Think inside the box: Control of the motorcycle industry and education Pt. I

I’ve spoken before about how the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a self-enclosed system like a snake swallowing its own tail. Or perhaps it’s the House that Jack built. But, in relation to the other two organizations that share the same address it’s more like a three-headed dog like Cerberus.

I intended to make a diagram to illustrate the interrelationships, but it defeated me because it would be so complicated it would be useless. So maybe breaking it down in smaller pieces and then to try to put it together might be more illustrative.

Let’s begin with the relationship between the Motorcycle Industry Council, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America.

As you know, the companies are members and some belong to all three groups. The member companies are represented by employees. Honda, for example, assigned Dave Edwards, national manager of environment and education to MSF and SVIA but Assistant V-P, Motorcycle division, Mark Pearlstein to MIC. But it’s the corporations, not these individuals who are the members.

You probably know that Tim Buche is the President of all three and that all three share the same suite of offices at #2 Jenner Street, Irvine, CA. Many employees at the three organizations perform work for all three. What you may not know is how much the membership of the three trade groups overlap. As the following chart shows, in 2007, 83% of MSF’s membership also sat on the board of the MIC and 82% of SVIA’s board was on MSF’s board:

MIC

MSF

SVIA

President

Buche

Buche

Buche

VP

Di Corpo

Di Corpo

Di Corpo

VP Gov.

Relations

Van Kleeck

Van Kleeck

Van Kleeck

VP

Information Technology

Frank

Wagenseller

Frank

Wagenseller

Frank Wagenseller

Honda

(Pearlstein)

Honda

(Edwards)

Honda (Edwards)

Vice-Chair

MIC

Sec/Treas

MSF

Chair/Sec/

Treas SVIA

Kawasaki

(Hagie)

Kawasaki

(Hagie)

Kawasaki (Hagie)

Sec/Treas

MIC

Suzuki

(Harris)

Suzuki

(Alsip)

Suzuki (Bush)

Director/

Trustee

Yamaha

(Schmitt)

Yamaha

(Pugh)

Yamaha (Schmitt)

Director/

Trustee

Victory

(Subsidiary

Polaris)

(Hurd)

Victory

(Subsidiary

Polaris)

(Gray)

Polaris (Dougherty)

Director/

Trustee

KTM

(Narayana)

KTM

(Narayana)

Director/

Trustee

Harley-Davidson*

(Chichlowski)

Vice-Chair/

Trustee

Harley-Davidson*

(Lara Lee)

Director/

Trustee

?

(Monica Halperin)

Director

MIC

Fairchild

Sports/

Hein Gerike

(Schilke)

Director

MIC

Custom Chrome

(Esposito)

Chair

MIC

Cycle World

(Little)

Director

MIC

Parts Unlimited/

Drag Specialties

(Fox)

Vice-Chair

Arctic Cat (Tweet)

Trustee

Bombardier (Garcia)

Overlapping

membership

10/14 w MSF

(71%)

10/12 w MIC

(83%)

9/11 w MSF

(82%)

*In 2007, Harley had two representatives on the board of trustees but was only counted as one member in the above analysis (Lara Lee was no longer with H-D in early 2008 and joined Jump Associates).

Power over all three organizations, then, is concentrated in five corporations—the Big Four and Polaris—and while MIC includes voices from outside the manufacturers, the MSF and SVIA do not.

It should also be mentioned at this time that industry—and all of them are MIC members—hold 50% of the control of the American Motorcyclist Association and the current board includes KTM, Buell (a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson) and Kawasaki and MSF member Ducati. Of six industry seats, then, 66% belong to the manufacturers—and 100% of them are on MSF’s board.

What probably no one outside #2 Jenner Street know is that the three organizations also share the same attorney: Stuart Ross, of Ross, Dixon & Bell, LLP, has been MIC’s outside counsel since 1971, advised MIC on the creation of MSF and was one of the founding trustees as well as its outside counsel since 1973—and is also SVIA’s outside counsel since its inception. And, of course, Ross was the attorney that threatened Colorado’s Attorney General from allowing TEAM Oregon’s curriculum from being taught—and his firm handled the litigation against TEAM Oregon in the failed copyright infringement case. Ross, was given the MIC Chairmen’s award in November of 2008. 2008, as you remember, was the year that MSF—not MIC—settled the lawsuit with TEAM Oregon in such a way that it prevented the use of that curriculum by other states.

Already, then, we see that the three supposedly separate organizations are much more intertwined than has been evident to anyone outside #2 Jenner Street. We see the concentration of power and control and see through the disguise that these are, in fact, three separate organizations. Rather, they appear to act as three parts of an invisible and unincorporated fourth organization.

But this is just the beginning of the nearly invisible intertwined relationships between the three that have serious implications both for motorcycle industry businesses and rider education programs. We’ll go into that in the next entry which will be posted later today.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: History, Motorcycle Industry, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: