Arlen Ness, Mark Blackwell among Polaris 2015 hall of famers

Publish Date: 
Aug 8, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Polaris Industries Inc. inducted three retired employees, including two executives, three premier dealerships, and a key supplier into the Polaris Hall of Fame.

The inductees were honored for their significant contributions to the company’s and local community's success during a ceremony July 29 at the Polaris national meeting.

Here's the Hall of Fame list, courtesy Polaris:

  • John Corness, who served as vice president of human resources from 1999 to 2011, a growth period for Polaris. John and his HR team contributed to that growth and to the company’s ongoing success by hiring outstanding personnel to expand and elevate programs and processes, by implementing effective employee evaluation practices and by establishing programs such as the Engineering Development Program.
  • Mark Blackwell, who joined Polaris in 2000 as general manager of the Victory Motorcycles division, and later served as vice president of the Victory division and Polaris vice president of international operations. Blackwell joined Polaris after a hall of fame motocross racing career and two decades of successfully directing powersports businesses, and he guided Victory through a decade of tremendous improvement in product innovation, quality, performance, and sales. He helped to energize the company’s commitment to product quality, and helped create the product development process Polaris still uses today.
  • Les Olson, who started as a Polaris snowmobile dealer in 1975, became a district sales manager for Polaris in several Rocky Mountain states, and closed his Polaris career as an extremely valuable member of the Polaris Way Out Training Team, touring the country and providing sales personnel from Polaris dealerships with effective product and sales training. Olson is now retired and living in northern Minnesota.
  • Lube-Tech (aka Lubrication Technologies, Inc.) in the early 1990s created for Polaris its first brand-exclusive, specially blended motor oil for Polaris 2-stroke snowmobile engines. Lube-Tech has since provided the company with specially formulated oils for engines in all Polaris vehicles, with each oil specially engineered for optimal performance and engine longevity. Lube-Tech has provided Polaris with exceptional customer service and breakthrough technology, including the first synthetic oil for a 4-stroke ATV engine, the first synthetic for 2-stroke engines, and the first smokeless 2-stroke oil.
  • Arlen Ness Motorcycles, a leading Victory Motorcycles and Indian Motorcycle dealership in Dublin, Calif. Its principals, legendary custom bike builder Arlen Ness and his son, fellow custom builder Cory Ness, have long served as styling consultants and accessories suppliers for Victory. They have also created a series of limited-edition Ness Signature Series Victory models. The Nesses became Victory dealers in 1999, providing the new brand with invaluable credibility because of Arlen’s legendary stature in the motorcycle world. Today, three generations of Ness custom builders lead the business, as Cory’s son Zach is also a high-profile team member.
  • M & M Lawn & Leisure operates Polaris snowmobile and off-road vehicle dealerships in Rushford and Pine Island, Minn. The dealerships owned by Mike Burns and his wife Christie have enjoyed long-term success through a company-wide commitment to unsurpassed customer service, support of community activities and rider groups, and by utilizing the dealer resources Polaris provides to maximum effect. When torrential rains flooded the city of Rushford in 2007, M & M, with Polaris support, provided vehicles and dealership resources, including full use of the building itself, to emergency operations teams.
  • Reno Cycles & Gear, a Polaris dealership owned and operated by Bill Hermant, his wife Donna, and their daughter Kimberly in Reno, Nev. When Bill became a Victory Motorcycles dealer in 2000, the business was located in a rundown building in a rough part of town. Passionate about powersports and committed to providing premium customer service, he successfully grew the business. Reno Cycles & Gear features a factory trained service staff that delivers superior vehicle service and maintenance. In 2007, the dealership moved into a large, modern, high-profile facility, and it continues to grow as it sells and services all Polaris product lines.
  • Roseau community & Roseau Polaris Employees are receiving special recognition in the company’s 60th anniversary year. Polaris was incorporated in Roseau in the 1954, and six decades of Roseau employees – with the support of the city and entire community – have maintained the company’s commitment to product innovation and quality. The Polaris engineering and production facility in Roseau has grown rapidly over the years, as has the outstanding, dedicated workforce that creates world-class products in the company’s hometown.

The Polaris Hall of Fame was established during the company’s 50th anniversary in 2004. Retired employees, Polaris dealers, and key material and technology suppliers have been recognized annually for their roles in the company’s growth and success.

From a news release