Executive of the Year

Executive of the Year

In 1970, SME Topeka honored Governor Robert Docking as our first Executive of the Year. Since then, we have honored forty individuals for excellence in their fields and their positive contributions to Northeast Kansans. We are now pleased to recognize the outstanding achievements of Mike Patterson as the 2017 Executive of the Year.

Mike Patterson was raised in Topeka and graduated from Washburn Rural High School. He attended Kansas University where he earned a degree in Business Administration.

Much of his teenage summer years were spent working in his grandfather’s Harley-Davidson dealership where his first jobs were to sweep the floor and fill the pop machine. He worked in the store on his off hours from school and learned all aspects of the business from service work, parts inventory/selling, clothing inventory/selling along with motorcycle sales.

After KU, Mike’s roll became administrative as he took over the management of the stores finances. He attended all management trainings offered by Harley-Davidson Corporate.  Along with his grandfather Henry Patterson and Uncle Dennis Patterson, the three generations guided the dealership to one of the most awarded Harley-Davidson dealerships in the country.

With the passing of his grandfather and retirement of his uncle, Mike took over full operation of the dealership in 1999. He orchestrated the relocation of the business to its current home at 21st and Topeka Boulevard. Mike attributes his dealership business knowledge to following in the footsteps of his grandfather and uncle. He also credits learning how to compete on a national level through his motorcycle racing career. He competed professionally nationwide for 10 years and achieved a expert ranking with a national number.

The dealership has been recognized for its commitment to charitable causes throughout its existence, hosting countless benefit rides and charitable events. The dealership has raised over 1/2 million dollars for local charities including MDA and the Boys and Girls Club.

The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has appointed Mike to multiple committees representing the Harley dealer network. The store has been recognized by industry magazines as a top motorcycle dealer of all brands and received a cover photo and story in Dealernews, a magazine devoted to all motorcycle brands.

Historic Harley-Davidson and the Patterson family have been in business in Topeka for 69 years. During that time, the dealership has focused on providing a great value for their customers along with the highest level possible of customer service.

Under Mike’s leadership, Historic Harley-Davidson has built a nationwide reputation as the Harley-Davidson dealership for the restoration of vintage motorcycles. This reputation led to the opportunity to restore “Big Red” – Evel Knievel’s 1974 Mack truck and trailer.  This successful restoration led Mike to the vision and creation of The Evel Knievel Museum located here in Topeka. It was his dream to create a dealership destination for visitors and customers from across the country. The Evel Knievel Museum has taken that vision to a new level by extending it across the globe.

Since the Evel Knievel Museum’s grand opening last July, the museum has received national attention in newspapers, radio talk shows and television news all over the world. USA Today recently ranked the museum as a Top 5 new attraction for 2017.  The museum received visitors from all 50 states within the first 3 months of opening, most of which had the museum as their primary destination for their trip.  It has received outstanding reviews from all media outlets and 5 star average ratings on all attraction reviews sites.

Mike is committed to increasing Topeka’s out of town visitors and tourists by serving on the Visit Topeka Board of Directors. He was presented the “Award of Excellence” for 2017 from the Great Topeka Partnership for the impact on tourism to Topeka. Mike will also be a featured presenter at the Association of Midwest Museums in Chicago, Illinois this summer.

Mike is proud to have assembled an amazing team of people who have accomplished creating a top level Harley-Davidson dealership and popular national/international tourist attraction right here in Topeka.

Mike and his wife Cathy have one son, Jaxon who is 13 years old.

SME Topeka Executives of the Year
1970      Gov. Robert Docking
1971      Dr. Kenneth McFarland
1972     Willard Noller
1973     Gov. Alf Landon
1974     Lou Falley
1975     Fred Kuehne
1976     Charles Marling
1977     Vernon Jarboe
1978     Joe Burke
1979     Larry Ireland
1980     Ron Miller
1981     Eldon Danenhauer
1982    H. Pat Powers
1983    Dr. John Green
1984    Mayor Doug Wright
1985    Lanny Kimbrough
1986    David Stremming
1987    Harry Turner, Jr.
1988    Gary Clarke
1989    Harold Worswick Jr.
1990    Robert Wheeler
1991    Howard Fricke
1992   Ben Blair
1993   John E. Hayes, Jr.
1994   Don Lilya
1995   Betty Simecka
1996   Emery Fager
1997   Frank Sabatini
1998   Tom Schwartz
1999   Dr. Jerry Farley
2000  Maynard Oliverus
2001  Steven Douglass
2002  Nancy Perry
2003  David Leamon
2004  Kent Garlinghouse
2005  Kris Robbins
2006  Ray Irwin
2007  Harry W. Craig, Jr.
2008  Duane L. Fager
2009  John Dicus
2010  James W. Parrish
2011  Joanne Morrell
2012 Steve Briman
2013 Vince Frye
2014  John Hunter and Anita Wolgast
2015  Jim Klausman
2016  Joan Wagnon
2017 Mike Patterson