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Powersports and Relationship Management

Powersports and Relationship Management

Posted by Joel Kneedler on

The Spirit of Adventure

If you said Groove Life was launched through a spirit of adventure, you’d be right.

In fact, our founder, Peter Goodwin, says, “Adventure is essential to the soul.” So, naturally, those attracted to adventure are attracted to Groove Life.

Enter Susan Kochy.

No stranger to adventure

Susie is Groove Life’s Director of Human Resources. But don’t let her calm demeanor fool you.

Susie and her husband Jeff Kochy owned a powersports business in Middlefield, Ohio, for over 25 years before moving to Tennessee.

“Jeff is a lifelong outdoor adventure fanatic, so our three boys grew up around powersports, riding ATVs, snowmobiles, and jet skis,” said Susie.

Jeff Kochy’s love for outdoor sports was so strong he started his own company, Shade Tree Powersports.

“His title was Chief Powersports Enthusiast,” says Susie.

At Shade Tree, Jeff built a powersports catalog business on a complete line of popular powersport vehicles including major brands like Kawasaki, Honda, Polaris, Skidoo, Yamaha, Suzuki and more. He sold parts and accessories for ATVs, dirt bikes, motorcycles, snowmobiles, jet skis, and sea-doos.

Anything you could ride on or off-road, they sold.

He reached customers with a robust catalog they sent to a thriving mailing list. As Shade Tree continued to grow, Jeff approached Susie—an elementary school teacher at the time—about taking on the operations and human resources responsibilities.

“I wore many hats at Shade Tree, one of which was overseeing HR.”

Jet Skis and Snowmobiles

And when you’re the owner of a powersports business well, you gotta try ‘em out at some point. And that they did. Susie and Jeff took their kids on all kinds of outdoor adventures over the years.

“Yes, we loved taking the kids on adventures, both during the summer and winter,” said Susie. 

Summers were spent on the lake waterskiing, tubing, and riding jet skis. And when they weren’t on the water, the boys loved riding motorcycles.

In the winter, the Kochys enjoyed playing in the snow, skiing and snowmobiling.

Welcome to Groove Life

With their boys all grown up, and a desire to experience warmer weather, Jeff and Susie eventually sold Shade Tree Powersports and made a move to Tennessee.

Her introduction to Groove Life would take place at a Gala Event benefiting The Well Outreach, a local charitable food pantry.

“Matt Mitchell spoke that night about Groove’s support of The Well. About a month later I was beginning a new job search and remembered Matt’s words about Groove,'' said Susie.

“I went to the website to learn more about the company and, lo and-behold, there was a job posting for an HR Manager. I applied and the rest is history!”

The Culture

Much of the culture at Groove Life stems directly from our founder, Peter Goodwin, Chief Energetic Officer.

“Peter’s passion for people and adventure is seen in his desire to keep the workplace fun and exciting,” said Susie. “Yet, he is always striving for excellence.”

Adventurous people are hard working, but not a stuffy corporate shirt. As a young ecommerce company, many situations require creative solutions. You kinda have to operate like MacGyver. Even when you don’t have all the resources at your disposal, you find a way to make it happen.

An adventurous person is also a generous person, which is what Susie noticed that evening at the gala. Groove Life’s commitment to giving. 

The People

Today, Susie runs the HR department at Groove and, again, is wearing many hats. Part camp director, part chief of staff, the modern human resources director has a tough job.

“HR is responsible for balancing the needs of the company with the needs of the employee,” said Susie.

So while Susie stays up-to-date on the latest requirements from SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), she also spends a lot of time counseling and advising people. 

“While there is still a compliance piece to what I do, relationship management is what I love.”


She has also overseen the tremendous growth at Groove Life.

What began as a small start-up with a handful of people working out of Peter’s house has blossomed into a multi-million dollar business employing over 250 people. Groove also employs folks in Utah and the Philippines. 

“The growth certainly presents challenges when it comes to hiring,” said Susie, “especially right now with unemployment so low. But Groove has a way of attracting the right people.”

Finally, when asked what makes the culture at Groove Life special, Susie responded, “By far, the people. There is a kindness, genuine caring, and family feeling among all the staff.”

Susie Kochy is a big part of that culture and a primary reason Groove remains an adventurous, fun place to work.

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