Wheels falling off the AMA wagon ? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 13th, 2007, 4:50 pm Thread Starter
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Wheels falling off the AMA wagon ?

Pick this up off a Honda site... I know it's irresponsible of me not to check it out first, but I am offshore again (oil rigs) and left my AMA card and info at home.

Youngblood Resigns As Chairman of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
calls new AMA leadership "monstrous"
by staff
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Former long-time AMA President Ed Youngblood has sent us the letter he sent yesterday resigning his post with the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Here it is, in its entirety:

December 11, 2007

Mr. Don Rosene
Chairman, Motorcycle Hall of Fame Committee
400 West Potter Drive
Anchorage, AK 99518

Dear Don,

On December 7, 2007, two of the hardest-working, best, and most loyal employees the American Motorcyclist Association has ever had were fired and escorted out of the building like criminals. One had served 25 years and the other 28. Never mind that the employees in question have been key to driving membership, magazine circulation, and magazine revenue to all-time highs. Never mind that they were utterly loyal to the Association and served it well, even during the period of confusion and instability it has experienced in recent years. Beyond this cruel incident, it is my belief that the current leadership of the Association has established a reign of terror over the professional staff as a whole.

In my opinion, the current regime is monstrous, and I am simply dumbfounded that the AMA Board of Directors seems tolerant of this style of management, if not complicit. It has caused me great pain to watch the deterioration of the AMA, but I expect my unhappiness is nothing compared to that of the employees, volunteers, and supporters who have been directly affected by it. There is very little I can do about this situation except cease to be a party to it in any direct or indirect way.

For this reason, it is with deep sadness that I resign my position as Chairman of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Ambassadors and Promoters Committee, and my membership on the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Pioneers Committee. Furthermore, with the firm belief that the current AMA leadership will apply any resources provided it toward the destruction of the Association, and eventually the destruction of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, I will make no further financial or in-kind contributions until a more caring, conscientious, and responsible leadership is established at the levels of both the administration and the Board of Directors of the AMA.

Sincerely,

Ed Youngblood
Past President, AMA
Member, Motorcycle Hall of Fame

CC: AMA Board of Directors,
AMHF Board of Directors,
AMA President





Quote
Lawrence: Reinstate Long-time AMA Employees
shock: threat of being fired being held over AMA employees heads!
by dean adams
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
AMA Superbike Media Manager Larry Lawrence sent this in and asked us to post it:

Appeal for Action by the AMA Board

There comes a time when a person has to disregard personal gain and do what is right.

I serve as media manager for the AMA Superbike Championship. I have a long association with the AMA dating back to the early 1990s when I first began doing media work at select AMA Superbike events. In 1995 I was hired as AMA Pro Racing's communications manager, a position I held for two years. To this day I work for the AMA as a contractor, not only for Pro Racing, but also for AMA Sports (the amateur racing division) and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

I also serve as a chairman on the Motorcycle Hall of Fame election committee and am a biographer for the Hall.

This past Friday, Dec. 7, the AMA dismissed Greg Harrison, senior vice president of membership and marketing, and Bill Wood, senior director of communications. This came as a great shock to me and a host of other people in the industry.

I have been unable to determine the reason for their dismissal.

Anyone who knows Greg Harrison and Bill Wood know two men who are among the most loyal, competent and outstanding men who have worked for the AMA. I personally know them to be persons of great integrity. I've seen them at work for years. They've labored behind the scenes, without fanfare, to solve big problems. I used to rib them at Daytona every year because they had the staff of the American Motorcyclist stay at hotels 50 miles away from Daytona, just so they could save the AMA money.

Greg and Bill have done nothing but work faithfully for the organization for decades and neither would do anything to harm the AMA. They've received excellent reviews every year in annual evaluations and now suddenly they're no longer of use to the AMA?

Something does not add up.

Not only does their dismissal make no sense, but my understanding is the way in which they were let go was mean spirited and insulting.

The person behind the firings is new AMA president/CEO Rob Dingman.

I, along with many others inside the AMA, are not pleased at all with the atmosphere of fear Dingman has created among the loyal and hard-working AMA staff. My friends at the AMA, who've I've known and worked with for years, are afraid to talk to anyone about what's going on. The threat of being fired is apparently being held over everyone's head. There seems to be no dissenting opinion allowed from Dingmans' company line. Some even fear their email and voice mails are being monitored and the leadership has done nothing to fight that impression.

My dealings with Dingman have been few. We met for the first time at Laguna Seca during the MotoGP weekend. He sent me an email asking what I thought of the new vision for the AMA. I thought it a little strange that he would ask my opinion after the new vision had already been announced. Perhaps he could have asked me beforehand so he might have been able to take differing points of view into account.

