Adamec Harley-Davidson: Leaning into the Curve

Publish Date: 
Jan 9, 2013
By Joe Delmont

MARK ADAMEC is a straight-shooter and a straight-talker, but he doesn’t like straight lines in his buildings or in his designs. 

In fact, he thinks straight lines, at least on ground level, interrupt personal communications. Curves, he says, facilitate communication.

One reason he talks so much about curves is that he believes they tie back to and support the key to his dealership’s business success: personal relationships — among employees, and between employees and customers.

Photography by Edward Linsmier, Edward Linsmier Photography

The idea of curves epitomizes Adamec’s ingredients for success. “When we began this direction about five years ago,” he says, “we developed a pattern: Using Quality Business Practices [QBP], we will grow our Employee Satisfaction Index [ESI], which will create a better CSI [Consumer Satisfaction Index]. We see it as a continuous process improvement circle: Evaluate and improve our QBP, thereby improving our ESI, and the improved CSI follows.”

But let’s return to the curves.

If you take one look at his Harley-Davidson dealership on Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville, Fla., you’ll see lots of curves, from desks to architectural touches in the building itself.

“Curves are more friendly than straight lines and corners,” Adamec says. “Curves provide more of a flow pattern, and a corner represents an obstacle. If you have to work around something, it’s easier if it’s a curve than if it’s a square.”

Even desks and tables have round designs, representing Adamec’s approach to personal relationships. “If two people are at a desk,” he says, “it’s better to have a round table than a square one. It represents a friendlier atmosphere.”

Adamec’s not the only one hung up on industrial designs emphasizing curves. Steve Jobs of Apple focused on curves. He loved using round corners, as one designer noted, “for simplicity and elegance.” Apple products, from its website to the iPhone and iPad, all feature rounded corners.

“I didn’t know that; it’s good company to be in,” Adamec says. (Continued)