Benny Suggs Named Alumni Association Executive Director

April 29, 2010
By Chris Richter

Benny SuggsRalph “Benny” E. Suggs ’69, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (ret.) and general manager of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) and Rider Services at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., has been named executive director of the NC State Alumni Association, Vice Chancellor Nevin Kessler announced today.

Suggs was the College of Humanities and Social Sciences 2006 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. He has also served on the General Hugh Shelton Leadership Initiative Board of Advisors at the university for the past eight years.

“We’re thrilled that Benny Suggs is returning to the university he has loved and supported over the years,” Alumni Association President Dennis Howard ’67 said. “He epitomizes the leadership and public service commitment graduates of NC State are known for throughout the nation.”

As general manager of the Harley Owners Group, Suggs is responsible for managing an organization with 1.2 million members worldwide. He manages all rider-training programs sponsored by Harley-Davidson as well as authorized rentals worldwide. He has a full-time staff of 60 and thousands of volunteers around the world.

“Benny has been responsible for the growth and success of the Harley Owners Group through some very challenging times,” Kessler said. “His efforts to enhance the experience and engagement of Harley-Davidson riders with the company will translate directly to his leadership of the Alumni Association. He will be able to help us engage a larger number of alumni with the university and build those lifelong bonds that are so important to NC State.”

Suggs served for 30 years in the U.S. Navy and was deputy commander in chief, U.S. Special Operations Command, upon his retirement in 2000. He also served as commander of Carrier Group Six/John C. Stennis Battle Group and was director for Operations, Plans and Policy, U.S. Atlantic Fleet where he was responsible for the training and deployment preparations of more than 175,000 personnel.

A Navy aviator, Suggs earned his Naval Aviation Wings in 1971. He has received the Defense Meritorious and Distinguished Service medals, five Legion of Merit medals and two Navy Commendation medals.

“My wife, Kellie, and I are thrilled to be returning to North Carolina and to my alma mater. It truly is ‘Red & White for Life’ in this family,” he said.

The Alumni Association engages more than 175,000 university alumni through programs and services that foster pride and enhance a lifelong connection to NC State.

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9 Responses to “Benny Suggs Named Alumni Association Executive Director”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NC State Alumni. NC State Alumni said: Benny Suggs Named Alumni Association Executive Director: Ralph “Benny” E. Suggs ’69, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy … http://bit.ly/95UBmB #ncsu […]

  2. Roland W. "Buzz" Ude says:

    NC State is getting an outstanding leader. I have worked with Benny @ HD, there are none better. Harley is loosing one excellent gentleman. Benny had the “knac” to motovate all he rubbed elbows with, a very infectious smile, engertic enthusiastic attitude, and lets get it done now spirit. I wish Benny the best.

  3. joe dyer says:

    please pass to realph suggs.

    benny, glad to see you back at ncsu! very best wishes! great article in alumni magazine.

    vr, joe

    Joe Dyer
    President, Government & industrial Division
    iRobot Corporation
    8 Crosby Drive, M/S 8-2, Bedford, MA 01730
    http://www.irobot.com
    jdyer@irobot.com
    Office – 781-430-3000
    Direct – 781-430-3361
    Cell – 410-610-2935

  4. Renee Owens says:

    Many, many thanks for your naval service and continuing service to our country. You are an inspiration.

    Proud daughter of a WWII and Korea Naval veteran
    Proud aunt of PFC Chase Edwards, USMC, KIA 06Apr2006, Iraq

  5. Victoria Jones says:

    Benny Suggs is one of the most awesome, patriotic and caring men in America. Love you Admiral Suggs!!

  6. JEFF COSTIGAN says:

    SERVED UNDER ADM. SUGGS WHEN HE WAS CAPTAIN OF THE USS AMERICA IN THE MID 1990s. NEVER KNEW HIM PERSONALLY BUT WHAT I COULD TELL HE RAN A PRETTY TIGHT SHIP. WELL, BEST OF LUCK WITH YOUR CAREER WITH HARLEY DAVIDSON. JEFF COSTIGAN.

  7. Cindy Laatsch says:

    I worked with Benny when he was at Harley-Davidson Motor Company in Milwaukee.
    Benny – nice photo of you on the Harley!

    I can tell you that there are none better than Benny – as a boss, friend or leader.

  8. AngelaToth says:

    I served under “Captain” Benny Suggs on board the USS San Diego while deployed to the Persian Gulf. Captain Suggs is a remarkable man who always put the crew first above all else. I worked on the Signal Bridge directly above the bridge and Captain Suggs. I got to know him pretty well and he always cared about his crew. Sierra Hotel Benny!!!!!!

  9. William Moore says:

    Congrats Rear Admiral Suggs,

    I was a seaman and served during your command on-board the now decommissioned USS San Diego. Good to hear things are going well for you.

    Good luck.

    William Moore

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