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Q&A with Greg Harris, Service Guru at Arctic Cat


(2/10/2012)

Greg Harris, Service Instructor at Arctic Cat, photo by Duane Rux

If your Arctic Cat snowmobile or ATV has ever needed service work by a dealer, chances are the procedures they used were developed by Greg Harris.

A 31-year employee at Arctic Cat, Harris (56) has developed and taught service procedures going all the way back to 1978.

He was gracious enough to answer some questions about his job and his time at Arctic Cat.

(Special thanks to Arctic Cat's Duane Rux for providing most of the photos!)

 

AI: What’s your job title, and then explain what it is you actually do?

Harris: I’m the Service Training Instructor for ATV and Snowmobiles. My job involves first developing service procedures for ATVs and snowmobiles, then teaching service schools for the Arctic Cat dealer network. These service schools are held throughout the U.S. and Canada, taking upwards of two months. A few people from the Arctic Cat Call Center assist with teaching these service schools, either by helping me or administering the courses themselves.

 

AI: What was your educational background, and how did you get the job?

Harris: I took small-engine classes in school, followed by several OEM schools with Johnson/Evinrude, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Chrysler, MerCruiser, Mercury Marine, Arctic Cat , Spirit Marine, and so on.

 

AI: What are some of the job titles you’ve had over the years?

Harris: When I was first hired in 1976, it was to work in the Service Department at the company’s dealership in Thief River Falls, called Get-A-Way. When the company went out of business in 1981, Get-A-Way was sold to Vern and Randy Adamson, who renamed it RV Sports (which it remains today). I worked there until 1986, when I went back to work for Arctco to launch Special Services (which is commonly referred to as “Salvage”) before transitioning back to the Service Department, where I’ve been ever since.  

 

AI: What are some of the most significant ways Service has evolved over the past 25 years?

Harris: Several years ago we would shoot slide photography of the procedures we needed to cover in our seminars. We had to wait for the slides to be developed, hoping they all would turn out well. Now you take the pictures with a digital camera and we know instantly whether or not we have a good shot.

Back then we would bring several large slide trays and a projector to our service seminars. Now it’s a laptop, DVD and a small projector.

 

AI: Are there areas of service that used to require lots of attention, but no longer do because technology has solved age-old problems?

Harris: For our basic seminars for new technicians, we still cover all the systems that comprise a vehicle, including engine, electrical, fuel systems, clutching, drive train and suspensions. Our Update Seminars are for more experienced technicians (those who have been in the business for more than a year), and we cover what’s new in all the above areas/systems, in addition to solutions to issues experienced during the past year.

 

Greg Harris, Service Instructor at Arctic Cat, photo by Duane Rux

Here's Greg giving instruction on the Arctic Cat 1000 V-Twin ATV engine.

 

AI: What part of your job gives you the greatest satisfaction?

Harris: I guess it would be the feedback from the students that attend my training courses. It’s great to receive a big hand shake and a thank-you from people once a class is complete. This makes it all worthwhile.

 

AI: Do you have one or two favorite specialty tools from over the years?

Harris: We have some great tools shown in our ATV and Snowmobile Special Tools Catalogs. These come in very handy and in many cases are required to correctly perform a procedure. I’ve developed many of these tools, usually when working in our service shop area.

 

AI: What’s your preferred brand of tools?

Harris: I guess I have Snap-On and Craftsman as they are very dependable and have an excellent warranty.

 

Greg Harris (R) and Dave Guenther at the Arctic Cat 50th Celebration

Greg (R) with longtime friend and antique snowmobile collector Dave Guenther, shown after they helped prepare the ATV test ride course for the Arctic Cat 50th Anniversary Celebration last summer.

 

AI: Do you own snowmobiles and/or ATVs?

Harris: I have four ATVs, two Prowlers and one SBS 1000. I have my ZR and also several 1972-77 Arctic Cat Cheetahs. The vintage sleds are always fun, especially the rides and talking about the old days.

 

AI: What’s your all-time favorite Arctic Cat and why?

Harris: It would be the ZR models. They handled great and were very competitive on the trails and racetrack.

 

AI: Tell me a good Roger Skime story.

Harris: I don’t have a great Roger Skime story but I know from working with him that he is truly a great person. He’s always listened to our issues and helped find answers to them. Roger is a great listener.



Comments (10):

artdcat says:
2/10/2012 11:36:00 AM

Greg was my first boss at Arctco back in 1986 in the Salvage Dept. He once told me to run up front to get something so I ran full speed through the plant, past assembly and to the front offices. By the time I got back to him a call had been placed wondering what was wrong because I was running like there was an emergency. He said not to take him literally next time. I learned a lot about sleds from Greg and he always treated my like his little brother. But don't talk flat rate with him at his service schools....
kdub says:
2/10/2012 1:41:00 PM

If there are two guys Id want to take with me on the Space Shuttle to the moon, it would be Greg Harris and Al Shimpa. If one couldnt fix it, the other could!
David Harris says:
2/13/2012 8:23:00 PM

Way too go bro, thats kind of neat to see you getting recognition for what you have done for artco and arctic.
Rex Hibbert says:
2/13/2012 11:04:00 PM

I have had the good fortune of knowing Greg for along time.He was my machanic for the I 500 two years. It was amazing how fast and acurate,his work was. And still is, I'm sure. Greg helped celebrate my 40th brithday. My ribs still hurt from all the laughing. It's guys like Greg that live and arctic cat so great.
Kayla Kofstad says:
2/20/2012 10:59:00 AM

Awesome, dad! It's fun to see you getting recognized for all of your hard work!
Joanne Harris says:
2/21/2012 11:45:00 PM

This is so cool Greg! I can't wait to show it to Gary. You more than deserve this recognition.
Terry Ziegler says:
2/28/2012 6:55:00 PM

I was lucky enough to get to know Greg through his nephews when I ran with them during their racing days. I eventually managed the service dept. for the Cat dealer in Bismarck and called Greg a number of times on questions or concerns regarding issues we were having. He was always spot on and helped us out as much as he could. This is a great family and Greg is very deserving of this recognition. They have taught me a lot over the last 20 years about truly enjoying the sport and the friendships that come with it. I am fortunate to be able to call them friends to this day. Thanks Greg and to the rest of the family.
Corey Arnold says:
2/29/2012 12:10:00 PM

Nice article unk,

Great to see a write up on the man behind the scenes that teaches all the A/C techs the why and how of service and repair. You deserve the recognition and have always been there for me when Ive needed assistance with either the race or trail sleds. You are the "man"!

Lets talk flate rate!

Shaker
Mike & Linda Arnold says:
3/6/2012 2:00:00 PM

Great job brother/brother in law. It's nice to see some of the "original equipment" recognized for years of good service to the company!!
Tony Gmage says:
12/11/2015 11:34:00 AM

Hi Greg, long time no talk. send me some contact info so we can connect.

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