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General announcements, news or ideas concerning people, places, or events coming up. No technical, politics, or complaints. Try to keep it short.
Post Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:27 pm

Posts: 903
Location: Hill City, Ks. USA

It saddens me that Brett Smith has decided to retire as President of S&S Cycle. He's a guy that has earned my respect and friendship over the last couple years. I wish him well. Every time I talk to him he rushing to catch up on the day. When you get behind day after day, the missing hours with family and friends wears deeply on your soul. I'm only speculating on why he made this decision, but I think I'm not far off. I hope he takes a lot of time for family and friernds and comes back to advance S&S to the next level sometime in the future. Best Wishes.

LA CROSSE, WI (October 3, 2008) S&S® Cycle Inc. the leader in Proven Performance components and engines for American v-twin motorcycles marks the start of 51 years of business this week. Still glowing with the excitement of the S&S 50th Anniversary Celebration that took place in June of this year, October 1, 2008 marked the start of a new fiscal year for the company. The S&S Cycle Board of Directors, led by Chairman George Smith met to set a course for year 51—and beyond.

Their first order of business was to deal with the impending resignation of S&S president Brett Smith—George’s son and grandson of founders George and Marge Smith--effective December 1, 2008. During his tenure he assisted with the formation of the Motorcycle Industry Council’s American V-Twin Aftermarket Committee, the establishment of both EPA and CARB certified engine programs, and has been a consistent advocate for the v-twin industry on a global scale. The capstone of his focus on emissions-related product offerings was the release of the proprietary and 50-state 2010 emissions compliant S&S X-Wedge™ engine. At the same time, Brett rededicated the company’s efforts regarding classic/vintage components with the release of the SH and P-series engines and with the acquisition of Flathead Power assets in July, 2007. He has also been credited with significantly growing internationals sales, creating annual S&S marketing projects such as this year’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, and establishing several key alliances with companies such as Super Flow, Mobil 1, Gates Drive Belts, and the NHRA.

“It has been an honor serving as a steward to our family business the past 6 ½ years,” said Brett Smith. “I am confident the measures we’ve taken over the past several years with respect to new products like the X-Wedge, our dealer development efforts, rapid international sales growth and a clear focus on emissions related efforts have set a solid foundation on which to build over the next decade.” Brett concluded, “I’m looking forward to watching things develop as a shareholder and seeking new opportunities for my family and me.”

Chairman George Smith will assume the role of interim CEO and lead the company as Brett transitions out of the presidency. George helped S&S grow dramatically during his past tenure as president, and has served on the Board of Directors since 1980. Since leaving daily S&S operations in October of 1993, George has remained closely involved with the business while assembling a successful racing team, G2 Motorsports, which has influenced the sport of drag racing by developing a complete S&S-powered machine that has changed the face of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle competition. George’s return to operational leadership will build on the momentum Brett created.

Said George Smith, “I am proud of the job my son has done for S&S and my parents would be proud as well. He has put together a great team and done a lot over the past several years and I will miss having him at S&S.” George concluded, “I respect his request to move on and I know he’ll do well at whatever he pursues after taking some much needed time off with Robin and the kids.”

The operational news as S&S enters year 51 is a rededication to performance components. S&S built its reputation designing complete performance packages to make American motorcycles more fun to ride. Now, the focus is back to follow founder George Smith, Sr.’s most famous line “to make every motorcycle go faster.” There will be more new “old” products and new “new” products reinforcing the Company mantra.

Starting with the “old” new products, the S&S KN-Series engines and a line of KN replacement parts will be available in early November. These 93ci vintage beauties will provide plenty of power, significant improvements over the original design and satisfy a need for riders that love old iron. On the “new” new front, S&S will be releasing bolt-in high torque cams that increase performance for late model touring applications. Riders of 2008 -’09 baggers will see great performance increases with the availability of bolt on S&S air cleaners and exhaust products—along with several new Hot Set Up Kits. Finally, 2009 will also see S&S introducing a complete line of chrome billet components to upgrade the looks of all S&S engines.

S&S Cycle has been a leading manufacturer of Proven Performance v-twin motorcycle components and engines for nearly 50 years. George Smith and Stanley Stankos founded the company in 1958 in Blue Island, Illinois. Shortly after the founding of S&S, George, and his wife Marjorie (whose maiden name was also Smith), bought out Stanley Stankos and Smith & Stankos became Smith & Smith (S&S). In 1969, S&S moved from Blue Island to Viola, Wisconsin and expanded to La Crosse, Wisconsin in 2004. This 3rd generation business supplies components and/or engines to several large custom OEs including: American Ironhorse, APC, Arlen Ness, Big Bear Choppers, Big Dog, Bourget Bike Works, Orange County Choppers, Saxon, Swift, Victory, & West Coast Choppers (please see the S&S website for a complete listing located at

Post Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:43 am
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

:( Good Luck Brett ! I also have the highest respect for you. A very fine Gentleman you certainly are. May your future be as bright, as you have in the past. made brighter, for others. Pa

Post Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:44 pm

Posts: 903
Location: Hill City, Ks. USA

Man, there are some guys over on Cyrul Huze' blog trashing Brett. I guess you don't get to run a company without making a few enemies along the way. The one thing that is so frustrating about the internet is the ability to stay relatively anonymous.

