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Changing Lanes

Long-Time Harley-Davidson Stalwart and Sturgis Hall of Fame Inductee Retires

End of an era for The Motor Company as long-time Harley-Davidson stalwart and Sturgis Hall Of Fame inductee Steve Piehl has retired.

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Steve Piehl

Steve Piehl

End of an era for The Motor Company as long-time Harley-Davidson stalwart  and Sturgis Hall Of Fame inductee Steve Piehl has retired. He told his friends, “I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career at Harley-Davidson with great assignments like HOG, the launch of harley-davidson.com, leading the team that created Jumpstart, the Project LiveWire Experience Tour and so many more,” says Piehl. “There’s a brand-new motorcycle in my garage and lots of friends who I’d like to have a beer with. I’ve also got a few non-profits that have been calling me and friends in business who have asked for some help. Best regards to to all my friends in motorcycling.”

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Michael Madej

Michael Madej

MPN parent company Babcox Media has a new director of digital media as Michael Madej joins the team. Madej will be responsible for driving reader engagement and enhancing the user experience for all Babcox brands. Madej was most recently with Vendome Group and prior to that, he spent 15 years with Penton Media, where he was the leader of all digital activities for the Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group. “We are especially excited to bring Michael on at the same time we are launching AMN Global, and a number of other new and innovative products, where he will have a key role,” says John DiPaola, Vice President/Group Publisher. Madej earned his Master of Business Administration from Cleveland State University and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Baldwin Wallace University.

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Tim Olson

Tim Olson

Former moto-editor and PR guy Tim Olson is back in the motorcycle industry, replacing Frankie Garcia as Public Relations Manager for Suzuki Motor of America. The 40-year-old motorcycle enthusiast spent 11 years as a journalist at Hi-Torque with Motocross Action before branching out into the corporate PR world at Yamaha for eight years. Most recently Olson worked in corporate communications outside the motorcycle industry. “I quickly realized how much I love motorcycles and this industry,” claims Olson. “I’m excited to lead the charge at Suzuki with the company’s exciting new products and continuing growth.” As PR Manager, Olson will work closely with the motorcycle press corps and will plan new product introductions across Suzuki’s motorcycle, scooter and ATV segments. “We’re thrilled to bring Tim on to the Suzuki team,” adds Suzuki Communications Manager Steve Bortolamedi. “With his experience and enthusiasm, Tim will surely get traction quickly and help Suzuki gain exposure in the market.”

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 Steve Veltri

Steve Veltri

More rumblings from the V-Twin side of the industry as Küryakyn has named Steve Veltri Vice President Brand Management. In his new role, Veltri is responsible for leading brand strategy Küryakyn, Crusher and Bahn, a new brand of accessories. “We’re very excited and fortunate to have Steve join the Küryakyn team,” says company President Holger Mohr. “Steve’s enthusiastic personality and experience developing multiple consumer brand strategies and educating dealer and distributor networks will ensure we deliver the right message to the right audience for not only Küryakyn, but also for Crusher and Bahn.” Velti’s industry experience includes more than 20 years with Custom Chrome, Inc. (starting as sales rep in 1991 and eventually working his way up to VP of Sales & Marketing in 2008). In February 2013, Veltri was hired by Küryakyn parent company Motorsports Aftermarket Group (MAG) as Director of Sales for Mustang Seats. “I’m thrilled to be part of the Küryakyn Team, a passionate group of fellow motorcycle enthusiasts,” says Veltri. “We have great structure already in place within the three brands, and I’m very much looking forward to assisting with brand messaging and the continued delivery of some exceptional new products for the industry.”

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SBS Brakes

SBS Brakes

Late braking news: SBS Brakes is upgrading its presence in the U.S. powersports market for 2015. The Scandinavian-based manufacturer has added Chris Jensen as SBS brand manager for the USA. He will be touring the country to support dealers, reps and SBS partners to raise brand awareness for the brakes. Most recently with Eric Buell Racing, Chris used to run his own performance parts shop and worked with performance products including Pirelli and Öhlins. Based in the Chicago area, Jensen is now available for event support, product training seminars and other support activities.

On a related note, SBS Business Development Manager Johan Rauff Kristensen resigned from SBS HQ in Denmark at the end of June. Johan has launched his own consulting company and one of his first clients is SBS, where he will continue to provide promotional, PR and Social Media support. “It is of the utmost importance for us, that our business partners throughout North America feel that SBS delivers on all our promises,” says SBS Sales Director, Christel M. Pedersen. “We are therefore very happy with this solution where a strong cooperation between the dedicated SBS HQ and Production team in Denmark, Chris in the US and Johan will bring our offerings on to the next level.”

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Chris Ramanauskas

Chris Ramanauskas

National Powersport Auctions must have put in a winning bid to hire industry veteran Chris Ramanauskas away from distribution giant Parts Unlimited as he is now NPA’s regional sales manager for Florida. After spending the past 18 years with Parts, Chris is a familiar face to dealers in the region and says he is looking forward to what happens next in his new RSM role. “I have been in the powersports industry since I was 16 years old,” says Chris. “I have seen many changes come to our industry, and I think the next five years are going to continue to define our industry — Jump on the train or be passed.” Experience and enthusiasm, not to mention having been in the dealers’ shoes for nearly two decades make Chris the ideal candidate for Florida’s RSM position according to NPA sales director Mike Murray. “When Chris wanted to join the team we were extremely pleased,” says Murray. “Adding someone of Chris’s caliber immediately adds to the services and guidance we will be able to offer our dealers.” From his first 3.5 hp Briggs & Stratton mini bike with a scrubber rear brake at age 5, motorcycles have been an obsession for Ramanauskas. “I still ride to this day, both dirt and street, as often as I get the chance.”

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