Last week I spent two glorious days at Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls.
Every trip to Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls is a good one, but some days there are extra bright. This was one of them.
The news of Chris Twomey's return as Chairman of the Board and interim CEO at Arctic Cat in the wake of Claude Jordan stepping down, spread through the company on Monday morning. And by day's end Chris Twomey had addressed the entire company of Arctic Cat’s bright future for the financially strong company.
Twomey was CEO at Arctic Cat for 24 years prior to his retirement in 2010. He was respected as much for his ability to lead the company as he was for his understanding of the products and the people who use them. Chris genuinely rides snowmobiles, ROVs and ATVs for fun. His open-door policy (as evidenced here touring the factory) at Arctic Cat was a hallmark of his tenure.
I think it's cool that Twomey spent a big chunk of the day going through the production area, talking with people and answering questions.
The mood this day reminded me of the One Millionth sled celebration at Arctic Cat, back in 2010.
Twomey's job for the next handful of months is to take the company forward while identifying new CEO leadership that will grow the company into the future.
These are good days at Arctic Cat, with even better days ahead.
It's funny, but several moments of this trip felt like a reunion, as evidenced by running into Team Arctic legend Dave Thompson (left) and his son Lonnie at lunch. Dave is a hotrod car enthusiast and is getting primed for the upcoming "Back to the '50s" vintage event in the Twin Cities.
Dick Krogstad is another longtime Arctic Cat mainstay who I was happy to have seen on this trip. He stopped by the Marketing department to gather a few items that he brought to the vintage snowmobile show in Milbank, SD.
As always, the focus remains on innovation, new (and improved) products and great experiences outdoors.
The all-new 50-inch wide Wildcat Trail models were rolling down the production line and tempting me to play hooky and go for a ride.
On the ATV line, 500 4x4 EFI models looked equally sweet and ready to roost.
2015 M8000 Sno Pro models graced the snowmobile assembly line.
I get PUMPED when I think about all of the cool places and experiences that these machines will deliver in the coming years.
That's a bumper crop of suspension arms.
Over in the ATV engineering area, Ryan Hughes paused from his regular scheduled duties to autograph the Fall 2007 issue of Arctic Cat RIDE magazine, on which he graced the cover piloting a then-new Thundercat 4x4.
No, Hughes doesn't normally have a stack of seven-year-old magazines sitting on his desk. He happened to find these in a supply room and was happy to share with anyone who came within 20-feet of his desk.
A short while later, Hughes (foreground) joined fellow ATV/ROV engineers (from R-to-L) Jared Spindler, Mike Morris and Mark Esala, as well as Marketing's Kale Wainer (far left) in a download of information on the 2015 models.
Over in the Snowmobile Engineering area, there was talk among (L-to-R) Blake Schoh, Andy Beavis, Dan Gilbert and Wes Selby about a recent spring test trip with some 2015 snowmobiles, as well as some laughter about Andy using a Bearcat ski as a de facto snowboard during the trip.
The snow engineers are STILL riding and testing future sleds, and in fact Selby was scheduled to join a crew of riders out West later in the week.
Chris Twomey isn't the only former Arctic Cat employee who has returned recently. In March, former snowmobile engineer Doug Braswell returned as Director of Snowmobile Engineering, having spent nearly 10 years at John Deere.
I've enjoyed a lot of snowmobile trips and experiences with Braswell, including Ride With the Champs events in recent years. He's pumped about his new role with Arctic Cat.
What he talked about most during our 10-minute conversation were the talented people in the engineering department, which I think is pretty cool.
My key advice to him? Decorate the walls of his office.
Next door to Braswell's office, Mountain Team Leader Troy Halvorson was discussing the continued evolution of Arctic Cat M sleds. The efforts by Troy and the team to deliver real-world performance to the mountain sleds has made a big impact the past couple of seasons, and there's more stuff that's coming in the future.
That's all for now, thanks for reading.