Don’t Let the Shipping Logistics Intimidate You
Top 10 Stories From Our Archives
What Has SEMA Done For You Lately?
Last week's Exhibitor Education Summit included more than 175 exhibitors who were presented with an in-depth look at the programs and services in place to increase SEMA Show ROI.
Held in Las Vegas and hosted by experienced staff who know first-hand how to best navigate the Show, the Summit program is designed to connect exhibitors with key individuals and provide a range of resources that will improve exhibitor performance. Sessions featured during the Summit included how to save on material handling, using social media to expand market reach, creating a plan and budget to add value, exploring sponsorship opportunities, and more.
In addition to the classroom-style sessions, exhibitors were able to sit down in one-on-one sessions where Show experts analyzed the exhibitor's needs to help reduce expenses. This approach provides staff with the opportunity to explain the ins and outs of the programs and how to best take advantage of what's available, whether the company is a SEMA Show veteran or a first-time Showgoer.
Exhibitor participation in many programs and services has increased each year of the Summit since its inception in 2010. To provide additional value to the Summit and make it less of a hassle for manufacturers, SEMA and its hotel partners provide a number of hotel rooms at no cost to participants. All meals are provided as well.
For those Show exhibitors who could not attend the event, videos of the Summit's educational sessions will be made available in the near future online. Stay tuned to SEMA eNews for availability.
Also held during this year's Summit was SEMA's General Membership Meeting—an annual gathering that updates the membership as to recent association initiatives and highlights the events, services and programs that the association provides. The meeting was conducted by SEMA President Chris Kersting and Chairman of the Board Paul "Scooter" Brothers.
For more information on the 2012 SEMA Show, Tuesday–Friday, October 30–November 2, visit www.SEMAShow.com.
The Summit is presented by staff who know first-hand how to best navigate the SEMA Show, and helps exhibitors take advantage of resources to improve Show ROI.
Oscar Goodman, former mayor of Las Vegas from 1999–2011, welcomes Summit participants and helps to kick off the event with a little Vegas style.
SEMA Show Director Tom Gattuso explains how to best navigate the Show's online Exhibitor Services manual to develop a game plan for Show deadlines and to take advantage of the money- and time-saving programs available to exhibitors.
SEMA Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray provides attendees with an overview of the Summit, an educational event designed to connect exhibitors with key individuals and provide practical insights into the Show.
In addition to providing cost-saving tips for exhibitors, the Summit is a valuable opportunity to get to know the SEMA staff. Above, SEMA's Zane Clark talks with Lori Diehl of Cimble Corp.
SEMA's International and Government Relations Director Linda Spencer (middle), Senior Vice President Bill Miller (right) and Rick Trudo of SCT Performance LLC take a few seconds to smile for the camera.
Participants are also able to sit down in one-on-one sessions during the Summit, where Show experts evaluate and analyze the exhibitor's unique needs to help reduce expenses. In addition, exhibitors are also offered a tour of the convention center.
SEMA's annual general membership meeting was held in conjunction with the Summit. SEMA President Chris Kersting and Chairman of the Board Paul "Scooter" Brothers provided members with an update on recent association initiatives and an overview of the services, benefits and programs SEMA provides.
Hotel representatives were on hand to simplify Show hotel arrangements and offer discounts to those who booked early.
To make it easy and affordable for companies to attend the Summit, SEMA and its hotel partners provided a limited number of hotel rooms at no cost. All meals were provided for attendees as well.
2011 SEMA Person of the Year John Menzler gets ready to open the gates at last year's Pinewood Drag Races, presented by eBay Motors.
Proceeds from the races benefit the Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp charities. Childhelp assists abused and neglected children by providing counseling and programs in a safe and secure living environment. Victory Junction Camps provide the camp experience for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses who otherwise would not be able to go to camp.
Sponsoring a SEMA Cares Pinewood Drag Race car is easy and rewarding. Please help a child in need today.
Featuring an elaborate paint job from the Custom Shop in Flanagan, Illinois, Jerry Calder’s 2011 SS Camaro was named a winner in the 2011 SEMA Award Consumer Challenge.
A stunning tribal graphic paint job, with matching Foose wheels and custom flip-forward hood, was enough to make Jerry Calder’s 2011 SS Camaro a winner in the 2011 SEMA Award Consumer Challenge.
Calder’s Camaro was chosen based on those and other modifications, as outlined in his web video, which has thousands of views. Calder was one of several dozen contestants who submitted videos of their current-generation vehicles in order to be considered for prizes that included credentials and amenities to attend the trade-only Show.
The contest was open to registered, street-legal customized current-generation vehicles, as outlined in the SEMA Award contender list.
The Calder Camaro’s paint job, by John Wargo at the Custom Shop in Flanagan, Illinois, has more than 28 colors, including pearl and candy colors, with snakeskin effects. The interlinked tribal graphics, which extend from exterior to the interior, took more than 189 hours to apply. Smooth to the touch, the layers of paint were clear-coated, sanded and then cleared again.
A Ground Effects custom wing, Foose wheels painted to match and billet grilles are other custom touches gracing the exterior. The hood mounts were re-engineered so the hood flips forward. A Chevy bowtie and skull are among the design elements visible among flames airbrushed onto the hood surface.
The hood, which re-engineered so that it flips forward, features the Chevrolet bowtie and a skull as dynamic design elements.
Street-legal performance has been added through the use of a ZEX nitrous system, Flowmaster cat-back exhaust and Brembo Brake system with drilled and slotted rotors.
The interior has received custom suede seat coverings that match the copper paint elements, which extend into the interior through the doorjambs and flow across the dash panels. Inside the trunk are two Sony 1200 amps powering a custom sound system.
The car will be in full view at the 2012 SEMA Show when it starts October 30, 2012, and owner Jerry Calder, of Lexington, South Carolina, will be in attendance. Check out the winning video.
Now's your chance to nominate the best young talent in the automotive aftermarket industry for recognition in SEMA News and on www.sema.org.
SEMA News is searching for the best young talent in the automotive aftermarket industry and we need your input.
We're asking for help finding young leaders who are less than 35 years old. They might be working anywhere in the automotive aftermarket business, including manufacturing and design, retail, events and media or distribution.
They could be budding superstars at an established company, entrepreneurs building their own brands, or innovators who have launched companies that are sure to become big names in the future. What they all will have in common are fresh ideas, enthusiasm, charisma and the drive to succeed. 2012 Nominations are now closed; however, you can Nominate for 2013.
Winners will be chosen based on their business success, contribution to their organization, industry knowledge and community involvement. We'll honor the winners in the September issue of SEMA News and on www.sema.org.
Nominate now. Nominations are due May 1, 2013.
The 2012 SEMA Annual Market Report—which includes sales for specialty-equipment segments and niches, consumer purchase patterns, vehicle sales trends and more—is available free of charge to SEMA members.
The 2012 Annual Market Report, outlining the overall specialty-equipment market, is now available on the research page of SEMA’s website.
For the second straight year, the specialty-equipment market showed improvement. Overall 2011 sales grew 5% from 2010 to put the industry back into the $30 billion range.
The report includes:
- The overall size of the specialty-equipment market
- Sales within specialty-equipment segments and niches
- Consumer purchase patterns
- Industry and economic trends
- Vehicle sales trends
The Annual Market Report has long been one of SEMA’s most popular and useful reports. Whether you are new to the industry and working on a business plan, or a veteran interested in the latest data, this report is a great resource.
Download the 2012 SEMA Annual Market Report online. It is available free of charge for SEMA members, while non-SEMA members can purchase a copy for $250.
For questions regarding the report, contact email@example.com.
