Interview With Service Manager DA
Dustin Ashley, or DA says Harley® is as much a part of him as is breathing. He has 15 years of experience working at Harley-Davidson® dealerships, and he’s been eating, sleeping and breathing all things Harley® pretty much since he was born.
As his team member profile will tell you, the ladies love him and the men are scared of him. We’re proud to have him as the Service Manager here at Dallas Harley-Davidson. He became part of our Garland, TX motorcycle dealership family like he was born into it.
Growing Up Harley
The Ashleys have been a military family since the Civil War. DA’s dad was in the Navy and served in the Vietnam War. DA later followed the family tradition and served as a Navy Seabee himself.
DA grew up on a horse ranch and he also spent huge chunks of time at his dad’s custom bike shop. They worked on all kinds of bikes, even building custom trikes for disabled vets, but Harley had a special place in his dad’s heart.
“Being around Harleys is like breathing,” DA said. “To me, it’s normal being around a shop, in a shop. Even in our house everything was Harley®. We had a Harley-Davidson® branded television, a Harley radio, Harley branded beer and cigarettes sitting on the mantle. At Christmas time we even had Harley-Davidson® bar and shield wrapping paper.”
Why He Got in a Fight Once
DA’s passion for all things Harley sometimes got him in trouble. He remembers once when he was young a classmate suggested his favorite brand might not be the best.
“I remember I got in a fight in school over Harley. A kid did a show and tell on Honda, and he said that was the best bike and so I beat his ass."
"I went home and my Dad asked what happened, and I told him what that kid shared. Dad said Honda is a good bike and it was like a kick in the butt.”
Passion for Harley Leads to Career
DA’s had exposure to motorcycle mechanics from the time he could walk, so it’s no wonder he developed an aptitude for working on them. “I never went to school for it,” he says. “I’ve always just liked to see how things work, always liked to learn. I started in my dad’s shop getting parts. I cleaned the shop, then I started working on things that were in the shop.”
His first bike was a 1947 Flathead WLC, a bike originally produced for military use by the Canadian Army (the “C” stands for “Canadian”). Harley built around 90,000 WL bikes during World War II, and when the war was over, people were able to pick them up at fairly inexpensive rates. Harley Flathead WLC bikes were used as meter maid cars and Coca-Cola used them to deliver soda.
Since that first bike, DA says he’s had eight or nine more Harleys. He currently rides a 2011 Harley-Davidson Limited.
How He Broke His Back
DA was working as the Service Manager at San Diego Harley-Davidson and one night dark fell before he finished payroll and headed home. An elderly driver made a sudden left turn right in front of him, and DA “T-boned” him going 55 mph.
He noticed right away that he had ripped the front end off his brand new bike. What he didn’t realize was that he also broke his back. It was two years before he had surgery to correct his injury.
What Brought Him to Texas
The father of two wanted to leave California, and he had family in Texas. “After my motorcycle accident I had spinal reconstruction surgery, and I just wanted to get out of dodge. I saw an opening at Dallas Harley-Davidson so I applied. I interviewed with Shawn Feiock and ended up getting the job.”
Biggest Work Challenge
DA compares his duties on a typical day to playing fireman. “I have a good crew of guys. They have good experience and make my job easier,” he shares. His job consists of getting everyone’s work going, overseeing day to day warranty needs and doing whatever’s required to ensure customer satisfaction. He said in the past he liked to do everything himself, but at Dallas H-D he’s found a reliable, professional team that all works together.
His biggest challenges usually occur when someone hasn’t taken care of their bike and he has to tell them their neglect or misuse has created a problem. “It’s like a human being,” he says, “If a bike isn’t taken care of, it wears down.”
The Best Part of His Job
You can hear the respect and appreciation in his voice when DA shares his favorite thing about working at Dallas H-D. “My guys,” he says. “My crew. They’re family. They’ve all been to my house, we hang out together. This is my family, these are my friends.”
He says he’s ridden in clubs, served in the military and spent time with all kinds of personalities, so he recognizes how rare it is to be surrounded by that level of enthusiasm and dedication. Meet DA and his team next time you schedule your service or motorcycle repair at Dallas Harley-Davidson® in Garland, TX.