Archive | March, 2011

Meet the Team: Mustang Fiberglass Finish Supervisor Mike Bonneville

31 Mar

Mike Bonneville

Mike Bonneville joined our team in October of 1999, starting out in Mustang’s fiberglass finish department. Truth be told, when he got here, this former demolition subcontractor was Mustang’s fiberglass finish department. Meet Mike and read what he’s got to say about his dozen years of helping create comfy motorcycle seats.

Mustang Seats: What did you do prior to coming to work for Mustang?

Mike Bonneville: I was a demolition technician. I ripped the guts out of houses, like doors, cabinets, radiators, appliances, doorjambs  and wire. I removed metals and prepared the houses for the wreckers. I did this for about six years and it was pretty fun working with jackhammers, fork lifts and Bobcats. I started driving a big Kodiak truck — a huge flatbed with 16 gears. I got this job through a friend of mine who would subcontract demolition work. They called me “The Sawzall Man” because I would cut pipe and conduit faster than anybody else.

Mustang: What attracted you to Mustang?

MB: I worked for a company delivering u-clips to Mustang and I noticed that Mustang was building motorcycle seats, which I found fascinating.  I knew an employee who worked at Mustang who became my “in.” I wanted to be around motorcycle parts, so my friend talked with the general manager at the time and I was offered a job as a fiberglass finish technician. At first, I was the only guy in the department; today our team can do four times as many seats per day as in the “old days” – how times have changed– how times have changed!

Mustang: What’s the best part of your job?

MB: I like (more…)

Need My Bike? ’Sno Problem!

9 Mar

Editor’s Note: The following blog entry was authored by Mustang Vice President, Mike Panasci.

As you might recall from our Feb. 2 blog post, we just completed work on our new heated motorcycle seat for the late model FL Touring models 2008 and up (see Mustang Puts on the Heat for Harley FL Seats). Our next step was to design a heated seat that would fit the 1997 to 2007 FL models, and the idea was to use my personal 2001 Road King — a bike that’s been the guinea pig in the design of many of Mustang’s seats and accessories.

Mike "'Sno Problem' Panasci

The problem however was climatology more than logistics. I needed to get my bike to Gary Kendrick, our VP of production and head of our design department. Of course, it was January and Connecticut had just been dealt a cold hand. In fact, the state had just experienced a record snowfall unsurpassed in the past 100 years. What to do?

One option was to load my bike on a truck, but that would be tricky, given the icy condition of my driveway. And riding the bike to the shop wasn’t even a consideration. But the extended forecast was looking better (in New England, that means temps above freezing) and I’ve always been one of those ‘weird’ riders who actually enjoy cold-weather riding.

In fact, when I was a kid (and we’re talking more than 40 years ago) I used to ride my Honda S90 year round with full knobby tires. Back then, I couldn’t wait for the first snowfall. All winter long, I’d do donuts in the (more…)