Ken Schmidt –
Former Director of Communications Strategy for Harley-Davidson Motor Company
One of the most in-demand speakers and communications consultants in America, Ken Schmidt has lived a life that most can only dream about. He has toured the world on two wheels, met with presidents and royalty, partied with movie and music legends, and appeared numerous times on network news. As the former director of communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, he played an active role in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history – and got paid to ride motorcycles. He is widely known as one of the business world’s most outspoken and provocative thought leaders and has partnered with many of the world’s most successful brands. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, he shares stories and insights on the road to building a fanatically vocal customer base, creating a passionately loyal corporate culture, and developing leaders who inspire and motivate.
Harley-Davidson. The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s formal association with Harley-Davidson began in 1985. As a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations, Schmidt was asked to work with the then-struggling Harley-Davidson to help restore the company’s image and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few short years, Harley-Davidson became one of the most visible and frequently reported-on companies in the world, while sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward. Schmidt became director of Harley-Davidson’s corporate and financial communications and served as its primary spokesperson to the media and the financial communities. He appeared numerous times on network news programs and was frequently called upon by business media to share his insights on non-traditional communications, customer attraction, and brand-building.
Life After Harley. Now, Schmidt is a frequent speaker to business groups and academic communities throughout the world. Few speakers generate more positive word-of-mouth and referrals. “I love to startle people by exposing them to proven ideas and concepts they’ve never imagined,” he said. Whether he’s talking about how to leverage basic needs to improve competitiveness, build an entirely new corporate culture, or reach out to new customers in completely untraditional ways, Schmidt never follows a predictable course. “Whether I’m talking about how perfectly average people can do extraordinary things or how to build an entirely new corporate culture, rekindle relationships with customers, or reach out to new ones in completely untraditional ways, I’m teaching people to throw conventional approaches out the window. I see opening hearts and minds as my life’s work.”
Today, Schmidt shares his expertise with many of America’s leading brands but happily states that he is “semi-retired,” which allows him to pursue his other passions. He calls working with the grandson of one of Harley-Davidson’s founders to create 100 Years of Harley-Davidson, the best-selling motor sports book of all time, one of the greatest highs in his life. After all he has accomplished his philosophy of life and business hasn’t changed: “Never do what’s expected, make yourself as noticeably different as possible, and have a lot more fun than you’re supposed to.”
Stand Up Comic
General Manager Utah Valley Physicians Plaza
Greg was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1972 in the shadow of the Firestone tire factory. He began swimming competitively when he was eight for the Mountlake Terrace Lemmings. In 1995 he graduated from the University of Washington with a math degree. (He chose math for the ladies.)
After serving ten-years as an 8th grade math teacher, he decided it was time for a career change mainly because he “couldn’t stand those little bastards.” He began his accounting career with a local CPA firm in Orem, Utah, where he consistently failed the QuickBooks ProAdvisor advanced certification test.
Greg is the co-host of a monthly podcast that you’ve never heard of, a regular blogger for the THRIVEal CPA Network, and his bi-weekly cartoon is published on GoingConcern.com. In 2011 he was awarded the “G. Robert Newhart Non-Value Added Fellowship” of the VeraSage Institute. Accounting Today included him in its 2013 and 2014 lists of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the Accounting Profession.
Over the past 12 years, Greg has established himself as a unique voice in the world of stand up comedy. He has shared the stage with SNL stars like Chris Kattan and Rob Schneider as well as Weird Al Yankovic and has been featured in comedy festivals in New York City, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
Greg currently works as the controller and general manager for the Utah Valley Physicians Plaza. He enjoys watching Storage Wars, drinking Scotch, and swearing at teenagers.
Currently the CEO of SwipeClock, Coleman successfully crafted business plans and visions for companies in the enterprise software marketplace which have led to the creation of multi-million dollar companies with successful track records and highly-satisfied customers. Throughout his career, he’s introduced new products and actively sold them to leading world-wide brands that are too numerous to count but include such global leaders as Duke Energy, Reliant Energy, BCBG, Lucky Brand Jeans, General Mills, Northrop Grumman, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Mitsubishi.