| posted by Joe Hice |

Benny Suggs; A lasting impression

There are a few people in our lives that make a lasting impression.  Benny Suggs is one of those who made a lasting impression on my life.  Benny was an admiral in the U.S. Navy when we first met and he and his office helped me organize an event for Harley-Davidson at the Navy base in San Diego.

Benny is a devoted Harley rider and I knew he was also a loyal member of the Wolfpack less than five minutes after we met. Somehow the conversation just made it’s way to NC State way back when.

Benny left the Navy shortly after we met and he joined Harley-Davidson where I was working.  We had some great years together, working  on the growth and expansion of Harley-Davidson University — his first job in higher education:-) — and on a couple of projects that are burned into my consciousness.  When you meet him just ask about the work we did for the Navy Seals or the ride to New York City with a number of Harley-Davidson Police and Firefighter Motorcycles the week after 911.  The images will never go away.

So you’ll understand when I shout out that I’m proud to welcome Benny Suggs back to North Carolina and back to NC State as the Executive Director of the NC State Alumni Association.  Hold on folks.  It’s gonna be an amazing ride!

Ralph (Benny) E. Suggs, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (ret.) and general manager of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) and Rider Services at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, has been named Executive Director of the North Carolina State University Alumni Association, Vice Chancellor Nevin Kessler, announced today.

Suggs, a 1969 graduate of NC State, was one of the university’s 2006 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.  He has also served on the General Hugh Shelton Leadership Initiative Board of Advisors at the university for the past eight years.

“We’re thrilled that Benny Suggs is returning to the university he has loved and supported over the years, “ said Alumni Association President Dennis Howard.  “He epitomizes the leadership and public service commitment graduates of NC State are known for throughout the nation.”

As general manager of the Harley Owners Group, Suggs is responsible for managing an organization with 1.2 million members worldwide.  He also manages all rider-training programs sponsored by Harley-Davidson as well as authorized rentals worldwide.  He has a full-time staff of 60 and thousands of volunteers around the world.

“Benny has been responsible for the growth and success of the Harley Owners Group through some very challenging times,” Kessler said.  “His efforts to enhance the experience and engagement of Harley-Davidson riders with the company will translate directly to his leadership of the alumni association.  He will be able to help us engage a larger number of alumni with the university and build those lifelong bonds that are so important to NC State.”

Suggs served for 30 years in the U.S. Navy and was Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Special Operations Command, upon his retirement in 2000.  He also served as Commander of Carrier Group Six/John C. Stennis Battle Group and was director for Operations, Plans and Policy, U.S. Atlantic Fleet where he was responsible for the training and deployment preparations of more than 175,000 personnel.

Suggs is also a Navy aviator, receiving his Naval Aviation Wings in 1971.  He has received the Defense Meritorious and Distinguished Service Medals, Five Legion of Merit Medals and Two Navy Commendation Medals.

“My wife Kellie and I are thrilled to be returning to North Carolina and to my alma mater.  It truly is Red & White for Life in this family,” he said.

The NC State Alumni Association engages more than 175,000 university alumni through programs and services that foster pride and enhance a lifelong connection to NC State.

Passion rules!

1 of Many

Share

3 Responses to “Benny Suggs; A lasting impression”

  1. Q says:

    Thumbs up!

  2. […] with new Alumni Association Executive Director Benny Suggs ’69 at the motorcycle maker. He shares a few thoughts about Suggs today on his blog: There are a few people in our lives that make a lasting impression. […]

  3. JEFF COSTIGAN says:

    ADM. SUGGS WAS COMMANDING OFFICER OF USS AMERICA CV-66 VA. JUST BEFORE I WAS DISCHARGED IN 1995. SURPRISED TO LEARN HE RETIRED. HE WAS JUST CAPT. OF AMERICA. FROM WHAT I REMEMBER OF HIM, HE WAS A FAIR MAN. I NEVER MET HIM FACE TO FACE BUT I HEARD HE WAS VERY FAIR. HAD NO IDEA HE WORKED FOR HARLEY DAVIDSON OR THAT HE LOVED MOTORCYCLES. IT WAS A PLEASURE SERVING UNDER HIM, MY NAM, NAVY ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL WAS SIGNED BY HIM. THATS ALL FOR NOW. JEFF COSTIGAN.

Leave a Reply