WTC Welcomes New Select Committee Members

SEMA Member News—September/October 2011

WTC Welcomes New Select Committee Members

     
Kelly Austin of Ultra Wheel Co. believes in volunteering and has served on the WTC Select Committee for the last eight years—two of them as chairman.
 
Hank Feldman of Performance Plus Tire adds extensive retail experience to the WTC as he enters his first term. 
         
Select Committees are elected by the members of their councils to serve two-year terms. They participate in monthly conference calls and meetings that are held at various trade events throughout the year. Each Select Committee member volunteers for at least 20 hours throughout the year, and some volunteer even more. Some share their experience and vision; some provide creative solutions to challenges their member companies face; others get their hands dirty and get it done. Each Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) Select Committee member is supported by his or her company in the council’s efforts. For that we say “thank you” to those companies!

Hank Feldman is president of Performance Plus Tire, a 40-year-old family business in Long Beach, California. Feldman has spent his entire career with the business. He has extensive knowledge in the retail tire and custom wheel industry, bringing a different perspective to the council. He is creative and a forward thinker, with lots of enthusiasm and great ideas. He decided to get involved in order to ensure that the retail segment of the industry was represented and to help the WTC develop a stronger voice within SEMA.

“The council must address some of the current challenges we face in keeping our products relevant and exciting to the younger generation that seems to be fixated with iPods and iPads,” he said. “I would also like to see more training specific to the custom
wheel industry.”

In his free time, Feldman enjoys running, boating, spending time with family, community service and, as a self-professed workaholic, working at Performance Plus Tire.

   
Bob Riegel (foreground) of Bridgestone/Firestone is a past Select Committee member and was a founding member of the group that developed the SEMA Z5 certification program. 
     
Bob Riegel of Bridgestone/Firestone is a past Select Committee member and was a founding member of the group that developed the SEMA Z5 certification program. Riegel has been in the automotive industry (both OE and aftermarket) for more than 35 years and has been with Bridgestone for 20. In addition to the tire industry, Riegel has been involved with various Porsche programs, ranging from dealership parts marketing at Stoddard Imported Cars to serving as district parts manager for Porsche Cars North America.

“Working within a SEMA council allows me to give something back and target industry members who look for advice,” he said.

With renewed support from his employer, Riegel plans to participate at more meetings and intends to further expand the education experience of members to help them take better care of their retail customers while growing profitable businesses. He is a self-confirmed under-the-nails gearhead who feels fortunate to earn a living within the industry that also fuels his hobby.

Riegel participated in the SCCA PRO rally as an organizer and competitor but grew up on the short tracks of the Midwest. He has recently been restoring a vintage Fiat Spider, mostly for touring with the Chicagoland Fiat/Lancia club.

Riegel has been married for 20 years and, together with his wife, has nurtured a growing enjoyment of local wines discovered during their travels.

Kelly Austin of Ultra Wheel Co. has worked in the wheel and tire industry for the better part of 25 years. Over that time, Austin has worked at many levels of the wheel business (retail through manufacturing) and attributes his success in and understanding of the wheel and tire segment to that experience. Austin believes in volunteering and has served on the WTC Select Committee for the last eight years—two of them as chairman.

“I hope to be able to continue to contribute to WTC and help other companies as SEMA has helped me,” he said.

Austin feels that the WTC communicates the best industry information on the highest level and helps improve the industry overall. He enjoys sports, racing and being with family in his spare time.

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