Kawasaki back in the early 1970s as a sales rep. In 1977 he moved to California to do marketing for Kawi, and then in 1978 was heavily involved in promoting the Jet Ski.
He left California and moved to North Dakota to work with the Kawasaki distributor for the plains states, RMK, and then down to Gering, Neb., where parent company Masek Distributing is located. He left RMK and started working for his wife’s small mail-order company that delivered aftermarket accessories for the Kawasaki Mule.
Teresa recounted that Gray always had a relationship with LeMans Corp., so when Fred Fox asked him to come aboard and work with a little company called Memphis Shades, he jumped on it and worked with the windshield manufacturer for about 10 years. “That was a wonderful experience,” she said.
From there he moved to Motorsport Aftermarket Group, where he worked with several of its brands including J&P Cycles, Kuryakyn and Mustang.
Most recently, he was picked up by Tucker Rocky to train its sales force. TR president and COO Steve Johnson, said that Gray would go out with the salespeople and spend two or three days analyzing their technique. He’d then follow it up with a detailed, written report on what that person was doing great, and how they could improve. He always wrapped up the report with a big compliment, Johnson said.
“He was a unique individual. He was always so positive and so professional,” Johnson added. “I absolutely loved that man.”
Linda Lovett, former owner of T-Bags, said that Gray represented everything that is good about the motorcycle industry. And to top things off, he could outsell her any day of the week, something she recalls with friendly, grudging admiration.
“I called him when I found out he was sick and told him, ‘Bill, you know I can’t do these shows without you,’” Lovett said. “I’m really honored to have known him and am really sad that he won’t be around any longer. I will miss him.”
Gray’s family will hold a celebration of his life at noon on Sept. 29, what would have been his birthday, at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Winfield, Ala. There will be a mass, a memorial service and a luncheon afterward. “He just wanted everybody to come back, have a bite, and tell some Bill Gray stories,” Teresa said.