My career first began in 1997. At the time, I was attending Illinois State University to become a teacher. I began to lose interest in college living and decided I was going to chase my dreams and become a Harley Davidson mechanic. I had no technical training and had never worked on a motorcycle before, so I did some research and found Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Phoenix. I had never been further west than Colorado before and city living was bound to be different than rural Illinois. Two days after completing my finals, I packed up my stuff and headed to Arizona.
I started classes at MMI one week after I moved and graduated thirteen months later. As graduation drew closer, I started to think about where I wanted to live next. A couple of weeks before graduation, I received a job offer in Jacksonville, Florida. I stayed in Florida for a year and a half working in a couple of dealerships and decided that I missed the desert.
In late 99, I received a job offer to come back to the Phoenix area and work in a dealership in Scottsdale. When I arrived back in Arizona, I made a commitment to myself that I would pursue my technical training and try to someday be awarded the title of Master of Technology. This title is the highest level of technical training that a dealership employee can receive. I worked in Scottsdale for three years.
In 2002, I was offered a position at new dealership in Colorado. While there, I worked hard and strived to take as many classes as I had the previous three years. I stayed in Denver a little over a year before I received an offer to return to my previous employer in Scottsdale. In mid 2003, I made the move back to the valley. In late 2003, I received my Master of Technology award. At that time, I was the youngest Master of Technology in the world and the youngest to ever receive this award.
In August of 2005, I opened Matt Risley Innovation. My goal was to have a one stop shop where customers could have everything from tires and service to the custom bike that they always dreamed of.
In 2006, for me and the company really started to shift gears and I started to have a lot of ideas of parts that could be made. I saved my money and started to buy equipment. Welders, plasma cutters, saws, you name it. For awhile, I would do free work for a chance to practice with these machines. I would come in an hour early and stay an hour late just to practice with that TIG welder. I finally got my skill set up and felt like, with help, I could start to make these ideas come to life. There were countless hours of trial and error, not only with manifesting the ideas, but with me learning and trying to develop my fabrication skills. After making hundreds of gas tanks and exhaust systems, my skill level had come a long way. It was never easy. I just really enjoyed the work and on that point, still do. Once I got that taste in my mouth, that I could most likely make anything I could dream up, there was no turning back.
In 2007, I came up with my idea for the Electric Center Stand. I made it originally for my Dad. For the first few years, it was pretty tough. I would make each unit individually and the market really just wasn’t ready. Bikes where customs, there wasn’t a lot of really tricked out Harley baggers out then. My Dad and I would sit around and say “Just think if we could sell five or ten or these a month?”
In 2011-2012, the market really started to shift over to what it is now, custom baggers. My phone started to blow up. Over the next three years, we have transitioned from making them one at a time, to mass production and involving machine shops, who make our parts so we can keep up with demand. We went from selling forty units a year to thousands. It was worth the wait. The amount of friendships and business relationships that we gained in this time was worth it alone.
In 2016, we are so excited to introduce our newest part, ZEUS LOCK. This is a patented saddlebag protection system. This kit prevents saddlebags from being stolen or accidently falling off. This system also incorporates LED lights to light your bag at night.
In conclusion, our promise to you is to always be looking forward. In addition, our goal is to it better than most. We plan to accomplish this with a superior product and the best customer service that we can offer, period. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for showing interest in what we do.
Ask Matt a question: firstname.lastname@example.org