Industry veteran Mel Harris, 76, passes away

We at Powersports Business are saddened to learn of the passing of industry veteran Mel Harris, who died on Sunday at age 76 following a long battle with cancer. Most recently VP of Operations at SSR Motorsports, Harris is most known for his tenure as a longtime Suzuki employee.

Garrett Kai provided Powersports Business with a nice tribute on behalf of Suzuki. It follows. We lost a good one. Rest In Peace. -Dave

Suzuki Remembers Mel Harris

March 22, 2022 – Suzuki joins the rest of the powersports industry in remembering former executive Mel Harris who passed away Sunday after a long battle with cancer. Mel was a long time Suzuki employee, first joining the company in June, 1981 and remaining with Suzuki through December, 2008.

During his long tenure with Suzuki, Mel held many sales positions ranging from Regional Sales Manager to his last position as VP, Sales and Marketing. Mel was also Suzuki’s representative on the AMA Board of Directors.

Perhaps Mel’s greatest strength was his relationship with Suzuki dealers. He knew many on a personal level and took pride in being a strong advocate for their businesses. Mel was also a passionate supporter of racing and was involved in many Suzuki championships in the past.

From the archives… Mel Harris (third from left), VP of Operations for SSR Motorsports, expects 2017 to be another profitable year for the brand’s dealers. PSB editor in chief Dave McMahon (fourth from left) visited Harris and SSR during AIMExpo.

Many will remember the Suzuki dealer meetings that Mel oversaw. Determined to entertain dealers at all costs, Mel loved to try and top himself year after year. Whether he came on-stage astride an elephant, by jetpack, or suited up as “Melvis” (Elvis Presley) Mel loved to put a smile on dealers’ faces while delivering important product and sales information.

Mel was truly one of a kind and will be sadly missed. Please join Suzuki in offering our thoughts and prayers to Mel’s wife Gail and the rest of his family.

A celebration of life has been announced by Mel’s son-in-law Ken Faught and will be held April 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pole Position Raceway, 1594 E. Bentley Dr., Corona CA, 92883. The celebration is an open invitation and flowers can also be sent in tribute.