In His Own Words: Ray Wright
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.
Ray Wright: Harley-Davidson has a history in Reno dating back well over 50 years. The Chester family has owned the dealership for just over six years now. Chester’s Reno Harley-Davidson is an award winning Harley-Davidson Dealership. We have won numerous national awards for outstanding performance on all levels from Harley-Davidson Motor Company. We are a full-service Harley dealer offering sales, service, parts, motorclothes, learn-to-ride training and motorcycle rentals. We have two locations, our main facility on Market Street and a store located inside the Silver Legacy Casino Resort in downtown Reno. Reno Harley-Davidson currently has about 45 employees here in Reno.
I have been fortunate enough to work for a series of dealership owners, starting as a sales person and I am now the general manager responsible for all aspects of the dealership.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Wright: I have ridden motorcycles since I was a teenager. I worked in several motorcycle shops as a kid and my passion was racing dirt bikes. Following a successful career with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, a good friend who was sales manager at Reno Harley-Davidson at the time, asked me to help out part-time in sales. From there one thing lead to another and I was made operations manager, then assistant general manager. I became general manager about four years ago under the ownership of the Chester Family.
NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
Wright: Working around motorcycles, great customers and leading a group of the finest Harley-Davidson professionals found anywhere.
NNBW: What is the most challenging part about your job?
Wright: Striving to exceed our customers expectations. We want to make sure that every experience is exciting, fun and unlike the purchase of any other product. We also work to create and maintain a relationship with our customers. We want our customers to attend our events and become a part of the Harley-Davidson family.
NNBW: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your profession?
Wright: Get your foot in the door by taking any position, work hard, ask lots of questions and learn everything you can about the product and all aspects of the business.
NNBW: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you either professionally or personally?
Wright: When approached with a proposal always say no at first. You can usually change a no into a yes but once you have said yes it is too late to reverse course should you think better of the proposal.
NNBW: Is there one thing that you learned over your career that’s become vitally important in your job?
Wright: People are your greatest asset. Assemble a great team and then get out of the way and let them do what they do best. Lead but don’t get in the way.
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
Wright: On motorcycles, of course!
NNBW: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Wright: Anywhere on the ocean. Monterey and the California Coast are great quick getaways.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Wright: I would not retire just yet. I love what I do and I am having too much fun. I would be bored anyway!
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?
Wright: Northern Nevada is a terrific place to live and work. Although not a true native Nevadan — we moved here when I was five — I am pretty close! There are few areas that offer the same community feel and of course, great places to ride!
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.