Mr. Johnson has worked on off-road vehicles his entire life, including the creation and development of the UTVs at Polaris.
Having grown up at Polaris he worked there from the time he was a boy sweeping floors and filling bolt bins.
David Johnson (Mitchell’s father) and uncles Edgar & Allen Hetteen started Polaris in the 1950’s. Soon there after, David created the first Polaris snowmobile. At first the machine was not well received; Edgar viewed it as a waste of time. David knew that eventually Edgar would come around – and he did.
But David immediately found the machine to be a great deal of fun. So much so that he drove it home in January of 1956 and let his oldest boy take it for a spin. He was just six years old then, but Mitchell was hooked. He was one of the first to ride the new machine. Mitchell’s been riding Polaris products ever since.
To get his mechanical engineering degree, Mitchell reluctantly had to leave Roseau, but returned to work in several engineering positions at Polaris from Project Engineer on all products to ATV Engineering Manager.
It was Mitchell who developed the Polaris ATV “On Demand” four wheel drive system.
Several of Polaris’ major products were developed under Mitchell’s direction at Polaris, including the Sportsman ATV, RANGER Utility Vehicle and Youth ATV product lines.
In 1996 Mitchell became General Manager of the ATV Division moving to Polaris corporate headquarters in Minneapolis. He worked there 5 years growing the ATV business to nearly one billion in annual revenue.
In 2001, Mitchell moved back to Roseau and has been involved in engineering support for all the Polaris product lines.
When he’s not working Mitchell enjoys off-road exploring and adventures, singing tenor as a soloist, back country snowmobile expeditions, hunting and fishing and of course, spending time with his family: Wife Dawn and his children David, Anne and Laura.
Today Mitchell is excited by working with each SVI customer to find the right application of technology to make a specialized off-road vehicle that makes their goals a reality.