Industry Leaders: Donny Emler – April 24, 2006

If it had wheels, Donny Emler wanted to make it go faster.
That’s how the owner and president of FMF Racing is described by a colleague, so it’s little wonder that his Rancho Dominguez, Calif., business has taken off.
FMF Racing is a high-profile manufacturer and supplier of mainly off-road accessories, although the company has recently added street bike gear to its line. The company has an 85,000-square-foot facility and employs about 130, depending on the season.
The company has been a big supporter of amateur racing, often traveling to more than 50 major races a year.
Through it all, Emler has had his greasy fingers into everything.
“He’s into everything,” said Danny La Porte, who handles public relations and development for FMF. “He loves to work. The average person would slow down, but he’s shifting up.”
What’s the biggest challenge for the industry and what should be done about it?
“The biggest challenge, I think, is the noise level. It’s a big problem. I know if you ask your mother if motorcycles are loud, she’s going to say, ‘Yes.’
“The aftermarket is going to have to buckle down and come up with a solution on its own because nobody else seems to be enforcing anything.
“We’ve been going to all the different sound seminars and such. And we (FMF) suggested that the aftermarket buckle down … and we make stuff that’s not over a certain sound level.
“The next year it has to be done. I think it’s hurting the industry badly.”
What’s been the biggest challenge in your current position?
“Appealing to the broad base of the customers in our industry because we make stuff for such a broad range of the industry … we have motocross, off-road, ATV, sport bike, dual sport, super moto; we cover quite a big portion of the industry.
“It’s product availability … You have to have product readily available, which is expected. We just constantly put in more and more R&D staff … We’re constantly doing development and getting it up in production.”
What’s the best advice you can give to others in the industry?
“Maintain the excitement and enthusiasm for what we do. I just have fun doing this. I’ve always had fun playing with motorcycles. Plenty of people come into this industry for pure business and haven’t done that well … I think you need the enthusiasm. You’re probably going to be successful if you’re really enthusiastic about these things. If you’re looking for money, I don’t think that’s the answer. Enthusiasm just drives the whole thing.”

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