As an aspiring photographer in high school, Alix Rivard found that her favorite subjects tended to have four tires and a hood, preferably with a custom engine under it. That was when the Macomb automotive service technology student had a glimpse of where her future might lead.
“I didn’t know much about cars when I started the program,” offers Rivard, 24, who works at Alta Equipment Company. “Now, at work, they come to me with questions about engines. I learned everything I know at Macomb. It’s an awesome program, and I’ve grown so much as a technician.”
After reading her application essay, the North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) Foundation agreed, awarding Rivard a $1,000 scholarship at its national convention held at Macomb in July.
“I was surprised that I won because I know how competitive these scholarships are,” says Rivard, shown here accepting the scholarship from her professor, Dave Roland. “This will help me pay for my last four classes.”
As a single homeowner, paying for a mortgage and tuition has required Rivard to hold a full-time job throughout college. She started out in the office at Alta but happily moved to the shop floor, assisting in the repair and customization of construction equipment.
“No desk job for me,” says Rivard, who was raised by a single mom in a “NASCAR” family. Still, she has no intention of becoming the next Danica Patrick. “I would love to drive a race car just once, but I prefer to be behind the scenes building the motors.”
Rivard, who is also earning a welding certificate at Macomb, currently drives a 1984 Chevy K10 and plans to overhaul the truck’s transmission soon. But, she would gladly trade it in for a 1970ish Chevy Blazer with a removable top and an engine for her to rebuild.
“I like breaking them down and rebuilding them,” says Rivard, who has taken all of the engine classes at Macomb, with an eye toward becoming a performance engine builder for Team Penske. “I fell in love with engines at Macomb.”