Instead of truly wanting my opinion, I took it to be an effort to find if I was loyal or not to his vision.

You may be thinking this sounds like open revolt of AMA personnel against its own leadership. You would be correct in that assumption.

As a concerned AMA member, and a person who works for the AMA, I am calling for the AMA board to take immediate action and reinstate Greg Harrison and Bill Wood.

I speak for many inside the AMA by also asking the board to hold Mr. Dingman responsible for the destructive atmosphere of fear that permeates the headquarters in Pickerington.

This is the right thing to do.

A positive, open and productive atmosphere needs to be restored to the AMA so that the association can return to doing its job of being the voice for motorcyclists in America.

Sincerely
Larry Lawrence
AMA Superbike Media Manager
[email protected]

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 13th, 2007, 5:08 pm
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Here are a couple related links.

This is shaping up to be an entertaining mess.



http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/...?article=30930

http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/...?article=30936

tim-----still on the right side of the frostline

you can't stop the signal
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2007, 12:13 am
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Your gonna have to help out here, why do I give a sh*t?

Darrel
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2007, 8:31 am Thread Starter
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AMA Superbike Races et al.

AMA lobby group to stop gang rape of bikers rights, like your health insurer (from work) can disallow claims from recreational injuries (skiing, ATV, legal licensed motorcycle riding, skydiving, skin diving etc)

The definition of "Outlaw" anything motorcycle related is one that is not AMA sanctioned. Outlaw MC clubs, races, events....

That was why I joined.

Dave

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2007, 5:01 pm
 
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From what I have read, it looks like the new AMA leadership led by the President and CEO is cleaning house, and appears to be eliminating some long-standing employees with a lot of support in various parts of the organization. A public letter campaign is a sign that the change is painful to many who are in the organization, and who may not be aligned with the new leadership.

I work in corporate America, and this kind of thing happens all the time. What I don't know without doing some research is:

1) Did the AMA need cleaning up?

2) What is the new strategy, and will it be good for motorcyclists and AMA members?

3) Are those being purged really the ones responsible for the AMA needing to be cleaned up?

The AMA is an important lobbying organization that serves motorcyclists in the US with the ability to respond to encroachment upon our right to ride. If the organization implodes (and I'm sure the insurance companies, healthcare companies, and certain municipalities would love to see that happen), it could result in less protection for us all.

If anybody has any insight on the situation in the AMA prior to the leadership change, I'd love to hear about it. The CEO must have a mandate from the board for these changes, given the seniority of the people being removed.

"It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it. Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger."

The Prince
Niccolo Machiavelli

(Edited to add...if you follow and read the links posted above, it does describe the issues that have resulted in new CEO Rob Dingman's being positioned, and the reasons for the house cleaning at the AMA. What I wasn't able to gather any information on is what is Dingman's strategy for cleaning up the AMA, aside from tossing out the guys apparently responsible for the mess)

Last edited by markcamp1; Dec 14th, 2007 at 5:14 pm.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2007, 5:21 pm
 
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I found the following article on New AMA CEO's Vision for the organization here:

http://www.usridernews.com/absoluten...d=403&zoneid=8


By Rob Dingman
AMA President and CEO
The mission of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is to serve the interests of motorcyclists by pursuing, promoting and protecting the future of motorcycling. This is the primary reason I went to work for the association in 1994 as its Washington lobbyist. Although I chose to leave the staff of the AMA in 1998, I continued to promote the interests of motorcyclists and remained a dues-paying member of the association to help ensure that motorcyclists would have a strong and effective voice in the preservation of the freedoms that so many riders take for granted.

Earlier this year, I was named chief executive officer of the AMA. Honored as I was to be entrusted with the leadership of the AMA, I quickly came to realize that I had returned to a much different organization than the one I had left just eight years previously. The AMAís core mission had become diluted because it had taken on more than it could reasonably accomplish. Today, the AMA attempts to be a rights protector, publisher, member services provider, sanctioning body, promoter, entertainment firm, event management company and sports sponsorship and marketing outfit. The AMA has never had the appropriate resources or infrastructure to be all of these things.

I recently presented a new vision for the organization to the associationís Board of Directors. With the support of the Board, over the course of the next 24 months, the AMA will complete a thorough refinement of its business model as well as a comprehensive restructuring of its resources. The primary objectives are as follows:

Rededicate the Association to Its Core Mission - First, and foremost the AMA is a membership organization. We must provide service to our members in the pursuit, promotion and protection of the future of motorcycling.

