PICKERINGTON, Ohio - Jon-Erik Burleson, president of KTM North America, is the American Motorcyclist Association's 2012 Motorcyclist of the Year.
The AMA designation recognizes those who have had the most profound impact within the motorcycling community in the last 12 months.
"Jon-Erik's innovation and leadership have positioned his company to take full advantage of what could only be described as a challenging environment in the motorcycle industry -- an industry that is fighting back from its worst downturn in history," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman.
"It is also important to recognize our honoree's passion for and commitment to motorcycling. Jon-Erik exemplifies the motorcycle lifestyle. He was raised in a motorcycle racing family and has been around motorcycling his whole life," D ingman added.
Burleson was brought to the company by former KTM North America President Rod Bush, who passed away in 2005 and is a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The AMA stated that although Bush laid the foundation for much of KTM's growth in recent years, it was Burleson who took the reins in 2005 and led KTM from being an obscure European motorcycle company with moderate visibility in the off-road market to a premium brand under the tagline, "Ready to Race."
"Indeed, from 2009 to 2012 KTM sales bucked the declining trend in the industry, increasing almost 20 percent," AMA stated. "Much of that growth occurred in the last year when industry-wide motorcycle sales were essentially flat."
The company also won its first AMA Pro Racing National Motocross Championship in 2012 when Ryan Dungey claimed the No. 1 plate in the 450 class, the association added.
"Through both his professional success and his volunteer efforts, Jon-Erik Burleson's commitment and influence make him one of motorcycling's most effective advocates today," Dingman said. "That, paired with his professional success leading KTM North America through and beyond the recent economic recession, makes him an obvious choice for the 2012 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year."
The full story of Burleson's contributions will be in the January issue of American Motorcyclist.
AMA press release posted by Mary Slepicka