Post Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:20 am
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

Tells much about ones own character ! :twisted:

Post Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:42 pm

Posts: 903
Location: Hill City, Ks. USA

Brett Smith Is Resigned to Moving On
Publish date: Oct 10, 2008

As he approaches his final months as president of S&S Cycle, Brett Smith is confident in his legacy with the powerhouse aftermarket company and its place in the constantly changing V-twin market.

Smith announced earlier this week that he was resigning after serving five years at the helm of his family's business, a move he admits some people — including his competitors — will happily welcome. It's also a decision, he says, that is deeply personal and family related and not part of any of the various rumors he's heard and read that he'd been fired or run out of the business.

Smith notes that he'll still be a voting shareholder in the company that he firmly believes will ride out the challenges facing not only the industry but the nation at large. Smith's father, George Smith, the company's former president, will serve as interim CEO.

"I think S&S is going to do well. It's been put in a great position already in the marketplace. Everybody knows the market is down and all the businesses are struggling … but the strategies we've put in place have certainly gained us recognition, not only in the V-twin industry and the motorcycle industry, but in the powersports industry as a whole," Smith says. "I don't believe that those strategies are going to change willy-nilly simply because I'm departing.

His resignation owes partly to his decision to focus on his immediate family, but Smith says the dual stresses of dealing with everyday business issues and the dynamics of working within a family business has taken a lot out of him.

"I think it was time for me to move on. Not having a specific plan in place would probably seem somewhat uncharacteristic of me for the people who know me," he says. "By the same token, sometimes that allows for even more special things to occur.

I think that [most] know I'm a man of faith, I've been pretty vocal about that. I think that the most exciting thing that my wife and I are looking forward to is to see exactly what God's going to do in our lives with this decision that we made. That's why I'm very upbeat and excited about it," he adds.

Known for his forceful personality, the brash and outspoken West Point graduate has led the 50-year-old company through a time of tremendous growth in the V-twin segment of the market. During that time, S&S Cycle saw its own industry footprint grow with an expanded catalog of product offerings, including the 50-state emissions compliant X-Wedge engine. It also beefed up its efforts in dealer development and training and education.

During that time, the company was the main supplier of aftermarket V-twin motors to the custom performance OEMs that grew out of the V-twin boom.

Smith also gained prominence for his role in the struggle to bend an often reluctant V-twin industry around ever-tightening federal and state emissions requirements. On his watch, S&S Cycle emerged as one of the companies that not only led the charge to comply with regulators, but to fight for reasonable rules that made economic sense for the industry.

Earlier this year, S&S unveiled its own in-house emission certifications lab at its La Crosse, Wis., facility. At the time, Michael Scaletta, S&S director of business development, called the lab "strategically important for the company," adding that it "provides S&S with a long-run competitive advantage in the industry."

The company jumped into the vintage market in July 2007 by purchasing Flathead Power.

But perhaps Smith's crowning achievement, he says, is overseeing the company's massive 50th anniversary celebration in La Crosse. The party virtually took over the small town along the Mississippi River during a weeklong celebration of all things S&S and V-twin.

"There's not a lot that I look back on and say, ‘Man I wish I could have done this differently or changed that,’" Smith says. "I look over our record and I feel pretty strongly about it. We've got a great team of people, a great bunch of employees and I'm proud of all of them."

Hard Decisions
In light of his achievements with the company, Smith finds it hard to leave when the V-twin industry is under the shadow of the national and global economic crises and his family business is feeling the pain. So, over the past year, he's not only found himself presiding over the 50th party, but also a restructuring of the company that saw 58 employees laid off.

"It was something that the company needed to do and if I had not participated in that and stuck around I think I would have been shirking my responsibilities," Smith says. "That doesn't mean there aren't going to be additional changes at the company after I leave. I think we're looking at additional changes as we speak."

In addition to the layoffs, the privately held company also restructured its board of directors — a body long populated by family members — to include new, outside board members.

"Some of the major changes that needed to happen, happened under my watch. Right wrong or indifferent people will always challenge the decisions that you've made. I agreed with those decisions and I executed those decisions. They were my decisions," he says. "To resign after the 50th and have somebody else do that, I would not have had a lot of respect for myself under those circumstances."

Despite the challenges the company — and the industry — faces, Smith says he hopes people don't see his departure as a sign of doom and gloom for S&S because that's not the case. The company is still very strong, he says.

But before anything starts sailing smoothly, the national and global economic situation will have to stabilize, as will the industry's shaky economics. After that, Smith sees the custom V-twin market bouncing back. Not to the same level as before, but the aftermarket, the custom builder side and the performance side should do well, he predicts.

"As far as my future endeavors are concerned, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do yet," he says. He focused so heavily on running the company that he's not had time to make a future plan. He's not even sure he's planning on staying in the motorcycle or powersports industry, adding that he's looking into basic business opportunities near his home in Onalaska, Wis.

"Like I said. I'm not leaving the company outright. I'm a voting shareholder. I may be a director again sometime in the future," Smith says. "That's something that I backed away from when we changed the governance and brought the new board members into place.

"There's chances and opportunities to do some great things, but there's still challenges and we've got to navigate through those waters carefully. I believe that this new board and my father and his experience and the workforce and senior management team are going to be able to do that."

Post Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:41 am
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

Ya need to do a bit of fishing Brett. Take the family and get to a river, lake, stream, pond, any body of water where you and the family can lay back and rest. Breathe the fresh air in. Listen to the sounds of nature. Feed your faith via it all. Direction will follow soon afterward. :) Pa

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