The former director of communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company played an active role in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history. He’s since advised executive leaders of many of the world’s best-known brands, delivered more than one thousand keynote presentations, written two best-selling books, and created a popular business podcast. He’s widely respected as one of the business community’s most outspoken, provocative, and entertaining thought leaders on competition, loyalty, human behavior, workplace culture, brand management, positioning, and reputation management -- and how each of those topics impacts the others.


The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s formal association with Harley-Davidson began in 1985. As a specialist in corporate positioning and financial relations, he was asked to work with the struggling company to help restore its image, improve its competitiveness, create demand for its motorcycles, and attract investors. Within a few short years, as sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward, Harley-Davidson became one of the most respected, competitively dominant, profitable, and frequently reported-on companies in the world.


Today, Schmidt is focused on his greatest passions: motorcycling, speaking, and helping business leaders to improve their competitiveness. In addition to “Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road To Dominance,” he also ghost-wrote, “100 Years of Harley-Davidson,” the best-selling motor sports book of all time. In 2021, he launched, “Tailgating With Geniuses,” a highly successful business and entertainment podcast.

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Ken Schmidt Reviews

  • What is your favorite quote? What are people saying about you? What do you want them to say? And what are you doing to make them say it?
  • Are there any moments that stand out as having a significant impact on your career? Being part of the incredible team that drove Harley-Davidson's turnaround from the brink of ruin to global dominance -- using techniques nobody had ever used or heard of.
  • Outside of your profession do you have any hobbies/interests? Motorcycling (duh). Fishing. Hunting. Soccer. Snowboarding. Green Bay Packers. Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Who do you look up to as a mentor and why? Most memorable mentor was Richard Teerlink, CEO at Harley-D, who taught me that you can't be a leader if you're not doing what you're asking others to do.
  • Is there anything else we should know about you? I've done 1,200+ keynotes around the world -- all tailored to my audiences -- which means I do a lot of homework. I also lead workshops to help businesses improve competitiveness.