VANCOUVER, British Columbia (BRAIN) — Jim Harman, the retired CEO and president of Norco Products, died Saturday from complications following a stroke. He was 69.
Harman joined Norco Bicycles — now part of Live to Play Sports — in 1977 in Winnipeg, where he set up Norco's distribution center. He later moved to the West Coast and to Norco's head office in Burnaby as a buyer for Norco's bike assembly plant there. He became a vice president in 1995 and president in 2000. He retired in 2009.
Jim always carried himself with dignity and class — John Williams
"Early on his warmth and listening skills established Jim more than just a well-liked colleague and partner, but a natural leader among staff and vendors alike," a company statement released Wednesday said.
Live to Play president John Williams said, “Jim always carried himself with dignity and class and he kindled a culture of generosity through fostering relationships with all that he touched. He will be sorely missed but to know him meant a deep, personal friendship that lasted a lifetime. He touched many and our staff at LTP have many fond memories and his spirit will carry on through all of us.”
In a 2007 interview with BRAIN (.pdf), Harman spoke about Norco's recent entry into the U.S. market and said the bike industry was well positioned for the future.
"With the increasing demand for environmentally sustainable transportation and recreational options, I don’t think the bike business ever occupied as unique and enviable position as it does today," he told BRAIN.
Harman supported Norco's deep involvement with competition, bike advocacy and other causes, including support for a Canadian BMX team that was the foundation for today's Norco Factory Race Team.
During his time at Norco, the company became the first to design and manufacture mountain bikes in Canada, and one of the first brands worldwide to offer complete bikes designed around front suspension.
In retirement Harman continued to ride bikes regularly, golfed and participated in local charitable organizations.
He is survived by his wife Polly, daughter Maren, son Quinn and 14-month-old grandson, Jack James Harman. In lieu of flowers, the Harman family requested that donations be made in Harman's name to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
A celebration of life will be held at 1 pm Saturday, January 19, at the Maple Ridge Alliance Church, 20399 Dewdney Trunk Road, Maple Ridge, British Columbia.