TOP TEN: Men Who Support Women Motorcycle Riders Print
Written by Becky Shimek   


Behind every good woman there's a good man, some might say, and so we thought it was time to recognize the guys who welcome and encourage women to participate, learn, and ultimately share their love of riding. This list introduces you to a handful of men in the motorcycle industry who do just that.


Karen Davidson and Bill Davidson#1 Bill Davidson has been a strong supporter of women riders for decades. The miles spent riding alongside his sister, Karen Davidson, is his true testament, and together they have logged thousands of miles sharing their passion for the open road with customers along the way. As the great-grandson of one of the Company's founders and VP of Core Customer Marketing, Bill has encouraged women throughout Harley-Davidson, industry and at events around the world to enjoy the freedom of their own two wheels. Bill’s even passing down the moto gene to his 10-year-old daughter, Cara, who loves riding on the back of her dad’s Harley for now, but can’t wait to get her own Harley someday. The HD legacy left to women? The future looks shiny!


Rob Dingman#2 Rob Dingman is president and CEO of the American Motorcyclist Association, better known to female riders as the organization that brings us The International Women & Motorcycling Conference. We applaud Rob for his continued focus on women riders through his support of this unique event and all that it encompasses: part awareness, part education, plus 100% inspiration. And AMA gets extra credit for hosting the biggest event on the planet that brings 1,000 women riders together in one place, at one time.




Tim Buche#3 Tim Buche As president of the Motorcycle Industry Council, Tim is in a unique and powerful position to help ensure that female riders are a focus of the motorcycle industry. Tim has long supported women in various aspects of the industry, from business owners to young professionals to moms. And it's not just talk; MIC walks the walk: In addition to promoting women's outreach as one its core initiatives, MIC has an impressive number of women in top jobs - for any industry.   




Monte Lutz#4 Monte Lutz’s dedication to female riders is significant. Along with Bonnie Strawser, he co-founded Femmoto in 2001, an event which has introduced hundreds of women to their first track riding experience. Realizing the tremendous growth potential for women and motorcycle racing through Femmoto, Monte and Bonnie created the first U.S Women’s Road Racing Series Championship in 2009. Partnership with Michelin Tire Corporation, Championship Cup Series (CCS) and Western Eastern Roadracing Association (WERA) West ensures that women will have more opportunities to elevate their riding skills and earn contingency, which up until this point, has been aloof.  



Rob  Gladden#5 Rob Gladden As Director of Program Administration at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Robert administers the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, and oversees other MSF-administered states and MSF educational campuses nationwide. While he's received awards from the California Highway Patrol for his service to CMSP, Rob deserves recognition for his support of, and enthusiasm for, women in the motorcycle safety community - a key factor in getting more women on two wheels. His philosophy, in his words: "The great Davey Coombs once wrote ''s not a party unless everyone is invited.'  I've been applying that concept to motorcycling ever since."    



Ken Ostermann#6 Ken Ostermann As General Manager of Outreach Marketing, Ken oversees Harley-Davidson's initiatives for all outreach areas, including the Women’s segment. He’s been a strong supporter of women’s initiatives for years. During his tenure as the Director, Electronic Communication overseeing, he supported and helped direct the 2004 launch of the Women Rider section within the site. It was the first time a manufacturer had dedicated an entire section to encouraging women to ride! Ken shares the road with his 8-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, who loves riding in his sidecar.  




Paul James#7 Paul James is the Director of Product Communication at Harley-Davidson, and Outreach PR is a key focus in his area. He has been heavily involved in promoting the women’s initiatives to media for the past five years, which has included two female journalist press events, contests such as the 2008 Get Down to Daytona Ride, rallying media around Garage Party events and May as Women Riders Month. Paul shares his passion for the sport with his eight-year-old daughter Grace, and ten-year-old daughter Faith, who love to ride with their dad. Paul also mentored his wife, Amy, when she took the Rider’s Edge New Rider Course several years ago.    



Walt Fulton#8 Walt Fulton is a veteran rider with numerous racing and riding accolades under his seat. So it’s no surprise he works in Kawasaki’s legal department where he obviously has doled out some smart advice: involve women in all aspects of the industry. And Walt is proof of that notion through his outreach at Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshops, where he and co-owner, Nancy Foote, are committed to improving riders’ abilities, confidence and awareness. Most recently, Walt and Nancy took that knowledge to the AMA Internal Women & Motorcycling Conference last August to host a seminar, Real World Street Strategies.    



Danny Carson#9 Danny Carson As Ducati North America’s events and fleet manager, Danny is responsible for Ducati’s appearance in all of the major events that have targeted female riders over the past decade. And he doesn’t simply attend these events, he provides face-to-face instruction during each demo session, witnessing first-hand the excitement and thrill expressed on a woman’s face when she reaches that out-of-body experience after the test ride. Doing his part to introduce and ensure women get hooked on this iconic ride…check plus!   



Rick Pawelka#10 Rick Pawelka is KYMCO USA’s Director of Marketing, where he has done a superior job at reaching out to women riders; yes, mostly of the scooter persuasion, but that hasn’t made KYMCO shy away from a big presence at major women’s motorcycling events including demos at both The International Woman & Motorcycling Conference and Femmoto. Whether it’s showcasing females riding in advertisements or sponsoring female racers, Rick is steering KYMCO USA in the right direction!





Honorable Mentions:


jon rall photo credit: douglas r. clifford/TimesWe’d also like to recognize Jon Rall of Kawasaki, who should get lots of credit for his strength behind the logistics of the company’s long-standing participation at the annual Femmoto events. He has supported and proven a big fan for women riding solo. 







Reynolds ManssonLongtime motorcycle multi-media guru and racing enthusiast, Reynolds Mansson, is invaluable for connecting various women to industry contacts and creating opportunities, including a gracious invite for Helmet Hair to host its own show for women riders last year during the South Texas Motorcycle Show. Packed with female entertainment including bands, and a street stunter, his full support was evident every step of the way.  



Michael J SmithMichael J. Smith was an unassuming professional freelance photographer and videographer when he got tangled up with Helmet Hair and suddenly found himself, first, on the back of a Ninja250R shooting video – one hand on expensive equipment - the other holding on for dear life. And second, strapped in to an unforgiving sidecar piloted by Heloise – Michael performing both feats with a great sense of humor and admiration for our thirst to reach out to women riders. 





Special Thanks to Jan Plessner, Leslie Prevish, and Jessica Prokup for their contribution to this list.