Mel Harris, a longtime motorcycle industry executive, died of cancer on March 20. He was 76.
Harris worked for what was then known as American Suzuki Motor Corporation (American Suzuki) from 1981 to 2008, holding positions as Regional Manager, National Sales Manager, and Vice President in its Motorcycle & ATV Division.
After leaving American Suzuki, Harris worked for Quantya Electric Motorcycles, ATK, and most recently for SSR Motorsports as Vice President of Operations.
He is survived by wife Gale, sons Scott and Shawn, daughters Kim and Amy, and his brother Ray.
We will post more information as it becomes available.
Update: A Celebration of Life has been scheduled 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on April 24 at Pole Position Raceway, 1594 E. Bentley Dr., Corona, CA 92883.
More, from a press release issued by Suzuki Motor USA:
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.
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 10a to 2p 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.