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GPTC alum blends both careers with ease
August 06, 2012
GPTC alumnus Austin Hunter Burchardt ('10) at the V-103 Car & Bike Show, an event the Atlanta radio station hosts annually at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Austin Hunter Burchardt is one of many Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) alums who knows how to, as the late author-poet-philosopher Henry David Thoreau put it, "go confidently in the direction of your dreams!" Over the last five years, Burchardt has been successfully combining career with passion.
Burchardt entered GPTC's Motorcycle Service Technology Program in 2005 while working a full-time day job.
"I was a motorcycle enthusiast and working as a private investigator. So, I took the motorcycle night class at the College just to educate myself on my hobby, said Burchardt, an Atlanta native."When I finished the program, I wasn't doing private investigative work anymore. I had to intern in order to graduate from the program, and that experience just kind of sucked me into the motorcycle industry."
Upon graduating with a certificate in 2007, he immediately continued studying at the College, earning an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in 2009. His Georgia Piedmont Tech instructors included Mike Sachs of the Motorcycle Technology diploma program, and Valerie Brown of the Criminal Justice Technology degree program.
Burchardt had earned is criminal justice degree, yet the motorcycle industry continued to beckon.
"When I finished GPTC's (then DeKalb Technical College) motorcycle program, I had met some pro AMA race racers on teams that needed simple [mechanical-services] support. These were on-television, pro AMA race teams whose members were doing well at the time, said Burchardt.
Those relationships he built helped to pave his way into amateur motorcycle roadracing championships himself, between 2009 and 2010. He had strategically begun showing up to race in various regional rounds–under his racing team name Wing and a Prayer–which he said earned him enough points to snag a couple championships. The certified mechanic also began leading motorcycle-technology classes.
In October 2009, Burchardt clinched the Mid-Central Championship for the WERA (Western-Eastern Racing Association) 125GP class, along with a CCS (Championship Cup Series) National Championship. He competed in the WERA Pirelli Sportsman Series, and in that first year out the gate, he had a surprisingly successful season by managing top-three podium finishes for almost every race attended. Traveling to Daytona, Fla., on a whim for the CCS Race of Champions, Burchardt departed that city as a trophy-toting National Champion for the 125GP Amateur class.
"I didn't really go racing to win, said Burchardt. "When I graduated, I looked around the industry at all the guys doing what I aspire to do, and every single one of them at one time or another in their careers was racing," he said. "So it just made sense that if I wanted to go into the other nature of the motorcycle industry, I should get some life experience. Just go do it."
"Austin loves the industry, and he recognized that this was the way to get into it," said Sachs, now friend and mentor. I've watched him try a couple different things [in the motorcycle industry]. He's fun to watch, and it's fun to watch him grow."
Burchardt, a resident of Decatur, worked in a marketing-management capacity for a few power sports companies, as well as for racing teams, including Liberty Waves Racing (which has since evolved into Team Go4one, in which he maintains a personal invested interest). Meanwhile, Sachs personally assists on the mechanical-support side of Liberty Waves Racing team.
Today, Burchardt considers himself retired from racing in championships himself—but not from the power sports industry. In fact, he's speeding ahead faster than ever.
"I am now more of an 'academic study' of criminal justice, and I work actively in the motorcycle/racing/power sports industry," said the married father of two children who has been riding street bikes for 13 years.
In May of this year, Burchardt earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Georgia State University (GSU). He is currently awaiting word of acceptance into the GSU's criminal justice master's program, which he hopes to begin in spring 2013.
Burchardt said he feels there has been a void in the racing industry: the providing of special services needed to racers, teams and power sports companies. In April of this year, following the AMA Pro Racing Series held in Atlanta, Burchardt launched Motolust Consulting Group. His new company (Facebook: Motolust Consulting Group) provides services such as securing sponsors, marketing and public relations, ticket sales, crafting race resumes, and obtaining dealers for motorcycle riding-gear apparel. Joining his roster of racing-team clients was his biggest client, Erik Buell Racing (EBR), a motorcycle sport company which produces street and racing motorcycles, based in East Troy, Wisconsin. EBR is the number-one manufacturer of American-made sports bikes.
Burchardt said he credits GPTC instructor Mike Sachs' motorcycle technology class, the practical experience he gained as a racer and his know-how for securing Atlanta-area sponsors for providing him with the relationships he has built throughout the state–and beyond; his company now services the Alabama market.
"He's gonna make something happen with his Georgia Piedmont Tech education–something that's a little bit off-center," said Sachs. "Hunter is a good example–for me and for my students–of someone who figured out that he wanted to something a little different, to use a different skill set. He's innovative, tenacious, unconventional–and smart!"
How do Burchardt's power sports career and criminal justice coexist?
"I think the two can complement each other," he said. "I'd love to work as a motorcycle tour guide on motorcycle tours around the world. If you think about a motorcycle tour–whether the stop is Mongolia or Japan–you're going to need a company to provide security and someone to work on the bikes."
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About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.