Steven Menneto's rise to VP of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries is one of those rare, ground floor to the corner office success stories. If you want to start from the beginning, Steve's journey was sparked by riding dirt bikes - as he phrased it, "as a little guy."
Edgar Hetteen is thought by many as the father of the snowmobile. For this he was inducted in the Snowmobile Hall of Fame, and yes, there is an actual Snowmobile Hall of Fame, located in Saint Germain, Wisconsin.
If Edgar Hetteen is the father of the snowmobile, then Polaris is the original snowmobile company. Initially the snowmobile was created to make hunting areas more accessible to hunters. Get this, the first snowmobile featured a track made of a silo conveyor belt and Chevrolet bumpers for skis.
Steve Menneto's Background
Shortly after college, Steve and his brother decided to open a Polaris dealership in Saratoga, New York. From there he took on the position of DSM Polaris regional sales manager, which he segued to Director of Dealer Development and then on to head of sales.
Since Steve had a lot of experience on the front end, the powers that be at Polaris figured that he would be perfect for Victory Motorcycles. So Polaris asked Steve if he could take on the Victory brand and get it going in the right direction. "That's how you get there." Steven Menneto.
Polaris and Motorcycles
Polaris is currently undergoing a transformation of sorts. The Victory side of the Polaris house has largely been focused on touring motorcycles. That is reflected with the launch of the Victory Vision luxury touring motorcycle in 2008 and this direction will continue with the introduction of the 2010 Victory Crosscountry and 2010 Victory Crossroads.
In 2011 Polaris bought one of the most storied American manufacturers, Indian Motorcycles, which had just recently undergone a revival of its own with new financial backers and a new manufacturing facility located in North Carolina. They introduced new models and even opened new dealerships. Now Indian is under the global umbrella of Polaris.
Steven Menneto's Plan for Victory
"We have been really focused on becoming that heavy weight touring brand," said Steven Menneto. Victory's ambitious plan is to continue to release a new bikes every six months. "We think that we are positioned very well to continue to grow on the touring side of the business over the next 12 to 14 months."
The strategy is to keep the fresh products coming at our consumers and to keep building Victory as a brand. "As you can see, as we keep bringing out new products, it attracts new dealers." Last year Victory grew their base by 20% and they plan to increase by another 20%.