Much like the constant excitement and challenges motorcyclists face, Aria Minu-Sepehr will experience similar sentiments during his new role as director of the TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program. With 20 years of experience in education and management, Aria assumes his new role after serving as the organization’s training manager.
And he is ready for his new role in the organization. TEAM OREGON fosters a unique institutional culture that generates camaraderie and good will among instructors, students and staff, he says, adding that he finds inspiration in the synergy, which encourages instructors to put their hearts into their work and empowers students to face dangers associated with the sport.
“We face many new and exciting challenges in the field of motorcycle training,” Aria says. “As director of the premier motorcycle education program in the nation, what excites me most is that we – TEAM OREGON and OSU – have all the right tools and resources to solve some of the most perplexing issues facing us. I’m also excited to be able to meet the growing demand for training throughout Oregon and to know that no one else can match what we offer.”
Aria is stepping into his new role with the departure of the program’s current director, Steve Garets, who will step down at the end of June. Steve has served TEAM OREGON for his entire 32-year tenure at Oregon State University. Steve’s future plans will bring him closer to those who mean the most to him. And allow him to ride for fun.
“You get into a rhythm running a motorcycle program, much like the rhythm of an academic year. I’m looking forward to creating a new rhythm – spending time with friends and family, and using my motorcycle more to convey fun and fascination than to arrive at a function,” Steve says. “It’s all about the journey – and I’m looking forward to making more journeys.”
As Steve hands the reigns to Aria, he knows that TEAM OREGON is in good hands. He says that Aria’s approach to leadership is calm, collaborative, nurturing and insightful.
“Aria brings a rich and diverse background and skillset to the director’s position. He is well acquainted with the TEAM OREGON culture, motorcycling and the motorcycle community,” Steve says. “He’s ridden since youth, served as a TEAM OREGON instructor for 10 years and staffed the training manager position for the past year. That position is responsible for overseeing our statewide instructor population – 200 strong. I’m excited to see the gains TEAM OREGON will achieve under Aria’s leadership.”
As a training manager, Aria supervised 1,000 courses each year. As director, his duties will expand to overseeing training, including infrastructure and administration. He will also maintain close relationships with the organization’s broad alliance of stakeholders, contribute to policy and represent Oregon on the national stage. For Aria, it’s a dream job that involves an equilibrium that comes with riding motorcycles.
“Motorcycles involve a balance – between inherent risk and risk mitigation, between visceral pleasure and dispassionate judgment, between symbolic freedom to ride and self-imposed constraints against riding,” Aria says. “As a motorcyclist, your life depends on your successful handling of these contradictions, and there is very little room for error. These opposing forces and the exactitude they require are what draw me to the sport. And just when you think you’ve got the perfect balance, something happens on the road that forces you to remember humility.”
In addition to his new role, Aria also lectures on Middle East politics and is an award-winning author. He enjoys mountain biking, art, literature and writing. He also caught the aviation bug from his father who was a jet pilot and aerobatic team leader. He says that although there are no supersonic jets in his life, he pretends with radio control planes.
As Aria leans into this new curve in his career, he has the experience, the passion and the leadership to keep TEAM OREGON soaring into the future.