Robert Rester, 55, owner of Precision Grilles, passed away on Easter Sunday, April 8. He was surrounded by family and close friends at his home in Chino Hills, California, for the days and finally the evening of his death. Rester fought a vicious seven-year battle with bladder cancer.
Rester first started in the aftermarket industry with van conversions in the ’70s. Later, he went on to form Precision Grilles—a premier manufacturer of billet and mesh grilles for trucks and luxury cars.
He enjoyed boating on the Colorado River and Lake Powell, upland game hunting, fishing, bowling and family activities. He is survived by his wife Tricia, three daughters and a son.
A memorial service will be held April 15, at 2:00 p.m. at Memory Garden in Brea, California.
- SEMA manufacturing members are invited for a hands-on preview of the 2013 Audi allroad Quattro during an upcoming measuring session featuring the vehicle at Audi of America in Ontario, California.
The Ram's new 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine has up to 42% more horsepower, 13% more torque and 20% better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7L V6 powertrain, according to Dodge.
At the recent New York Auto Show, an all-new Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck took center stage. “We changed every area of the truck,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO of Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico for Chrysler Group LLC. The truck is expected to hit showrooms in the third quarter of this year.
The new Ram offers a choice between an award-winning 3.6L V6 and the 5.7L HEMI V8. The new 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award two years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers 305 hp, with 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The company estimates the improved engine contributes up to 42% more horsepower, 13% more torque and at least 20% better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7L V6 powertrain.
The 5.7L HEMI V8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 hp, 407 lb.-ft. of torque. Chrysler sources say that, due to a fuel-saving cylinder shut-off, it now delivers at least 20% better fuel economy when compared to 2012 V8 powertrain. Towing and payload numbers top out at 11,500 lbs. and 3,125 lbs. respectively, with Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty.
A class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8) is standard equipment with 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine. That doubles the amount of gears compared to the previously available four-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability and enhances fuel efficiency. 4x4 models will be available with a choice of two transfer cases, including a part-time system and an on-demand four-wheel-drive system.
In addition to more horsepower and added fuel economy, the new Ram carries a host of interior upgrades that enhance comfort and convenience, as well as state-of-the-art connectivity.
Another first in a pickup truck is the application of stop-start—a fuel-saving feature available on select ’13 Ram 1500 models. This new system improves fuel economy by up to 3.3%—an increase of about one mile-per-gallon to the truck’s city drive cycle. Stop-start increases fuel efficiency by shutting the engine off when the truck comes to a complete stop.
The ’13 Ram 1500 will be available with an all-new air suspension system featuring five height settings for optimum ride and aerodynamic performance. The feature operates automatically, or may be controlled manually via console or key fob controls.
The frame is all-new, and through use of advanced materials and hydroforming technology, saves weight. The standard front independent suspension combines new aluminum upper control arms and retuned geometry with coil springs for improved responsiveness and handling.
New exterior design cues include an all-new grille and fascia and improved quad projection headlamps. LED lighting is employed in the front turn signals and tail lamps.
A host of interior upgrades include enhanced comfort and convenience features, plus state-of-the-art connectivity.
The Ram 1500 will be offered with a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 3-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage.
SEMA News—April 2012
“If you’re going to grow an export business, you need every bit of help you can get,” advised Rick Trudo, president and CEO of SCT Performance. “If you fall into the trap of the duties and customs and everything else, you’re going to be paying an exorbitant amount of money that almost prohibits you from shipping overseas.”
The Florida-based manufacturer of Ford and GM tuning parts started its export program in 2007 and now ships up to 200 packages per day to an overseas market consisting of 26 countries in South America, the Middle East and Asia. According to Trudo, the biggest costs often come from non-compliance issues that delay shipments, including paperwork mistakes, wrong declaration price and wrong classification of what a product is.
Since 2004 Advanced Performance Parts has also been a heavy exporter of aftermarket parts to distributors, dealers and tuners in 60 countries worldwide. Jeremy Barras, company president, agrees that documentation is the most difficult aspect of exporting.
“Exporting itself, once you understand the paperwork needs, is not very difficult,” he said, noting that the biggest difference he’s found between foreign and domestic markets is one of scale. “In general, performance-business export customers tend to be much smaller than your typical aftermarket replacement parts distributors here.”
A simple Google search will reveal many freight forwarders. However, here are a few names dropped by the SEMA members interviewed for this story:
Legacy Supply Chain Services (Formerly Griffin)800-361-5028
Pilot Freight Services
Air/Ocean Freight Services
“If you export to any country worldwide, if you’re not taking payment in advance, you are entering a certain payment risk and, depending on the country, it becomes quite a large risk,” he asserted.
Rule number two is to stay above the law. According to Barras, there’s too much temptation, especially when you’re unfamiliar with exporting, to let foreign customers talk you into under-invoicing or otherwise skirting duty fees and value-added taxes. Thanks to modern technology and heightened security measures, however, authorities worldwide are in a far better position nowadays to enforce compliance.
On that front, Unz & Co. has served as an import/export compliance expert since 1879. Its Basic Guide to Exporting (available at www.unzco.com) lists four potential pitfalls for overseas shippers:
Packing: International shipping puts added demand on packaging. Especially when sent by cargo ship, product can be compromised by moisture and condensation; stacking, shifting and rough handling; and even pilfering. Whether shipped by pallet or container, product should be well protected, braced against stacking and as evenly weight-distributed as possible.
Labeling: Improperly labeled packages cause delays. Depending on destination, labeling requirements can differ widely. Package markings deal with everything from proper identification and handling to weights and measures as well as conformity with environmental, safety and other legal standards.
Documentation: Again, this is the biggest headache in the process. Bills of lading, commercial and consular invoices, certificates of origin, dock and warehouse receipts, declarations and licenses—the required documents go on and on, varying greatly from country to country.
Insurance: Terms of sale can place the burden of insurance on exporter or importer, and there are different types of coverage addressing method of shipment, loss, damage, delay, etc. Not surprisingly, international laws and agreements can affect liability based upon destination and other factors.
In short, doing everything right will breeze your cargo through customs. On the other hand, getting it wrong can quickly cost you time, money and the overseas business relationships you’ve so carefully cultivated. So where does a would-be global exporter go for help?
For more than a decade, Siriani has helped SEMA members save on their shipping logistics. While Siriani typically deals with companies shipping smaller quantities domestically, the company can also help connect higher-volume overseas exporters with an appropriate freight forwarder.
“We are a direct freight broker for the domestic part of the program,” explained Triina Turula, Siriana director of sales and marketing. “In the case of larger exports, we act as a consultant. The customer can call and tell us what they’re shipping, and we can tell them the best way to ship it. What we do is take their quotes—especially if it’s a larger quote—and put it out to our freight forwarders. We then send the best quotes that come back to the customer.”
Your chosen freight forwarder will then take possession of your shipment and arrange its transport by land, air and sea, shepherding it through customs. Traditionally, international freight forwarders are agents or companies that organize your shipments. They are not carriers themselves but coordinate the movement of your cargo by contracting with appropriate carriers. (Wikipedia dubs them “travel agents for the cargo industry.”)
“Most of our forwarders will handle the paperwork as part of their job,” added Turula. “There are still a lot of hoops you have to jump through, but when you work with the forwarder, they walk you through all that. Once the initial documentation is done, they handle it from then on.”
Depending upon the cargo and terms of contract, the forwarder may deliver your cargo to a hub or distribution center at or near a foreign port where your customer can take possession of it. Or the forwarder may also arrange “door-to-door” transportation to your customer. Sometimes your company will hire the forwarder; sometimes your customer will have their own.
Like many SEMA-member companies, off-road manufacturer Bushwacker relies on traditional freight forwarders to ship into South America, the Middle East, Australia, China and Europe.