Strengthen and Improve the Menu of Member Benefits Ė This effort begins with being a better partner to the motorcycle industry in general. We must be humble and work harder to develop and maintain relationships. We must be more collaborative and do more to take the needs of our partners into consideration. We must also recognize what motorcyclists want from their association and provide an enhanced menu of benefits that will attract greater numbers to the AMA.

Team Environment and Staff Accountability Ė Each department and staff member will be responsible for adding value and benefits to the AMA membership. Staff must work together as a team rather than individual departments competing with each other for attention and resources. I have described this to staff as OneAMA. This OneAMA concept provides a unifying theme that will drive staff development. Our members and our partners deserve a unified support team.

Improved Communications - As an advocacy organization, the AMA should have top-notch communications functions. The ability of the AMA to communicate both internally and externally will be enhanced and the organization will consolidate communications efforts so that we can present coherent and consistent messages. During our restructuring you will see major improvements in these areas.

Government Relations - The government relations activity is the marquee benefit of the AMA and must be resourced accordingly. We will be exploring a variety of options to enable the association to be even more effective in protecting the rights of motorcyclists. We hope to expand the size and scope of the Government Relations Department and plan to increase the resources we have on the ground dedicated to our lobbying efforts. This includes establishing a greater voice in Washington, as well as regional and local representation.

Racing Services - We are getting out of the racing promotions business and are already actively searching for series promoters for all race disciplines except for AMA Supercross. We recognize that this transition will not occur overnight. In the future, we will continue to sanction events and provide operational staff to assist qualified series promotions groups in the growth of the sport.

To expand on this last point, success in the AMAís racing endeavors has proven elusive because the AMA has mingled its role as sanctioning body with its role as series promoter. This has confused and frustrated the motorcycle racing community and as a result, the AMA has regularly found itself at the center of racing controversy. This has caused the motorcycle industry not to support the AMA to the degree that it could. This lack of support has impeded the AMAís ability to grow to its full potential and has therefore kept the organization from being as effective as it could be executing its core mission: pursuing, promoting and protecting the future of motorcycling.

The entertainment business is inherently very risky and as a nonprofit service organization we do not have resources to risk promoting series and events. Other sanctioning and series promotions organizations have hundreds of staff members to manage only a handful of series. By comparison, our racing infrastructure currently consists of 27 full time staff members who are managing 46 various types of racing activities.

It is important to point out that our plan is not a negative response to a difficult problem but is instead a comprehensive plan for positive change. The decision to get out of the series promotion business is not an abandonment of the AMAís long racing tradition. It will transition the commercial aspects of racing to responsible groups and companies that will have the required resources and expertise to foster growth.

Over the coming months we will identify and engage partners who have the infrastructure to grow the racing disciplines that we wish to continue to govern as a sports sanctioning body. Entities who are interested in securing the promotional rights to any of our racing series are encouraged to contact us at their earliest convenience.

Now that our objectives have been clarified, we know that others may have insightful ideas that could help us improve our service levels and assist with our future growth. In order to be a better provider of services to motorcyclists, we will be reaching out to our partners in the motorcycling community to seek guidance and input. We have established a special email address for questions or comments and I encourage you to write us at [email protected].

I have a great deal of optimism about the future of the AMA. There is a clear realization among the AMA's leadership that change is essential. We are rededicating ourselves to our core mission of serving the interests and protecting the rights of motorcyclists. In doing so, the AMA will transform itself into a world-class member services organization. Challenging as it may be for our staff and stakeholders, the process has already begun. The value of the vision will be determined by its execution. Ride safe.

© 2007, American Motorcyclist Association
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2007, 6:26 am
 
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I have some insight into this. You'll have to take this at face value (I won't explain), but this is solid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markcamp1
1) Did the AMA need cleaning up?
Opinions vary, lean toward yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markcamp1
2) What is the new strategy, and will it be good for motorcyclists and AMA members?
You found this, as shown in your later post. More accountability is a good thing. Finding better promoters is a good thing. This will make the AMA a more responsive organization and allow it to focus on its more critical role as a lobbying body.

The risk (a big one) is that the AMA slips under the wing of the MIC and loses its purpose as a rider organization and becomes a motorcycle industry organization. How could this happen?

There's a big push for membership growth despite the AMA being at record numbers. The market penetration for the AMA (300k / 6m = 5%) actually is pretty good, but this is repeatedly played as poor. This is easily done by comparing the AMA numbers to membership numbers of the rider organizations of the two largest mfg, H-D and Honda, which claim 1m and 600k, respectively. However, those who rely on this crutch never mention that H-D and Honda give those memberships away for the first year to everyone who buys one of their bikes. All full AMA members pay at least $39 for their memberships. That's a huge difference.

