RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.—When Mike Buckley lived in Buffalo, N.Y., his house sat on six acres of land—three of them devoted to a motocross track. When he had to take his son to the hospital for a bike-related injury—which happened from time to time—he could tell what the nurses were thinking before they said anything.
"They'd look at me like, 'Why do you let your son do this? What kind of parent are you?'" Buckley said, chuckling. "I'd say, 'Listen, I make my living doing this, so save me your lectures. I appreciate your opinion, but this isn't child abuse.'
"We always did it as safely as possible."
Buckley is the senior vice president for sales and marketing for Dunlop Motorcycle Tires, a unit of Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.
Like everyone working in that division, he views it as more than a job.
You can work at McDonald's and not like hamburgers. You can tend bar if you don't drink. You can even be a mechanic and not care much about cars.
But if you want to work in Dunlop's motorcycle division, you better love bikes.
"I think all but one of our people in R&D (research and development) participate in the sport of motorcycling," Buckley said. "That's a huge differentiator. This sport, it's abrotherhood. You've got to walk the walk and talk the talk. All of the salespeople ride. The product management people ride. The customer service people ride.