“We had a choice to make,” explained Kenneth Merritt, the company’s vice president of OEM sales. “Either we could hire a full-time logistics person to manage the movement of the freight from point to point or use freight forwarders who take possession of the customer’s freight in the U.S. and manage the freight from that point forward.”
Bushwacker prepares all of the primary documentation, then delivers the product to an overseas hub within the continental U.S. A freight forwarder takes it from there, handling all of the insurance, logistics and additional export documentation required to deliver the shipment overseas, through customs and to the end customer.
For Bushwacker, freight forwarders offer an ideal logistical solution because they understand the culture, customs regulations and required documentation for any given country. They will also work with you to obtain the proper packaging and insurance for your cargo.
“We didn’t have to go into any specialized training,” Merritt said. “We haven’t had to go out looking for freight forwarders so far, because all the customers we’ve dealt with already have one that they’ve been working with.”
UPS WorldshipYour shipping consultant will also advise you in the design and labeling of packaging that stands up to varied transportation methods and customs requirements.
“When you think of UPS, traditionally you think of the brown truck, but UPS has evolved over the last 100-plus years,” explained Kristin DeBates, UPS corporate marketing manager for the automotive segment. “When we talk about international, we ship small packages, we ship international air freight, we offer ocean freight—and all of those services come with the tracking that customers have known and enjoyed with the carrier. They also come with shipping solutions that help facilitate not only the creation of labeling but any of the international documentation that’s required.”
Those solutions include a suite of software that gives the customer virtually complete oversight of invoices, estimates of duties and taxes, shipping and tracking.
“We’ve got the tools that help you create the information as well as the relationships with customs to help send that information electronically so that your packages are pre-cleared before they actually arrive in the destination country,” said Debates, who believes that an integrated carrier like UPS offers several advantages over traditional freight forwarders, especially for lower-volume exporters. “Integrated carriers own their own assets, where freight forwarders are typically brokers identifying available space [on planes and ships].”
Moreover, an integrated carrier is frequently more “scale-able” and can handle everything from small package delivery to door-to-door freight shipment that can bypass distribution centers, often delivering significant savings through combined domestic and overseas programs. (The complete UPS worldwide services were detailed in “An Automotive Opportunity,” SEMA News, October 2011, pp. 128-129.)
FedEx Trade Networks
Like UPS, Federal Express (FedEx) offers a variety of logistics programs addressing the diverse export needs of small and medium businesses, no matter the shipment size (i.e., full container or less). According to the company’s press materials, its top-of-the-line program, Trade Networks, provides volume exporters with worldwide freight forwarding services by “whatever modes and carriers most effectively support your cost and scheduling needs.” The program integrates international freight forwarding, customs brokerage and trade and customs advisory services, and it is designed to “replace the traditional maze of multiple distribution channels” for both air and sea shipments.
A small aftermarket business that’s new to the complexities of export logistics will especially appreciate FedEx’s Electronic Trade Document program, which includes hands-on customer education in the filing of customs documents electronically.
“The way they set it up for you, truthfully, you can take someone off the street and teach them to do it overnight,” said Trudo, whose company recently turned to the FedEx model. “FedEx will install all of the equipment, software, paperwork, everything, and will train everyone and be here for the first two weeks of every shipment we do at their cost.”
Thanks to this system, one in-house person at SCT can oversee all of the company’s international shipping.
“With everyone we ship to, we ship direct to their facilities, and we’ve done our homework on duties and tariffs. We know our way around [logistics] and what’s the best and most cost-effective way to do things,” Trudo explained.
Plus, to save further costs, SCT has standardized its packaging to meet the requirements of every destination it ships to.
The point is, with a slow-recovering economy at home, many specialty-equipment manufacturers are finding growth in new markets abroad. While shipping globally certainly has its share of pitfalls, Bushwacker, SCT Performance and Advanced Performance Parts have all realized success through the variety of resources available. From integrated carriers, to freight brokers, to freight forwarders, the solutions are ready and waiting. Despite the intimidation factor, exporting your aftermarket parts globally may just be easier than you think.
Daryl Green, 2008 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund recipient, has already received design patents for several product designs at Retro USA. His advice for students seeking a career in the auto industry: Be honest with yourself regarding skills and narrow your choices based on what you like doing.
Through the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund (SMSF), the association helps prepare the next generation of the automotive workforce for today's competitive market through financial assistance for students attending various universities, colleges, and/or vocational schools in the United States. In fact, the fund has yielded more than $1.5 million in scholarships since 1984.
While the deadline to submit applications for the 2012 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund has passed, the association continues to catch up with past scholarship recipients to see what is happening in their burgeoning automotive careers. SEMA's Education Institute (SEI) recently interviewed 2008 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund recipient Daryl Green, who is currently working at Retro USA as a design engineer.
Green shared some details about his current position, which includes receiving design patents for several of Retro USA's products, and provided his plans for future education and offered advice for students who may be beginning their careers in the auto industry.
"Working in the automotive industry has been a tremendous experience. The opportunities are endless, and you get to work with great people who share the same passions for cars as you do," said Green. "I am looking forward to continuing to be a part of this industry."
Here are some more of Green's thoughts on the industry, opportunities for students and where he received his inspiration.
SEMA Education Institute: What influences in your childhood led you to pursue an education in Automotive Engineering Technology?
Daryl Green: My father has to be the most substantial influence on me pursuing a career in this field. My father had a small collection of classic cars, and he had a ’64 Dodge that he drag raced. I spent many weekends as a child at car shows and at the drag strip. I developed a strong passion for cars early in my life. As I grew, so did my passion for cars. For my first job, I was a general technician at a local tire shop. When I was 16, I began drag racing my first car, which was a ’00 Camaro. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the automotive industry, but I wasn't sure where to start. After looking at several schools specializing in different areas of the automotive field, I discovered the Automotive Engineering Technology program at Minnesota State University – Mankato. The program offered courses covering everything from automotive repair to engine thermodynamics to chassis design. The course also included key topics such as CAD design, technical communication and computer programming, all of which are essential for a career in this industry.
SEMA Education Institute: We understand that you received design patents and several awards, including those from SEMA. What were the design patents and awards for? What were the SEMA awards for?
Daryl Green: I've received design patents for several of our products. Our products are very unique from both a design and styling aspect. We have received two awards from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The first award we received was the gold award in Heavy Gauge Thermoforming, which is the process we use to manufacture our Chrome-Tech Bumpers. Our most prestigious award was the 2010 Automotive Innovation Award. The award was presented to us for the most innovative use of plastics in the Performance and Customization category. Being a start-up company and being new to the industry myself, made this award special. In 2010 we received a SEMA global media award. We were also proud to be part of the SEMA Award for Hottest Car, which has been awarded to the Camaro the past two years. Our Camaro products have always been well represented at the SEMA Show.
SEMA Education Institute: What are you currently working on now at Retro USA?
Daryl Green: We are always working to improve the products that we offer. Since we are using fairly new manufacturing processes, we are always breaking new ground by finding new methods to improve quality and efficiency. We are also exploring designs for other vehicles to expand our product line. We are currently developing designs for the ’10–’12 Mustangs, as well as designs for the new ’13 Mustang.
SEMA Education Institute: Do you plan to continue your higher education?
Daryl Green: Since graduating college I have taken several classes for CAD design. CAD design is the focus of my work here at Retro USA, and I am always looking to improve the skills that I learned in college. I also plan to take classes to learn new skills that would be beneficial to my work. I'm a big believer in self-education and am always looking for new books and other material to dive into. You should never underestimate what you can teach yourself. When you work for a small company, you are tasked in all areas of the business and continuing education is essential.
SEMA Education Institute: What advice would you give to a student applying for scholarships now?
