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.
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 (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.