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Xavier Magazine | October 19, 2017

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Profile: Louis Terhar

Profile: Louis Terhar
By Skip Tate

Big Chief | Terhar came out of retirement in July to take over the Indian Motorcycle Co., which is headquartered near San Francisco. “Somebody found me,” he says. “I didn’t want to go to California, but they really wanted me to look at this opportunity. I did, and here I am.”

Back to the Future | Indian was the country’s first and premier motorcycle manufacturer, supplying police departments and the military through WWII. Its bikes even have a left-hand throttle so riders can shoot with their right hand. It lost market share and went out of business in 1953. It was resurrected in 1999 and now has sales of $100 million.

The Price of Desire | Indian is replacing Harley-Davidson as the trendy motorcycle, according to The New York Times. The company now has three lines of bikes, which sell for upward of $25,000.

Easy Riders | Some riders of Indian’s new motorcycles: Peter Fonda, George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenneger, Billy Joel and Mike Ditka. Roads Traveled | Prior to taking over Indian, Terhar was president of the David J. Joseph Co., a $1.1 billion steel processing and transportation firm in Cincinnati, and director of European operations for Black & Decker.

Gray Matters | Terhar retired early and started working on his third master’s degree “to keep my brain cells alive.” Two of his classes were taught by University President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “We were talking one day and I told him that teaching was something I always wanted to do. He said he thought I would be a great teacher, but I needed to teach business not history.”

Class Act | Terhar began teaching the “global business strategy” class to executive M.B.A. students—the program’s capstone course. He still returns to Cincinnati on weekends to teach.

Family Studies | While he was teaching, his wife, Debra, was busy earning a master’s degree in education, and his son, Evan, was earning a bachelor’s degree at Xavier. They graduated together on the same day in 2001.

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