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Success Story: Student Interns Generate Needed Assistance for Startup

Student Interns Generate Needed Assistance for Startup

Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Motus Motorcycles is a very small startup with 13 employees. The company is committed to building the next generation of American motorcycles for die-hard riding enthusiasts. In addition, the Motus mighty V4 Baby Block® engine has been generating demand on its own. The company has received inquiries from companies and individuals wanting to use the engine for all kinds of applications, from powering sawmill equipment to powering airplanes. Motus considers itself to be two companies—a motorcycle company and a powertrain company.

Motus management and stakeholders determined that the company needed expert assistance in executing its new production line, along with reconfiguring available warehouse and production space to accommodate increased capacity. They contacted the Alabama Technology Network (ATN), part of the MEP National Network, for assistance.

The services of the [ATN] allowed us to create jobs, streamline what we’ve already got going, and make money as a business.  —Lee Conn, President

Working with the Alabama Productivity Center (APC) at the University of Alabama (UA), ATN provided three student interns from UA's Operations Management and Aerospace Engineering departments to assist Motus with process improvements to support production ramp-up. The company aimed at producing between 250 and 300 bikes, which is one motorcycle each working day needed to supply a network of 19 dealers across the nation. In addition, with the engine as the core of everything the company does, Motus planned to move production of the engine from a Texas facility to its Birmingham base to streamline the motorcycle assembly process.

Supported by center professional staff, the student interns facilitated the successful transfer of engine production operations. They reconfigured available space to increase storage and assembly capacity, avoid damage of parts, and reduce searching time to acquire necessary parts. The students also helped to improve the engine wiring harness design and assisted Motus in creating and incorporating critical standards for operations. "Those were the kind of things that lightened our load when we were really focusing on other parts of getting the business up off the ground,” explained Motus President Lee Conn, noting that the interns were very "knowledgeable, energetic, and skillful."


  • Increased sales of $500,000
  • Cost savings of $125,000
  • $600,000 new investments
  • Added/retained 6 jobs

Could your company benefit from assistance with streamlining production? Contact your local MEP Center for more information.


The Alabama Technology Network (ATN) is the official representative of the  MEP National Network™ in Alabama. The MEP National Network™ is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing.

About the author

Alabama Technology Network

The Alabama Technology Network (ATN) is a part of the Alabama Community College System and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.  ATN's team of experts helps solve the needs of industry and business through innovative, sustainable, cost-effective solutions. We can conduct detailed needs assessments, outline potential solutions based on the results, and then provide technical assistance to help you solve those problems or identify those who can.

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