Daryl Green: I would tell students to take advantage of all of the education opportunities that your school has to offer. These opportunities may be elective classes, clubs, or projects that your school is involved in. Spend time with your instructors and professors. They always have more to offer you than what's taught in the classroom alone. Also, if your school is involved in any of the SAE projects, such as Formula, Baja or Snowmobile, I would strongly recommend that you join. The SAE projects offer a tremendous amount of education and experience. Employers in the automotive industry actively will seek out students involved in SAE programs.
SEMA Education Institute: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to pursue an education/career in the automotive industry?
Daryl Green: If you are looking to pursue a career in the automotive field, you will most likely find yourself thinking as I did, "Where do I start?" There are a variety of different fields that you can pursue, such as automotive repair, engineering, sales and media. Ask yourself what your skills are and what you enjoy doing. Once you have narrowed your sights on a possible field, find an employer or someone who works in that field. They can give you the best insight on what education and experience you are expected to have. I recommend that current and future students take time to visit the SEMA Show. The Show is a great place to see what the industry is all about and a good place to meet people in the industry.
Are you hunting for a new job? The “Positions Available” section in the SEMA Member Classifieds lists more than 50 job openings around the country. Here are some of the latest classifieds posted to the website.
- Malco Products, Inc., located in Barberton, Ohio, is hiring an automotive national sales manager to develop and implement a three-year plan to increase growth through the company's existing distribution network and identify new growth opportunities. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 10 years' sales management experience. Business experience in the automotive reconditioning industry or PB&E industry is a plus.
- Schumacher Auto Group, located in West Palm Beach, Florida, is hiring an aftermarket sales associate to sell aftermarket and OEM accessories. The successful candidate will have knowledge of aftermarket and OEM accessories and a good track record of sales success.
Izmocars, located in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is hiring a business development and sales manager. This individual should have entrepreneurial skills and posses high energy and passion for providing solutions to the aftermarket accessory businesses. Applicants must have a minimum of 10 years of experience in the vehicle aftermarket accessory industry and be willing to travel.
- Legacy Classic Trucks, located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is hiring a technician/mechanic with a minimum of 10 years' experience. The successful candidate must be comfortable with one-off fabrication, including cutting, welding and basic tooling. Skills required are chassis/fab, engine swaps, diesel engines, brakes, electrical wiring, suspension and diagnostic and repair.
More automotive job listings.
New Products & Technology
While it has been teased "officially" by Audi, say the shooters at Brenda Priddy & Co., here is the updated Audi R8 spotted out in the open. It will make its official debut at the Paris Motor Show later this year.
The exterior modification will be limited to new LED headlights, a slightly revised grille and new taillights with different positions of the LEDs. The R8 will continue to be powered by the V8 and V10 engines; however, the sequential gearbox will be replaced by the DSG unit.
Photo: Copyright Brenda Priddy & Co.
Law & Order
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued its policies and procedures for issuance of titles and specialty license plates to vehicle owners seeking registration as street rods or custom vehicles. The policy also provides for a basic safety equipment inspection to be performed by an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) master technician. These procedures were drafted pursuant to the 2011 enactment into law of SEMA-model legislation.
Originally slated to go into effect September 1, 2011, the new law defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The law also allows for the use of non-original materials and creates a titling and registration criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble. In addition, the law only holds street rods, customs and replicas to the equipment standards specified by law during the model year listed on the title of the vehicle.
Unfortunately, due to a flawed interpretation of the law by the DMV, all vehicles seeking registration as street rods and custom vehicles must carry a title with a “Replica” brand—even those vehicles altered from original steel bodies. According to the DMV, any changes to that policy must be provided to the agency through amendments to the law. SEMA is currently in the process of contacting members of the Texas Legislature to seek additional legislation to correct this flaw. The Texas legislature does not meet for a regular 2012 session, requiring legislation to be introduced in 2013. In the meantime, the new polices should accommodate owners of replica street rods and custom vehicles.
The DMV’s Policy and Procedure bulletin, in addition to frequently asked questions (FAQs) document and license plate application form, is available on the Texas DMV's website. The application and FAQs are listed as "attachments" below the subject line.
For more information, contact Steve McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2010, Massachusetts enacted into law a version of SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods, custom vehicles, replicas and specially constructed vehicles. The law defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. Replica vehicles are defined as being assembled by a non-manufacturer from new or used parts that replicate an earlier year, make and model vehicle. Specially constructed vehicles are those reconstructed or assembled by a non-manufacturer from new or used parts that have an exterior that does not replicate or resemble any other manufactured vehicle. The bill allows replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing both the year in which the vehicle was built and the make, model and year of the vehicle intended to be replicated.
The law also provides that specially constructed and replica vehicles, which are registered on or before April 30, 2012, are completely exempt from emissions inspection requirements. However, specially constructed and replica vehicles registered after April 30, 2012, are subject to emissions control requirements based on the model year and configuration of the engine installed, whether the engine is an OEM’s production engine, rebuilt engine or crate engine.
These concessions were necessary to receive the approval of the state regulators charged with overseeing the program. Under the law, if the model year of the engine installed in the specially constructed or replica vehicle requires an onboard diagnostic (OBD) system, the vehicle would be subject to an OBD system emissions test applicable to the certified configuration, including any exclusions or exemptions otherwise granted to that certified configuration.
For details, contact Steve McDonald at email@example.com.
Legislation that originally threatened to provide localities with the authority to raise from $100 to $500 the amount charged for an annual license tax for vehicles that do not display current license plates was vetoed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. The Governor cited a conflict with current law as the reason for not approving the bill. Amendments to the bill drafted by SEMA in consultation with state hobbyist groups totally exempted from the license tax all vehicles and parts cars that are stored on private property for the purpose of restoration or repair. Vehicles stored within a structure remained exempted from the tax.
Under current law, all vehicles, even those 25 years old and older, are subject to the license tax. Under the amended H.B. 878, the exemption for all cars, regardless of age that are undergoing restoration (for as long a time period as the restoration work requires) represented a new benefit to car owners and demonstrated a real effort by legislators and hobbyists to enact reasonable and fair compromise legislation.
For details, contact Steve McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A bill that originally sought to provide legal registration to hobby vehicles with a clear title, required safety equipment and in good working order was signed into law by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. At the request of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the scope of the legislation was limited to former military vehicles. Lawmakers eliminated several pro-hobby provisions that applied to all hobby vehicles, such as pre-’68 vehicles, imports and kit cars. While the amended bill does not solve the many problems associated with registering a hobby car in Wisconsin, the SEMA-supported bill does provide incremental improvement to the rules governing former military vehicles.
For more information, contact Steve McDonald at email@example.com.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revised the platform lift standards—Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards No. 403 and 404. The rules are intended to prevent injuries when lifting a person seated in a wheelchair or scooter or standing passengers who may be aided by a cane or walker.
The NHTSA has revised the lighting requirements for lift controls, along with the location and performance requirements. The agency has also modified the wheelchair retention device and inner roll stop tests and the lighting requirements for public-use lifts. The changes take effect October 2, 2012, although earlier compliance is permitted.
Questions may be directed to Stuart Gosswein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People, Places & Racing News
For the second year in a row, Justin Pawlak took first place at the Long Beach opening round.
Falken Tire Achieves Three-Peat at Long Beach Formula Drift Opener
Team Falken started the 2012 Formula Drift season the way it finished last year, with one of its factory drivers on top of the podium. For the second year in a row, Justin Pawlak took first place at the Long Beach opening round, making it a three-peat for Falken at Long Beach—one of the tire brand’s two home tracks. Formula Drift defending champion and Team Falken teammate Daijiro (“Dai”) Yoshihara was second.
