Channel Magazine met Phil Heath when North Auckland Harley-Davidson opened in Barrys Point Road in Takapuna. Like the rest of the Harley Davidson team, Phil’s passionate about Harleys. We asked him about why he loves what he does.
Channel Magazine: Tell us about your role at North Auckland Harley Davidson.
Phil Heath: I’m the Accessories and Parts Manager, but in a small dealership such as ours, all of us fill many roles as required.
CM: What is the most exciting thing about your job, and why?
PH: There’s a passion about the Harley brand, shared at every level. From the men and women who are our loyal and enthusiastic riders and customers, the Harley Owners Group members, through dealership staff, managers and owners, right up to the top levels of the motor company in Milwaukee... there’s a passion for riding these iconic motorcycles. There is also a fresh approach to the brand and this new dealership from the dealer principal Greg Pratt; he represents the generational change in Harley ownership.
CM: Tell us about how you became involved in setting up the North Auckland store.
PH: The store owners, Ray and Greg Pratt, offered roles here to me and my partner Kat, so we moved to Auckland from Brisbane. The chance to change countries was an irresistible offer. We are both experienced in the Harley-Davidson industry, and starting from bare walls and floors we were given almost a free hand to create and establish the parts, accessories, rider equipment and clothing departments. It’s been a delight to bring the Harley lifestyle to the North Shore!
CM: You obviously love Harley-Davidsons. How did this develop, and what do you love about Harleys, and why?
PH: I had no interest in Harleys, nor in motorcycles generally, until I began work at a Harley dealership in Brisbane at the age of 17. The undeniable grip of the Harley lifestyle took hold pretty easily!
CM: Have you always worked in the motorcycle industry?
PH: Mostly I’ve been in motorcycles, but I’ve wandered away into other areas of employment and self-employment occasionally. The Brisbane dealership was also a Harley-Davidson distributor, overseeing all H-D dealers in Queensland, New Caledonia and New Zealand. My role included frequent visits to New Zealand, and I first met Ray Pratt maybe 18 years ago. I left the Brisbane dealer when it was sold in 2012, then consulted for other dealers, and was a manager for a Harley Licenced Product manufacturer until Ray stepped in. But working in the Harley-Davidson industry for so long has given me a fantastic and interesting life full of great people, frequent travel, and of course the core of it all: riding Harleys.
CM: Do you own a Harley? What kind and how often do you have a chance to get out on it?
PH: Yes, of course! I currently own a Wide Glide, with a Stage 4 Race engine and plenty of custom accessories. I regularly drag race it (as I’ve done with all my bikes since 1998), but I can also tour the country end to end, or show off the coolest vehicle at the coffee shop.
CM: What do you like best about working in Takapuna?
PH: I’m a little spoiled coming from Brisbane, which is so close to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. But Auckland, around the harbour and beaches, is uniquely beautiful, and North Shore is a great place generally.