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Moving to front-and-center

New LeMans Corp. president and CEO Mike Collins finds familiar faces in new role

When Mike Collins took over as president and CEO of LeMans Corporation in June 2017, he instantly went from behind the scenes to front-and-center. And it’s a role that apparently suits him well.

Collins, who grew up working in an accessories shop and later became general manager at Kawasaki of Riverside (California), now has 25 years under his belt at Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties, most recently serving as vice president of Purchasing. That was all going swimmingly well; so much so, in fact, that LeMans chairman Fred Fox had deemed Collins as the next face of the Janesville, Wisconsin-based aftermarket parts distributor, with the appointment of president and CEO in 2017.

For Collins, it got real a few months into his new position when he had to provide the State of the State address to the company’s sales rep staff and vendors at the Madison National Vendor Presentation, a role reserved for Fox for the past half-century.

Now in his 25th year at LeMans Corp., Mike Collins took over as president and CEO in 2017. He and his colleagues at Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties celebrated another successful National Vendor Presentation and Product Expo in February in Indianapolis. Photos by Dave McMahon/Powersports Business

“I thought I would be more nervous, but when I got up there and looked out, it was like: I know everyone here. It’s a big room, but I know 90 percent of the people. It’s like talking to your friends. It wasn’t bad,” Collins told Powersports Business. “I think they appreciated the message. Quite honestly, we’re excited. There are a lot of challenges, but that’s life. There are always going to be bumps in the road, and it’s the same way with business. You have to overcome them. And sometimes, the more difficult they are and if everyone’s faced with them and you can overcome them, then you get ahead of the competition, at least for a little while.”

In February, Collins was back strolling the convention center carpet, this time at the eagerly awaited Indianapolis Spring NVP. It was no surprise that an otherwise quick walk to an interview meeting got longer than expected with several stops for handshakes and hellos, many from industry folks whose tenures were as long or longer than that of Collins. It’s all part of his new role of as the face of the franchise.

“We have space and we have money and we have interest,” is how Collins summed up LeMans’ current approach to new vendor business.

The show goes on

Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties put on another gem of a show in Indianapolis, the second year in a row that they’ve taken over the Indiana Convention Center. Drag got top billing in marketing parlance, likely to entice some independent V-twin shops owners who no longer had the late, lamented V-Twin Expo to attend in Cincinnati. And it worked. Vendors had strongly positive remarks about the dealer interest and attendance, from Cobra’s new Neighbor Hater performance exhaust additions to snowmobile accessories company Caliber, there was certainly something for everyone on display from the 200 vendors.

Collins had spent an entire week in Indy from start to finish, first for two days of sales training and then two dealer days. LeMans officials deemed it their most successful NVP and Product Expo in 20 years, with higher dealer attendance than ever before. 

1. House of Harley-Davidson, with locations in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, brought (from left) Scott Hamilton, Rich Hartnell, Dave Kotowski, Brian Chemery and Alex Vogel to the NVP. 2. Alex Carr (left) and his dad Jeff used the NVP to check out products for their new Honda of North Carolina Powerhouse dealership in Granite Falls, North Carolina. 3. John Adamy, parts manager at Manchester Sports Center, a Honda/KTM/Husqvarna dealership in Connecticut, learned about the new Print Tester from Yuasa Battery’s senior director of Aftermarket Sales, AyKaun Okuma.

“The entire event was fantastic,” said Jeff Derge, vice president of sales. “There was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from vendors, reps and dealers from the minute the show opened. The Meet & Greet at Crane Bay showcased a great bike show, along with great food and refreshments. Dealers renewed many old friendships and voted for their favorite bikes in the show. It was a very positive way to kick-start the 2018 season!”

Several stores brought a truckload of folks — House of Harley-Davidson, with locations in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin — might have secured the largest contingent from the same group with five staffers. Fastmann Racing, a parts and service shop in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, brought four staff members.

Jason Orr, owner of Orr Motorsports in Columbia City, Indiana, checked out some new products from Klock Werks; Joe Tracy, owner of JT’s Cycles in Cobleskill, New York, was checking out new Z1R jackets for his motorcycle aftermarket parts and accessories shop.


Steven Scott, owner of Steve’s Cycle in Moscow, Pennsylvania, was checking out DP Brakes for his motorcycle and ATV parts, accessories and service shop. Nate Klink, owner of Exodus Cycles in Millersburg, Ohio, was at the Yuasa booth checking out the company’s new Digital Battery Print Tester. John Adamy, parts manager at Manchester Sports Center, a Honda/KTM/Husqvarna dealership in Connecticut, also stopped in to learn more about the Print Tester from Yuasa. Jake DeRidder, a parts specialist at Fay Myers Motorcycle World in Greenwood Village, Colorado, made a stop at the Icon Motorsports booth. Mike Bielke of Barstool Gypsy Upholstery & Leather in Belleville, Illinois, talked with Vince Marazita about the latest offerings from Italian manufacturer ProGrip. Cesar Cruz, parts manager of Cycle Specialty in Fayetteville, Georgia, talked with Moose Racing brand manager Dan Fitch about the latest ATV accessories.

“This was a great event,” Collins said. “The quality and number of vendors and dealers was impressive. Our reps were very excited about our new products and programs. It’s the first step to a successful year for us, our dealers and hopefully for the entire industry.”

Collins said he talks at the office with Fox several times daily and receives the type of support he had expected. From the decision to exhibit at AIMExpo in 2018 and beyond, to pulling the Supercross sponsorship at the end of the 2018 race season, there’s plenty going on at LeMans Corp.

“You can’t sit still,” Collins concluded. “We as a company and our reps as business people need to evaluate everything we’re doing every day. We need to be the best that we can be, and that includes changes that we’ve made to some of our policies that we’ve had for years. It was time to make a change. Fred has been really good in allowing us to move ahead with some of those things. We have a lot more of that ahead of us — things that we’re already working on, and things that we haven’t even thought of yet.” 


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