For Madison Smith, a Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology graduate from Lincoln Tech’s Nashville campus, the best way to stay true to herself and showcase her talents has been opening her own shop. In Milan, TN, about two hours west of the state capital, Riveting Rides is open for business!
Madison, who grew up as both the daughter and granddaughter of mechanics, knew from an early age she’d find her career path doing something auto-related. She decided early on that her love of painting would be an exciting way to make an artistic mark on the industry she loved. Successful showings in multiple SkillsUSA refinishing competitions – including becoming the state’s first female first-place winner – set her up to take the next step as a student at Lincoln Tech.
Her own custom paint shop in Tennessee was now in sight
After graduating from Lincoln, Madison landed a job working for Collision Hub, a website dedicated to improving communications and training within the auto body industry. “That was amazing experience,” she says. “I got the opportunity to travel and meet my idols in the industry.”
One of her subsequent jobs was with Bogi’s Garage in Phoenix, where she was a member of the all-female build team that restored a 1957 Chevy pickup. The team unveiled their project at SEMA 2017 – the annual convention held by the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association, which Madison calls “the most life-changing experience I’ve ever had.”
“It was life-changing not only for the chance to work beside other influential women in the industry,” she says. “The conversations we had about our experiences [as women in the industry] is something I will never forget.”
After spending time on the road working on other builds, Madison started feeling the call to return home to Tennessee. Now it was time to get serious about her ultimate goal of having her own shop.
“I had worked at a body shop in high school, and coincidentally that shop was vacant and available for rent,” she recalls. “It was pretty cool going back to my old stomping grounds.”
Madison had the drive and a dream, and a Lincoln Tech education helped her turn it into reality! She opened her shop this summer – “Riveting Rides is the name, painting hot rods is our game!” she says – and along the way she has been profiled by publications like Auto Body News. The long, exciting road has taken her around the country and back home to Tennessee, where she can go to work each day doing something that she loves.
Let Lincoln Tech do the same for you and put you on a course to reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself! Tour your local campus and see how we can help you put your potential to work!