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Yamaha’s Dennis McNeal named new MIC chair

Dennis McNeal, vice president-motorcycle operations at Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., has been elected as the new chair of the Motorcycle Industry Council Board of Directors. McNeal succeeds outgoing chair Mark Blackwell, who served as chair in 2013 and is retiring from his position as vice president, special projects at Polaris Industries.

For 2014, Jon-Erik Burleson, president of KTM-North American Inc., will continue to serve as vice chair, while Larry Little, vice president and general manager of Marketplace Events Motorcycle Group, was elected secretary/treasurer.

“I’m honored to be elected as the chair of the MIC, just as the organization begins its second century of vital work preserving, protecting and promoting motorcycling,” McNeal said. “This is an exciting time for the industry’s trade association, with great potential ahead, and an excellent team of veterans and fresh talent on the board and among MIC staff assembled to take on challenges and opportunities.”

McNeal also thanked Mark Blackwell for his term of service to the MIC.

“Mark Blackwell was, and will remain, a tremendous asset to the MIC,” McNeal said. “His vast industry experience, genuine enthusiasm and leadership skills were greatly appreciated over the past year, particularly as the MIC embarked on expanded initiatives such as the new class of MIC membership for dealers and retailers nationwide.”

“Serving the industry, dealerships and, ultimately, riders everywhere, the MIC is continuing, in its next 100 years, to represent motorcycling before legislators, with regard to land use and technical and emissions regulations,” Burleson said. “We want to help keep two-wheelers and other powersports products accessible, usable and desirable.”

Market research and helping members expand the market remain key aspects of MIC efforts, Little said. “An ongoing mission includes understanding the wide variety of American consumers and enticing more of them to ride, whether it’s for transportation or recreation,” he said.

Along with McNeal and Burleson, the MIC Board of Directors includes recently elected and appointed members Steve Menneto, vice president, motorcycles, Polaris Industries Inc.; Sarah Schilke, marketing and public relations manager at Schuberth North America; and Little, a past MIC chair who is serving his 18th year as a director. Each is beginning a two-year term.

They are among 12 MIC directors, six elected and six appointed by motorcycle manufacturers and distributors that pay MIC dues based on market share. Continuing to serve on the board for 2014 are: Hans Blesse, vice president, BMW Motorrad USA; Steve Bortolamedi, senior communications manager, Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.; Russ Brenan, senior advisor, government relations and public affairs at Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.; Don Emde, owner/president of Don Emde, Inc.; Frank Esposito, president at Kendon Industries, Inc.; Robert Gurga, vice president, motorcycle division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; Steve Johnson, of Tucker Rocky Distributing. They are responsible for the review and approval of MIC policies, positions, programs and fiscal operations.

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