Before a capacity crowd and 61 entrants competing for round one, Pawlak took the victory on board his redesigned ’13 Ford Mustang running Falken’s designated drift tire—the Azenis RT615K. Pawlak qualified fourth, while Yoshihara was sixth among the top 32. Third Falken teammate Vaughn Gittin, Jr., the 2010 Formula D champion, driving the Monster Energy/Falken Tire Ford Mustang, was third in qualification, but was defeated during the Top 32 round, as was fourth Falken teammate Darren McNamara. Both Pawlak and Dai advanced to the final when Pawlak defeated the Formula D current champion, earning his second Long Beach trophy.
Ken Block Partners With Vehicle Care Products Manufacturer Shining Monkey Corp.
Ken Block and the Monster World Rally Team have partnered with Shining Monkey Corp.—a manufacturer of premium vehicle care products. The newly designed Shining Monkey logo is featured on the 43 Ford Fiesta and Ken Block’s DC Shoes apparel line.
- NEWS NUGGETS
NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES DRIVERS AND FANS ARE READY FOR THRILL OF FOUR-WIDE RACING: On April 13–15, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will break from the traditional one-on-one format for the third annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte's zMAX Dragway. The different format is a welcome change for many drivers and fans. Fans can purchase two tickets to any day of the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals for $60 and receive a choice of two T-shirts, two beer vouchers or two Coca-Cola soft drinks and two hot dogs. Children 13 and younger are admitted for free with the purchase of an adult ticket. To purchase tickets, call 800-455-FANS (3267) or log on to www.zmaxdragway.com. At-track camping options are also available.
TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE FOR 25TH O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRING NATIONALS AT HOUSTON’S ROYAL PURPLE RACEWAY: The adrenaline-charging rush of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to Houston's Royal Purple Raceway for the 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, April 27–29. The event is the sixth stop of 23 races in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The NHRA’s first stop of the season in the Lone Star State will be full of excitement as racers in all four professional categories—Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle—head to the ultrafast dragstrip in hopes of earning a Wally trophy. NHRA fans were packed in the stands last season to see eventual Top Fuel world champ Del Worsham outrun his Al-Anabi Racing teammate, Larry Dixon, in the final round en route to collecting his third victory of the 2011 season. DHL Funny Car pilot Jeff Arend bested John Force Racing driver Mike Neff in the final round, earning his first and only win of the season. Rookie Vincent Nobile earned the first victory of his Pro Stock career by defeating local favorite Rodger Brogdon in the final round, and Andrew Hines earned his first Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of the season by taking out Michael Phillips in the final. To purchase tickets, log on to RoyalPurpleRaceway.com or call the box office at 281-383-RACE (7223).
LIMITED ALL-INCLUSIVE PUBLIC SUITE TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR ATLANTA EVENT: Fans of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series in the Atlanta area have a thrilling opportunity to secure tickets for an all-inclusive public suite at Atlanta Dragway during the 32nd annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 4–6. Fans can still purchase tickets for the best seats in the house, in the dragstrip tower behind the starting line. With each ticket, the holder will receive amenities, including a hot catered lunch, mid-afternoon snack during each day of racing, unlimited water, ice-cold Coca-Cola beverages, a souvenir program, a climate-controlled seating area, Fan Zone access for Sunday’s eliminations, and pit access all three days. Those who purchase a minimum of two three-day suite tickets will also receive one preferred parking pass. To purchase tickets to the public suite for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 4–6 at Atlanta Dragway, contact Crystal Wilson, 706-423-9252 or email@example.com.
NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, April 13–15: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops of the season in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the only four-wide national event. Winners from 2011 were Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-455-FANS (3267) or log on to CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com. For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at firstname.lastname@example.org.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRING NATIONALS PRESENTED BY SUPER START BATTERIES, ROYAL PURPLE RACEWAY, April 27–29: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first stop of the season in the Lone Star State for the sixth race of the season. Winners from 2011 were Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Jeff Arend (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 281-383-RACE (7223) or log on to RoyalPurpleRaceway.com. For media credentials, contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS, ATLANTA DRAGWAY, May 4–6: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Georgia for the seventh race of the season—one of NHRA’s long-established events. Defending winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com. For media credentials, contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID INSIDE THE NUMBERS
TRYING TO KEEP THE GAME THE SAME: Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III, who is coming off his first final-round appearance of the season, on how he prepares for the unique format at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals: ‘“I try to treat it like any other race. It’s not, of course. You have four cars lining up instead of two, and the horsepower is just incredible. The noise is different; the lights are different. For the fans, it’s a totally different experience. But at the end of the day, I try to race my race and not focus on what the other drivers are doing.”
4: THE NUMBER IN HIGHT’S SIGHTS: As the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series tour heads to zMAX Dragway for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals this weekend, Funny Car driver Robert Hight is going to attempt to put his Auto Club Ford Mustang in the winner’s circle for the fourth time in a row. Coming off three consecutive victories, Hight will look to continue that momentum by earning his first NHRA Four-Wide Nationals win and his fourth Wally in five races this season.
DID YOU KNOW…
K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE OFFERS FANS A CHANCE TO SELECT THE EIGHTH SPOT ON THE STARTING GRID: NHRA fans will have a direct impact on who will compete in the 2012 K&N Horsepower Challenge, held at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, July 5–8. Eight lucky NHRA fans will have the opportunity to see the event live, and one really lucky NHRA fan will leave the event as the owner of a 2012 K&N Horsepower Challenge edition Toyota Tundra. The first seven positions in the K&N Horsepower Challenge will be determined by points earned at NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events. But the eighth and final spot will be decided by a fan vote.
The K&N Horsepower Challenge is a race within a race, showcasing the top drivers in NHRA Pro Stock, with the winner receiving $50,000. The runner-up will receive $10,000, and $3,000 each will be paid to the two semifinalists and $2,500 each to the four first-round finishers. As part of the program, a $3,000 bonus is awarded to the No. 1 qualifier at each NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event. In addition, K&N Filters is conducting the K&N Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes and the opportunity for eight lucky fans to receive a trip to the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. NHRA fans can enter the K&N Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes. For details, log on to www.KNFilters.com.
- Movers & Shakers: Schwartz Advisors Add Dennis Walvaert, Mitch Williams; Total Automotive Inc. Finishes 10,000-Sq.-Ft. ExpansionSchwartz Advisors Add Dennis Walvaert and Mitch Williams
Merger and acquisitions advisory and management consulting firm Schwartz Advisors announced that it recently added two new partners, Dennis Walvaert and Mitch Williams. Walvaert and Williams will work on merger and acquisition initiatives and strategic consulting projects for the company. Walvaert recently retired as the president of the Dayco North American aftermarket division and was responsible for Dayco's Australian operations. Williams is the former president and COO of Hella Inc., where he was responsible for aftermarket activities for Hella in the United States and Canada. He also served as COO for aftermarket accessory supplier Pilot Automotive.
Total Automotive Inc. Completes 10,000-Sq.-Ft. Expansion
Total Automotive Inc. has completed a 10,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its main complex in Chanhassen, Minnesota. With the expansion, the company plans to add 12 to 15 new positions in 2012, as well as to launch a new retail www.hingekits.com website and release more than 100 new hinge repair kits before the 2012 SEMA Show.
Barrett-Jackson contracted collector car legend Rick Cole to serve as an automotive specialist.
Collector Car Legend Rick Cole to Help Source Consignments for Barrett-Jackson
Collector car legend Rick Cole was contracted by the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction to serve as an automotive specialist. Best known as the hobby’s “Auctioneer to the Stars,” Los Angeles-based Cole will utilize his vast experience in the auction arena to help Barrett-Jackson source consignments for collector cars and add his 35-plus years of expertise and knowledge to find some of most highly collectible automobiles and automobile collections. Cole will work with Gary Bennett, vice president of consignments. Cole’s history with collector car auctions started in 1978 when he established Rick Cole Auctions. He held hundreds of successful auto auctions in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Palm Springs and even originated the first collector car auction during the famed Monterey auto week, selling more than 20,000 high-end and highly sought-after classic vehicles throughout his career.
