When one considers the sheer magnitude of the Harley-Davidson "Open Road Tour," the thought of
providing mobility services can be daunting; the extravaganza is akin to a major rock concert
and museum exhibit all rolled into one.
Forget, for a moment, the three dozen glistening-new motorcycles. Or the four dozen vintage bikes,
some of which are priceless and haven't seen the light of day in nearly 100 years. Forget the tons of
display elements that accompany the cargo. But what can't be ignored is the responsibility that goes
with the transportation of an honest-to-goodness American legend.
Atlas STG experts know the responsibility well. They are providing a complement of services for the
show that celebrates Harley-Davidson's 100-year history. The tour has been crisscrossing the continent
since last July. It is scheduled to culminate August 31, 2003, when hundreds of thousands take part in
a birthday bash in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, birthplace of the legendary "hog."
is part of a comprehensive team of companies that were selected by Harley-Davidson for expertise in
specific areas. As the event moves from location to location, the installation and dismantling of the
hundreds of exhibit elements must flow like clockwork. With acres of museum-quality exhibits, staging
for musicians, talent coordination, site inspection, setup, and a lengthy list of peripheral tasks, the
ability to work together is essential.
Jim Finch, Corporate Vice President, Atlas agent Ace Worldwide, heads up the Atlas team responsible for
the physical transportation of the show's elements — a role that requires ultra-responsiveness to deal
with sudden changes in scheduling. At one point, some 85 vehicles associated with the tour had to rendezvous
in transit to perform an extensive redistribution of the exhibition elements — a challenge for even the
most seasoned transportation specialists.
So, what else does it take to transport this American legend? "It takes dedicated, climate-controlled
trailers and experienced drivers on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," says Ryan McConnell, Manager, Atlas
Trade Show and National Account Services. "Then there are 38 specialized electronic trailers and their
drivers that carry the various display materials and archives."
Ryan points out that constant contact with the drivers is essential. They not only keep in touch via radio
and cell phone, but also are equipped with satellite communication equipment for a constant "open line" to
ensure communication is never broken. When all vehicles are considered, the total mileage figures are equivalent
to several round trips to the moon.
Being chosen by Harley-Davidson to be part of their team is a great honor. The level of trust is enormous,
considering Atlas is responsible for what might be thought of as the company's entire legacy.
"We've set a new gold standard for caution," says Allen Clem, Director of Global Logistics Planning/Engineering
at Harley-Davidson. "We are very happy with Atlas. They've done everything we've asked of them. Ryan McConnell
and the Atlas team have been excellent to work with. Their positive mindset and can-do attitude exemplify
the Harley-Davidson culture."
Several factors influenced Harley-Davidson's selection of Atlas. Atlas is known as one of the fastest-growing
specialized transportation providers in the nation, for good reason. Atlas routinely transports museum tours and
private tour events, and it has been trusted by some of America's highest-profile companies to transport computer
systems, medical equipment and priceless works of art. And when the weather is right, you can hear the unmistakable
roar of Harley-Davidson motorcycles outside the Atlas World Group headquarters. (Several members of Atlas'
management and staff ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles.) Clem said that it impressed Harley-Davidson management
that the people who worked on the project could approach it not only as business people, but also as enthusiasts.
Atlas is proud to be part of the Harley-Davidson "Open Road Tour," and especially honored to be trusted with
the tour's precious physical elements. But, more than that, Atlas is proud to be carrying another, unseen
element — a tradition woven into the dreams of generations. Atlas is transporting the enduring legacy
of the men who started it all, a uniquely American vision that continues to inspire the spirits of riders.
Atlas has been entrusted with a genuine American legend.