go out and show your drive and initiative and prove yourself. What you get out of MTTI is comparable to longer programs, but it is more affordable—you get more “bang for your buck”. MTTI is the first step in whatever your dream is—the path starts there and sets you in the right direction.

Twisted Throttle
570 Nooseneck Hill Rd., Exeter, RI 02822
855-255-5550 /  http://www.twistedthrottle.com
If you’re a motorcycle rider—and especially if you are interested in gear for adventure and sport-touring motorcycles—you’ll want to visit the Twisted Throttle Factory Store. It’s a retail showroom full of accessories, riding gear, maintenance items, and electronic gadgets for riders of all makes or models of bikes. Twisted Throttle is also an amazing destination. You can relax in the café, have your bike inspected or serviced, and even watch a motorcycle movie on the wide screen.