Company Vice President Shares His Love of Motorcycle Riding
by Samantha Carpenter
When most eight year-olds were riding a bike, Mark Setzer, was riding a bike of a different kind—a motorcycle. Setzer is vice president and sales director of Setzer Forest Products Inc. of Sacramento, Calif.
“My father had a scooter … He would take [my brother Scott and me] for rides, and I would stand in the foot well and hold on to the handle bars,” said Setzer.
Setzer’s first motorbike was a Briggs & Stratton minibike, which he got at the age of ten.
“I’m on my seventh Harley and 20th motorcycle,” Setzer said.
Currently, he owns a 2002 Harley Davidson FLTC, which is a touring model; a 1998 BMW K1200 RS, which is a sport touring bike that has a 6-speed gear box, ABS brakes and 130 horse power; and a 2003 BMW F650 GS, which is a bike that rides on or off road.
“I can tell you something about every bike I have had—the first motorcycle that I bought with my own money in 1972 was a Yamaha 180 twin. I sold one Harley I owned to Denis Rodman’s ex-wife. I think it was in People magazine at one point,” Setzer said.
“I went to Sturgis, which is the big Harley Mecca, in 1997. I did a Korean National Rally in 2000,” Setzer said. “We used to have a business in Korea, and I used to go there two or three times a year, so I found out about a rally [on one of my trips]. I actually rode with one of the vice presidents of Harley-Davidson and his daughter. I also rode with the owner of the only Harley-Davidson store in South Korea.”
Setzer has also participated in an event called the “Love Ride.” Hosted in Glendale, Calif., it is the largest motorcycle one-day event and it raised $1.2 million last year for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and a number of other charities.
Setzer says that riding motorcycles teaches you to be a better driver.
“You always need to be on the look out. Most people don’t see you, so it’s up to a motorcyclist to always be prepared for the unexpected,” Setzer said. “Riding a Harley-Davidson has taught me to not judge a book by its cover. The H-D crowd can be pretty intimidating at times, but for the most part, a great number of H-D riders today are professionals or just plain motorcycle riders who don’t care about the bike as much as about the riding.”
Setzer has also learned business tactics from buying and selling motorcycles and cars.
“I’ve bought or sold 20 motorcycles over the years. I’ve also had a lot of cars (38),” Setzer said. “Like our philosophy at our company, we think we have a really good service record. If there’s ever a problem, our salespeople are able to take care of it. My philosophy in selling products [whether they are motorcycles, cars or millwork products] is, ‘Hey, if you don’t like it, bring it back.’ Out of the cars and motorcycles I’ve sold, one has never been returned to me.”
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