Hastings Launches New Piston Ring Website
Hastings Manufacturing has launched a new design to its website that the company reports features a larger format and push-point boxes that are more visually appealing and easier to navigate. In addition to new dedicated sections for OEM, aftermarket and performance racing, the company has also added new applications and a new brand video, which covers the brand’s history, notable accomplishments and awards.
Ryan Payne Named VP of Marketing for Source Interlink
Ryan Payne was hired by Source Interlink Media LLC to serve as vice president of marketing. He will be responsible for streamlining the company's internal and external marketing solutions to help deliver more efficient and collaborative ideas to clients. Prior to joining Source Interlink Media, Payne most recently served as account director at Team One Advertising in El Segundo, California, where he managed the Lexus National account and was responsible for web development and collateral.
Hopkins Acquires Assets of F3 Brands
Hopkins Manufacturing Corp. has acquired the assets of F3 Brands, a provider of oil drains, drain pans, lifting aids and automotive ramps. F3 is the non-fuel containment business of Blitz USA. In addition to the oil-change products, Hopkins acquired the 2X4 Basics line of storage, organization and lawn and garden kits. Hopkins will maintain the manufacturing facility located in Miami, Oklahoma. The oil-change-related products will be unified under the FloTool brand name and the automotive ramps will continue to bear the RhinoRamp mark. This is the second acquisition by Hopkins in the fluid management category in the past six months. In October 2011, Hopkins acquired Mr. Funnel.
Toyo Continues Support of UFC
Toyo Tires U.S.A. Corp. will continue as the Official Tire of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for 2012. In addition to Toyo logos inside the Octagon during six UFC Pay-Per-View events and several UFC on FX and FUELTV events, Toyo will also have an increased presence on www.ufc.com and plans to further incorporate UFC and mixed martial art fighters into its marketing efforts.
Scott Shanks and his 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible was selected the winner to drive the 2012 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour as a guest of Royal Purple.
Scott Shanks Wins Royal Purple High Performance Driving Experience Contest
Royal Purple announced the winner of its High Performance Experience contest. Scott Shanks and his ’70 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible was selected the winner to drive the 2012 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour as a guest of Royal Purple. The company reported that it received more than 340 entries for the contest on its Facebook fan page. As the winner of the Royal Purple High Performance Driving Experience Contest, Shanks will receive a Visa gift card to help defray expenses traveling on the tour, paid registration fees for the tour, VIP parking, a spot in the Royal Purple booth on tour and a variety of Royal Purple swag.
Wisconsin Repeals Automotive Refrigerant Law
IDQ Inc. announced that the company, along with the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), have successfully encouraged the Wisconsin legislature and Governor Walker to pass S.B. 370, which immediately allows Wisconsin consumers to buy R-134a refrigerant products at Wisconsin retailers and save money. IDQ refrigerant products will soon be available at such Wisconsin retailers as AutoZone, Advance Auto, O’Reilly, Wal-Mart, NAPA and others. Sponsored by Senator Glenn Grothman (R) and Representative Joe Knilans (R) and backed by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, IDQ’s actions negate the need for Wisconsin residents to drive to neighboring states to buy R-134a and could add an additional $6–9 million in additional annual revenue for local businesses.
SEMA News—April 2012
That Bonneville story ran in the August 1963 issue of Hot Rod magazine, and it was one of two stories in that issue in which Winfield appeared. A few pages later, you can see him with a body hammer and dolly shaping aluminum panels for Tex Smith’s XR-6 roadster. The unusual-looking hot rod, “developed to investigate the uses of modern ideas in hot rod design,” as Smith described it, would win the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) trophy that year at the Oakland Roadster Show. Winfield’s bodywork and skill with pearl paint also helped Don Tognotti win the AMBR trophy a year later with his “King T” roadster.
Like so many hot rodding pioneers, Winfield started messing with cars by racing them on dragstrips and the dry lakes. Following a stint in the Navy, he began customizing cars in the mid ‘40s after first teaching himself how to weld and work with lead. In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, Winfield experimented with unusual—and sometimes radical—combinations of candy and pearl paint colors. Those pioneering efforts in blended paint jobs were showcased on several Winfield-built cars, including two notable custom Mercurys called the Jade Idol and Solar Scene.
Winfield’s bodyworking talents and eye for design would take him from Ford’s Custom Car Caravan in Detroit to the AMT Model Company in Phoenix and then to Hollywood, where he built TV and movie cars for Star Trek, Blade Runner, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and other features. He has gone back to Bonneville, taught metalworking classes to pass on his techniques to a new generation of builders and still today reshapes and customizes cars. He’s not quite as busy as he was when he appeared in Hot Rod in 1963, but close.
Visit ARMO's website.
The ARMO New Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle takes place April 26–28, 2012, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Don’t miss out on this exciting and exclusive ARMO-member benefit. The ARMO New Products Showcase takes place April 25–29, 2012, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and online registration is still open until Friday, April 13, 2012.
The ARMO New Products Showcase puts your product in front of 100,000+ automotive restoration enthusiasts in the country at Spring Carlisle. In addition, each product is professionally photographed while on display. The photograph is posted in a gallery on the ARMO website and is also shown in video displays in the ARMO booth and during the ARMO awards reception at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
For only the cost of shipping, your product effectively gets a full year's worth of exposure. This is available only to ARMO members and is included with the annual ARMO membership fee. Don’t miss out, register your restoration product now.
For more information, contact Jim Skelly at email@example.com.Ensure the Future by Restoring the Past—Join ARMO
The Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO), a SEMA council, is dedicated to preserving our automotive heritage for future generations to enjoy. ARMO provides a number of benefits to its 275 member companies, which include direct access to ARMO-member companies, education and outreach for small businesses in the restoration market, product exposure through an annual New Products Showcase and collective support of the restoration hobby.
Top Reasons to Join ARMO:
- Networking Opportunities: The primary strength of ARMO is its member companies. The organization provides multiple venues for ARMO members to interact and share ideas through its long-range planning meetings, new-products mixer at Spring Carlisle and the ARMO awards reception at the 2012 SEMA Show, as well as discussion groups on MySEMA and social media websites.
- Education: The annual ARMO education seminars at the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show bring industry leaders and experts together to share their real-world experience with small-business owners, providing tips and insights to help them grow their businesses. The ARMO Restoration Trademark Licensing Guide provides ARMO members with the basic forms needed to begin the process of getting products licensed by an original-equipment manufacturer. The licensing guide is available through the SEMA Education Institute.
- Supporting Hobby Growth: ARMO recognizes the importance of the individual hobbyist to the industry and supports Collector Car Appreciation Day activities across the country. Every April, the ARMO New Products Showcase puts member company products directly in front of 100,000+ restoration enthusiasts each year at Spring Carlisle. In addition, ARMO’s “Take a Kid to a Car Show” (TKCS) program strives to get children involved in automotive hobbies at an early age. The interactive TKCS website provides information on how to get involved for kids and adults alike.
ARMO membership is open to virtually any business in the restoration industry, large or small. Annual dues are $100, and an application is available on the ARMO website.ARMO Licensing Guide Now on SEI
Contact ARMO’s staff liaison Jim Skelly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
ARMO members may now access the ARMO Trademark Licensing Guide online. Previously available only in hard copy, the Guide is now located on the ARMO education track on the SEMA Education Institute (SEI).
Ever wonder how a company gets a restoration product officially licensed by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) carmaker? ARMO members can now find introductory information from three OEMs, including preliminary application forms, in one document.Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? ARMO Is!
