Shifting Gears

Printing All The News That Fits

Back in the saddle again! Former Husqvarna Motorcycles president Kris Odwarka succeeds Hans Blesse as VP of BMW Motorrad USA and is based in BMW’s New Jersey headquarters. Blesse takes over as president/CEO BMW Group Canada (cars and motorcycles). According to the announcement, Odwarka will be responsible for BMW motorcycle sales & marketing in the U.S. Odwarka joined the BMW Group in 1992 as a sales trainer for BMW of North America. He served in various field and regional sales, marketing and aftersales positions before moving to Munich in 2000 in corporate sales for BMW Group.


Odwarka later spent 8 years as the sales director for Alpina, based in Munich, before returning to the U.S. in 2010 as president of Husqvarna Motorcycles based in Corona, Calif. He also used to race a little motocross in his youth in Colorado. “Kris Odwarka has a great passion for motorcycles and he is excited about leading BMW Motorrad,” says  Ludwig Willisch, chairman and CEO, BMW Group Region Americas. “We are expecting great results.”



Look on the bright side: Curt Bryant has been promoted to operations manager for lighting specialist PIAA Corp. PIAA (pronounced pe’-uh) is a leading global supplier of accessory and replacement lighting products for automotive, powersports and motorsports markets. Although he previously served as controller, his responsibilities included managing the company’s warehousing and logistics, customer service, marketing, sales support and e-commerce activities. 


“We knew from his background that he brought extensive sales and marketing experience skills and insights that are not commonly found in financial experts,” said PIAA executive VP Rodger Wagner. “When you add in his specific experience with automotive and powersports marketing, you find a person with unique credentials that fit particularly well with PIAA’s business model.”



LeoVince USA, a.k.a. Geared Up Powersports, LLC is no more. SpeedMob, Inc. takes over distribution of most of the brands previously carried by Geared Up Powersports, including Airoh Helmets, TechSpec and BMC filters. However, LeoVince exhaust and carbon fiber will not be sold or serviced by SpeedMob, Inc. “The contracts have been finalized and I am excited about this new venture and the possibilities it presents for us,” says SpeedMob president Tim Calhoun.


“This change represents our desire to get back to the root of what brought my team and I into powersports. We want to reintegrate ourselves into the most passionate side of our business, not only as sponsors and vendors, but also as competitors, builders and riders on a human-to-human basis.” If you are a current dealer there are no changes necessary on your part to carry your business forward with SpeedMob, Inc. Dealers can contact Calhoun directly at (510) 232-4040.



Shocking news from Progressive Suspension! For the first time in more than 20 years America’s premier manufacturer of motorcycle suspension has a new look and a new focus on being in the field. Part of this initiative was demonstrated when they unveiled a new Sprinter van at the Laughlin River Run (see “Pit Pass” on page 64). If you missed seeing them at some of the rallies, check out their totally revamped website at www.progressivesuspension.com.



Tool Time! Snap-On reported sales of $797.5 million in the fourth quarter. The company reported full year 2013 sales of $3.1 billion, an increase of 4 percent from 2012 levels. “Our fourth quarter results, including a 5.9 percent sales increase and a 15.5 percent operating margin before financial services, demonstrate continued and balanced progress down our runways for both improvement and growth,” said Nick Pinchuk, Snap-On chairman and CEO. “Our full year sales reached a new milestone, surpassing $3 billion, and our full year operating margin before financial services of 15.1 percent reflects a 120 basis point year-over-year improvement.”



With numbers like Snap-On’s, wonder if they are hiring? That is where the head hunters from Lonski & Associates come in. Former Spectro Oils Sales and Marketing VP Rollin Karoll has just joined the recruitment agency’s roster. With more than 30 years in the powersports industry, Karoll has held key roles in marketing, sales, service, parts and inventory with Spectro, Mustang Seats and IKON. “When the opportunity surfaced for me to join Henry Lonski’s team, the decision was easy,” claims Karoll.


“Talented industry professionals can be frustrated when looking for a new challenge or upward career move. They know that good jobs exist, but are often difficult to find. With our ever-increasing roster of client companies, coupled with a 16,000+ and growing database of the best industry professionals, we make the connections our client companies and job seekers both need,” said Karoll.


 “I am looking forward to helping OEMs, aftermarket manufacturers and dealers find the talent they need,” concludes Karoll. Hiring managers, powersports industry professionals or anyone looking to transition into or within the industry can contact Karoll at (860) 828-9435 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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