MIC Commemorates a Century of Supporting and Promoting Motorcycling
IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 8, 2014 – The Motorcycle Industry Council celebrates its 100th anniversary this week and will commemorate this milestone by honoring the association’s past as well as continuing to support motorcycling’s future. Initially incorporated on Jan. 8, 1914, in New York, NY, the fledgling Motorcycle Manufacturers Association was started by a group of executives and enthusiasts and would eventually become the research, advocacy and promotional organization that is today’s MIC.
“We’ve certainly come a long way,” said MIC Board Chair Mark Blackwell. “This is not only a proud moment for everyone who’s been a part of the MIC, it’s also significant for the motorcycling community as a whole. As we celebrate this milestone, it’s important to remember that from the very beginning, the MIC’s mission has been to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling and we look forward to continuing with that mission into our next century.”
In 1917, the association changed its name to the Motorcycle and Allied Trades Association (M&ATA) and added membership. In 1965, the name was changed to the more all-encompassing Motorcycle, Scooter and Allied Trades Association (MS&ATA).
Four years later, the MS&ATA merged with the California-based Motorcycle Safety Council, which included Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. The result was the formation of the Motorcycle Industry Council as it is known today, with former MS&ATA Executive Secretary Paul McCrillis its first executive director.
In 1970, the MIC settled in Washington, D.C., created an associate membership program for dealers and established the Safety and Education Committee. Over the next 10 years, the organization evolved extensively. James Potter took over as executive director, more emphasis was placed on advocacy and the MIC adopted its first industry statistics program. Also during this period, the MIC initiated its Land Use program and dissolved the associate member class for dealers, a move that has since been rectified.
“Bringing the dealers back to the fold was a high priority for the MIC Board and for our entire staff,” said MIC President and CEO Tim Buche, who took office in 1996 and renewed the dealer membership program last year. “While the MIC has always supported dealers by working with them on issues of common interest, we believe that including dealers in our membership helps them grow their collective business and also furthers the MIC’s mission to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling with a focus on riders.”
The remainder of the 1970s saw the MIC move to Southern California and opt to employ a long-term corporate president, as opposed to an elected, short-term director. The choice for president was Alan Isley, the head of the Statistics Committee at that time. Isley went on to serve in association leadership for 21 years.
During Isley’s tenure, the MIC shared the offices, presidential status and staffing with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and the ATV Safety Institute. The Board also increased the Government Relations Office staff to provide more support for legislative activities.
Buche took over the MIC reins when Isley retired in 1996. Soon thereafter, MIC membership exceeded 200 for the first time. Under Buche, the MIC added numerous membership benefits such as the Annual Communications Symposium, and improved market intelligence through proprietary research and statistical reports.
Also during that time, the MIC Board of Directors grew to 12 members, with six elected and six appointed by the motorcycle manufacturers/distributors who pay membership dues based on market share. Since its inception, the MIC Board has been composed of industry luminaries and has traditionally attracted visionaries from all aspects of motorcycling.
The 2014 MIC Board of Directors includes Hans Blesse (BMW Motorrad USA), Steve Bortolamedi (Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.), Russ Brenan (Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.), Jon-Erik Burleson (KTM North America, Inc.), Don Emde (Don Emde Inc.), Frank Esposito (Kendon Industries, Inc.), Robert Gurga (American Honda Motor Co.), Steve Johnson (Tucker Rocky), Larry Little (Marketplace Events), Dennis McNeal (Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.), Steve Menneto (Polaris Industries) and Sarah Schilke (Schuberth North America).