Obtaining a trademark license is one of the few remaining processes that cannot be accomplished "online" or with a simple application. OEM carmakers are very proud and protective of their trademarks. There are many steps involved in order to display an "Officially Licensed" logo on your product. Just finding out where to begin can be a daunting task.
The Trademark Licensing Overview provides ARMO-member companies with the information they need to begin the oftentimes lengthy process in one handy reference document. Ford, GM and Chrysler have supplied contact information, application forms and general process overviews. While the Overview is not a complete guide to trademark licensing, it does provide you with information necessary for all those important first steps.
Be sure to follow ARMO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/armo and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
ARMO Column in SEMA Member News
Read ARMO's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.
Visit HRIA's website HRIA is looking for top hot-rod builders to participate in the annual Pinewood Builders Challenge.
Hot Rodder Highlight: Melanie Rushforth, Rushforth Wheels
Melanie Rushforth started her business—Rushforth Wheels—approximately five years ago in Tacoma, Washington, and, like many others within the automotive aftermarket industry, she enjoys the people she meets at shows and other venues. With the help of the Internet, she has also built many relationships through Rushforth Wheels’ online forums.
Rushforth’s current project vehicle is a ’64 Buick Skylark. It's the ultimate love story. Rushforth and her husband were looking for a project and found this ’64 Skylark on Cragislist.com. The car had everything they wanted and the original owner lived about a mile from their front door. Like a dream come true, the Skylark was at its new home that afternoon. Today, you might see Rushforth, her husband and the car that was meant to be theirs from the start taking a cruise on the beach.
However, Melanie’s true passion is late ’40s/early ’50s trucks, which she would use to transport her dogs and bikes and play in style.
On a personal note, Rushforth spends much of her time volunteering with non-profits and in the rotary. She is also an officer on the Board of Tacoma Community College and was named a 40 Under 40 in 2009 and a 2010 Woman of Influence in the Puget Sound.
Rushforth and her husband share their excitement for the industry with their 16-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. Even though they travel a lot for work, it’s not nearly enough for pleasure. “If everyone we knew bought wheels from us, I’d make a point to spend more time on the beach in a tropical location,” she said.
SEMA's Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) thanks Rushforth for her continuous support.Have You Registered a Patent or Trademark? Your Competition Has
Protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of its members is a top SEMA priority. The process begins when companies register their patents, trademarks and copyrights with government agencies in the United States (and other countries). Registration is a key to establishing legal rights.Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? HRIA is!
To assist its members, SEMA has created a webpage called Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights, explaining the different types of IP, including protecting new products (utility patents) and product designs (design patent), identifying the source of the product (trademarks) and protecting product brochures or website designs (copyright). It also contains information on how to register IP along with links to seminars, webinars and SEMA News articles.
With respect to enforcing IP rights at the SEMA Show, the association has developed an effective policy for pursuing infringement allegations. SEMA’s IP enforcement policy is posted on the IPR webpage and is also published as part of the Exhibitor Services Manual. Questions may be directed to Stuart Gosswein (email@example.com).
Be sure to follow HRIA on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/hria and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
HRIA Column in SEMA Member News
Visit LTAA's website.
LTAA is pleased to announce the launch of an LTAA education track for the SEMA Education Institute (SEI). LTAA members may now reference and download a number of technical resources from the new LTAA learning track that were previously available in hard copy only. Now, LTAA members have the information at their fingertips via an Internet connection.
Resources currently available are:
- LTAA Pickup Truck Bed Dimensions – pdf
- LTAA Keyless Entry Connection Guide – pdf
- LTAA CHMSL Wiring Connection Guide – pdf
- Why Paint Colors Vary – video
“This is very exciting for the Council,” said LTAA Chairman George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive. “These reference tools are always appreciated by installers and counter people in the field. SEI provided us a solution that keeps the tools as an LTAA-member benefit and makes for quick and timely updating of data. LTAA members received an e-mail recently with instruction on how to access their account on SEI. I encourage all members to get familiar with this LTAA education track because this is only the beginning—I promise you!”What's the Value of Being an LTAA Member?
Learn more about the LTAA education tools.
Not yet an LTAA member? Download an application or contact Jim Skelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909-978-6690 for more information.
New Products Showcase – Put your product in front of one of the largest gathering of truck enthusiasts in the country at the Carlisle Truck Nationals.
Networking – LTAA mixer at the Carlisle All Truck Nationals, Annual Long-Range Planning meeting and access to LTAA members and light-truck industry professionals around the world.
Tools and resources for the retailer and installer – "Pickup Bed Dimensions Sheet," "Keyless Entry Wiring Pickup Points Reference Sheet," "Why Paints Don’t Match" DVD and more.
Education – and LTAA-specific learning track on the new SEI from SEMA, coming soon!Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? LTAA Is!
Be sure to follow LTAA on all of your favorite social networking sites.
To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/ltaa and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
LTAA Column in SEMA Member News
Visit MPMC's website.
Does your company manufacture parts used in sanctioned motorsports events? The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC)—a SEMA council—provides a number of benefits to its more than 200 member companies.
Benefits include access to a best practices reference guide dedicated to common manufacturing business questions, contact information for more than 200 fellow motorsports parts manufacturers and an opportunity to have three days of 30-minute meetings with editors from print and electronic media.
MPMC members produced the “Business of Engine Building” seminar at the 2011 PRI Show in Orlando. From left to right, veteran engine builders Tracy Dennis, Keith Dorton, Ron Hutter, David Reher, Scott Shafiroff and Carl Wegner answered questions from moderator Alan Reinhart. Have an idea for another seminar topic? Join MPMC now and help make it happen!
Four Reasons to Join the MPMC:
- Business Guidelines Manual: Written, produced and designed specifically for performance product manufacturers, the manual addresses the many challenges faced by manufacturing companies like yours. Definitions, resources, options, examples and even sample documents are included in the various sections. Each section is written and formatted for quick and easy referencing. Topics include bar coding, catalogs, counterfeiting, electronic data exchange, freight policies and much more. The manual is available for download or viewing, but only to MPMC members, through the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) MPMC Education Track.
- Media Trade Conference: Another opportunity unique to MPMC, and available only to MPMC-member companies, is the MPMC Media Trade Conference (MTC). The MTC brings 100 MPMC manufacturers together with 200+ editorial staff from national and international media for three days of 30-minute, face-to-face meetings to discuss editorial content. Space is limited each year to 100 manufacturers, selected via lottery, but only MPMC members have the opportunity to participate.
- Industry Outreach: MPMC members work with other industry contacts to produce seminars, panel discussions and events for the benefit of not only fellow manufacturers, but the shop owners and consumers who ultimately use their products. This past year at the PRI Show in Orlando, Florida, MPMC hosted a two-hour discussion in which six of the most renowned engine builders in the country shared their business experiences with an audience of 150+ shop owners and aspiring engine builders.
- Networking: MPMC hosts various events throughout the year to further promote relationship building. A networking breakfast at the U.S. Nationals and a Hall of Fame Breakfast at the PRI Show are examples of how MPMC works to bring manufacturers together with media and other industry colleagues. In addition to meetings with the media, the Media Trade Conference also offers two evening receptions, lunches and break periods that present myriad networking opportunities.
MPMC is the only SEMA council dedicated specifically to manufacturing companies. If you are not already a member, there is no better time to join than right now. Membership is only $100 annually and an application is available on the MPMC website.
Contact MPMC’s staff liaison Jim Skelly at email@example.com for more information.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MPMC Is!
Be sure to follow MPMC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/mpmc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
Take a Friend to a Race Fan Page
The MPMC Motorsports Awareness campaign, highlighted by the Take a Friend to a Race program, now has its very own Fanpage on Facebook. If you’re not a fan yet, you should be!