A better comparison, IMO, is to compare the AMA's numbers to circulation numbers of enthusiast publications. That's because they are businesses that rely on marketing to sell a product, just like the AMA sells memberships. By that measure, the AMA's numbers are stellar, particularly when you consider a membership costs two to four times what a typical subscription costs. This isn't a perfect comparison by any stretch, but it's fairer than comparing the AMA to the mfg's free membership organizations.

So, what is the incentive for those who should know better than to criticize the AMA's numbers?

There is only one way the AMA will stretch its market penetration beyond 5%: reduce or eliminate the cost of membership. The only way this will happen is if the mfgs subsidize the effort, most likely with free memberships when they sell a bike. You can bet the mfgs will want something big in return. That something big would be a lobbying arm that ostensibly represents riders but is ultimately beholden to the mfgs now and forever.

Now, is that a bad thing? Quite often the riders and the mfgs are on the same side when it comes to legislation and regulatory matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markcamp1
3) Are those being purged really the ones responsible for the AMA needing to be cleaned up?
No. It is a different personnel matter. Distantly related to the big picture, yes, but not a response to failings of those let go. The reasons are quite debatable, actually, but it boils down to a situation that falls under the CEO's prerogative, especially when it comes to the most subordinate of the three (I'm counting counsel as one of the three).

The most unfortunate part of this latest development is that it is being latched onto by the general motorcycling population as a "purge" of the bad apples. It's not, not at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markcamp1
The CEO must have a mandate from the board for these changes, given the seniority of the people being removed.
Indications are that he did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markcamp1
...the reasons for the house cleaning at the AMA.
Just to reiterate, that's not the case. The "house cleaning" is not a specific response to anything affecting the directional change of the organization. It's related to internal procedure and disagreement over that procedure more than anything. I wish the world could hear this from a source more credible than an anonymous Internet post, but it probably never will.

(Just an apology in advance: This is my only post on this.)
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2007, 8:13 am Thread Starter
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The reason I joined the AMA is for the lobby efforts. Politics is the "pleasing" of the masses. The AMA represents the masses.
Abate seems to be hung up on the helmet issue. Basically, I am indifferent about this unless there was legislation outlawing helmets.
HOG does't seem to involved politically.
HRCA (Honda) is about profit from the HOOT and promoting Honda at race events.
So the best choice was AMA.
I hope this bit of change works out, because the un-informed may legislate something stupid if there isn't a voice, our voice, keeping our elected straight.
Dave

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2007, 10:31 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowflyn
Your gonna have to help out here, why do I give a sh*t?
IMHO - AMA is our best/strongest voice in dealing with the political hacks. You may not agree with all of AMA's positions, but by and large they have the sport's best interest at heart.

These guy's are key to ensuring our ability to ride when we want to, where we want to and how we want to.

Never forget that there are plenty of namby pamby sour pussed do gooders out there that think were a danger to ourselves and society. They believe it's their responsbilty to protect us (and others) from ourselves. They do that by plying the above mentioned political hacks with false accusations (and money) to get us off the roads and trails.

Mike

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2007, 2:36 pm
 
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klr_RDR,

Thanks for your insightful posts, and your apparent willingness to share highly current and relevant information with the motorcycling community on this board.

The thrust of your post appears to me to be the following: The personnel changes (and all the public fallout and accusations) are NOT linked to the strategic shifts at the AMA, and the people being removed are NOT responsible for the AMA being in its current state today. Of course, your post also seems to indicate a mixed view of what that state is (effective/ineffective), based on the comparative analytics.

I can buy the CEO prerogative point you raised, but in my experience, people with significant institutional knowledge, memory, and experience generally are not ousted unless they are viewed as an impediment to implementation of the CEO's new strategy in some way.

Generally, when the old guard is removed - even if it's just at the CEO's perrogative, they are kept quiet (and compliant) through skillful use of a combination of carrots and sticks - good severance packages, the ability to remain on as "consultants" to assist in the transition, etc. This is used to prevent the types of public displays of disharmony and backlash that create uncertainty about the fate of the organization, use of terms like "wheels coming off", etc.

I think Dingman's strategy for the AMA seems to make sense, on initial reading. The fact that he was apparently unable to reach a deal with these employees to prevent this ugly, counterproductive display to me is indicative of lack of transition planning, lack of understanding of the impact of bad PR on the organization and its employees, or a willingness to tolerate this mess in the hope that it will be short lived, and of negligible impact.
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