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At this year’s SkillsUSA Challenge, Motorcycle Service Technology student Colton Messer won a Gold Medal and a grand prize: a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle for Pickens Technical College’s Motorcycle Service Technology program. SkillsUSA pits students against each other in challenges of professional skill and scholastic achievement. There are many different kinds of challenges, including competitions for students trying to break into the auto industry. Messer’s performance in this year’s events brought home a new Harley Davidson and showed off all of the skills he learned in the Motorcycle Service Technology program at PTC, taught by the wise and experienced Tom Laing.

The Motorcycle Service Technology course at PTC is designed, like all PTC courses, to prepare students for a productive career. This course covers all of the basic elements of motorcycle service and repair technology so students can go right from PTC to an entry-level position in the industry. Students like Messer learn vehicle system service and repair, engine overhaul instruction, troubleshooting, and diagnostic procedures, all steeped in a background of mechanical and electrical theory. Students can take their knowledge from this class and apply it to motorcycles of course, but also to many other mechanical and electronic work they may find themselves in.

Tom Laing, the instructor of the Motorcycle Service Technology course at PTC, (he’s not as old as I make him sound) has seventeen years of experience teaching students how to enter the motorcycle repair industry and create a successful career for themselves there. In his 16 years of experience in the industry, he has experienced all facets of operating an American and Metric motorcycle dealership, including extensive experience working as a line mechanic and service manager. He knows the motorcycle industry inside and out and prides himself on his knowledge of the bikes he sold and works on to this day. Laing is a certified technician who has worked for several American and Metric brands including Arctic Cat, Kawasaki, Harley Davidson (of course), Honda, and Yamaha. For ten years, he has helped students repair and build the best bikes. He has prepared many for lucrative careers in the motorcycle industry.

Colton Messer used his knowledge and the hands-on experience he gained in Tom Laing’s Motorcycle Service Technology class to take home a gold medal at the SkillsUSA challenge earlier this year. The brand new Harley will no doubt help inspire a new wave of students in Laing’s class to be the best motorcycle mechanics they can be by following Laing’s lead. Laing is of course extremely proud of Messer and all of his students for their achievements in and out of the classroom.

What you’ll get in the Motorcycle Service Technology program at PTC is a wide range of skills to help you in the next step in your career. And remember what Laing’s students always say: “motorcycles are way cooler than cars.”