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Excerpts from Well Made in America

Excerpts from Well Made in America, Lessons from Harley-Davidson on being the Best, by Peter C. Reid (McGraw Hill, 1990):

Steve Deli’s role in saving Harley-Davidson from Bankruptcy:

Because of his dedicated efforts to keep Harley-Davidson from going under, Deli is on the company's informal roster of "saviors." Steve Deli...worked indefatigably to put together the refinancing deal.


Steve Deli takes Harley-Davidson Public (IPO):

“Why not go public?” Steve Deli of Dean Witter Reynolds, who had helped Harley secure the refinancing deal that saved it from extinction, posed that question to Rich Teerlink [then Harley CFO, later CEO] one spring day in 1986.

"I thought the idea was nuts," Teerlink says. Vaughn Beals [Harley CEO] also had grave misgivings. 

But Deli was undeterred. And listening to his persuasive arguments, Beals and Teerlink began to see the cracks in their thinking.  Deli hammered away at the positive aspects of going public.

Says Beals, "Frankly, had anybody but Steve Deli come in with these numbers we would have thought he was crazy. But since Steve had delivered the goods in the past, we trusted his judgment."

That trust was well-placed. When the results were in, the Harley-Davidson offering in June 1986 had raised $25 million more than Steve Deli had projected: $20 million in stock and $70 million in subordinated debt--on the same or better terms. Harley-Davidson was officially listed on the American Stock Exchange in June 1986 (one year later it moved to the New York Stock Exchange).