MPMC Column in SEMA Member News
Read MPMC's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.
Visit MRC's website.
Here are the top 10 reasons why your company should use a rep:A Message From MRC Chair Wade Cobb
1. Results Driven. Our success is your success. Reps are highly motivated to sell your products because they make money when you sell products.
2. Cost Effective. Better utilize your time and resources. Minimize the labor and travel expenses of hiring your own employees.
3. Territory Expansion. You get the instant benefits of territory and customer knowledge that takes years to learn.
4. Relationships. Reps already know companies with whom you want to do business. Take advantage of strong, pre-existing relationships that have been cultivated through trust and action.
5. Quick. Hiring a rep is quickest way to get results and to get your “feet on the ground” selling.
6. Access. Your products and services will have better exposure with your customers because reps are already doing business with them.
7. Sales Calls. Focused and increased face-to-face time with your customers equals greater sales.
8. Training. Field training and professional development sets reps apart. Reps will educate your customers about the features and benefits of your programs and services.
9. Feedback. Get instant and accurate feedback on your products and programs.
10. Industry Knowledge. Receive an insider’s perspective that allows you a clearer understanding of the “ins and outs” of your industry.
Interested? Want to know more? The SEMA Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC) can answer your questions and share more reasons why hiring an Independent sales rep may make sense for your company.
The MRC council has been chipping away at what our Long-Range Planning session of 2010 identified as a need—benefits for our membership! MRC recently put a program together with TeleNotes, offering our members a business tool to elevate their company’s ability to capture data and reporting. We are also continuing to work on travel programs, possibly offering an “MRC” rate at our industry events, such as PWA and the SEMA Show, with select lodging. We also recognized the need to reach out to our general members and non-members to determine what it is they need from MRC.
In February we conducted an online survey to 3,500 rep agencies associated with SEMA to find out more about reps and how MRC can maximize its efforts as a council to provide you with benefits. Thanks to all who took the time to respond; it’s the only way we can build a better MRC. Just as any council or association, it’s imperative to get the feedback from members on what works or needs to be fixed. As we move on reviewing the data MRC has been able to obtain through the survey and the information from our LRP, the council will continue to put action plans in place to address the concerns.
Looking to continue the efforts put forth by our members, MRC attended the MPMC Media Trade Conference held in Los Angeles this past January with the purpose of representing MRC to the manufacturers present. MRC Chair-Elect Chris Fairless and I had an MRC room all three days of the event, conducting meetings with members interested in utilizing reps and showing them the value of using rep agencies. We provided each exhibiting company with an MRC brochure and offered the MRC DVD for additional information. Both Chris and I were very pleased with the event, realizing this was a first for MRC and a great opportunity given to MRC by MPMC to explore the venue and take away ideas to build even better programs for coming events. We truly wish to thank Kyle Fickler and Vic Wood of MPMC for working with us during the MPMC Media Trade Conference.
We look forward to working with other industry segments to continue educating our fellow industry members on the benefits of utilizing a rep agency as their sales force. Your thoughts and comments are welcome any time. We need to hear your voice, so please speak out!Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MRC is!
Be sure to follow MRC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/mrc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.MRC Column in SEMA Member News
Read MRC's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.
Visit PRO's website.
Be sure to follow PRO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/pro and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
PRO Column in SEMA Member News
Read PRO's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.
Visit SBN's website.
The SEMA Businesswomen Network (SBN) welcomes both women and men who work for a SEMA-member company to join the committee. Along with the benefit of joining a community of prominent industry leaders, members in the SBN offers several distinct advantages:
Networking: The SBN offers access to more than 300 members, largely composed of women who understand the challenges and advantages for working in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. Via exclusive invitations to SBN mixers at industry events and SBN events at the SEMA Show, such as the Speed Networking Breakfast, members have the opportunity to network with key influencers in the industry.
Recognition: Established in 1994, the SBN Awards have become the premier honor for recognition of industry veterans who have volunteered their personal and professional time to contribute to women in the automotive aftermarket. Also, through SBN’s Member of the Month (MoM) spotlight, select women are highlighted for acting as trendsetters in the industry. MoM spotlights receive the honor of being featured in SEMA eNews with a subscription of more than 150,000 recipients, along with a feature on the SEMA website.
SEMA Show: The SBN offers members the ideal opportunity to become actively engaged in SEMA via volunteering time to help with SBN-sponsored events. Events featured throughout the week include the Speed Networking Breakfast, Café SEMA, and the Gear-up Girl, which act as a great medium to enhance professional growth, networking and business leads.
There is no cost to join SBN, just many opportunities to meet other women in the industry who are as equally committed to professional growth as you are. Join the SBN now!
You Ought to Be in Pictures!
The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network committee is a great resource of minds. All ladies in the specialty-equipment industry can join the SBN, so pass the word around to your colleagues and friends! We are encouraging all new and existing SBN members to log-in to the MySEMA portal to update their profile with a photo so we get to know each other's faces before the SEMA Show.
And don’t forget to turn your notifications settings “ON” so you can stay in “the loop.” Want to know more about the SBN? Interested in becoming a member?
Want to get involved in the industry but don't know how? We have an app for that! Go to www.SEMA.org, click on the Leadership tab, click on Council/Committee, click on SBN and join! Don't delay—get involved and join now. You are just a few clicks away! We look forward to "seeing" everyone!
Don’t Be Out of the Loop—Stay in Touch
The very best way to stay in touch and to read the latest news, discussions and topics posted from SEMA and the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) is to make sure that your notification settings are turned on in your MySEMA account. Next to your photo on your MySEMA page, at the top right, is a link to the "Edit My Settings" page.
On the “settings” page, look for the “notifications” tab, where it will ask how you would like to receive your news. Check whichever method is most convenient, but either way, make sure you're in the loop by turning “on” your notifications. Visit http://my.sema.org to make sure you don’t miss a thing!
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SBN is!
Be sure to follow SBN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/sbn and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
SBN Column in SEMA Member News
Read SBN's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about SBN, contact Bryan Harrison.
Visit SPC's website.
Participate in the automotive aftermarket at a whole new level by joining the SPC.
The purpose of SEMA councils is to help our member companies succeed and prosper. In the SPC, our mission is to provide market information, education and support to our members concerning new and emerging trends. Whether it’s the latest business technology, forecasting sales, future marketing solutions or up and coming vehicle platforms, we give you and your company the chance to see what’s on the horizon.
Then we’ll help you understand and acquire the skills, tools and technologies to lead the way. The SPC has the most diverse membership of any SEMA council, and that will allow you to network with other professionals from every facet of our industry and gain insights into areas you may not have previously considered. Find out about the parts, people, technologies, strategies, trends and, most important, possibilities.
This is your chance to give something back to the industry, your profession and to grow personally along the way. Join the SPC today and become an active member of the specialty equipment and automotive market — Tracie Nuñez, Advanced Clutch Technology, SPC Chairman
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SPC is!
Be sure to follow SPC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/spc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
SPC Column in SEMA Member News
Read SPC's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about SPC, contact Bryan Harrison.
Visit WTC's website
Wheel and tire professionals gathered at SEMA Headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for an open discussion to help guide the strategic direction of SEMA’s Wheel and Tire Council (WTC). “The meeting was full of awesome information, especially for someone like me who fields dozens of phone calls from the enthusiast up to the highest levels of purchasing,” shared Blake Warner of Primax Wheel Corp.
Wheel and tire professionals gathered at SEMA Headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for an open discussion to help guide the strategic direction of SEMA’s Wheel and Tire Council (WTC).
Much of the conversation focused on continuing concerns revolving around tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), including their lifespan, the servicing of and opportunities for an additional revenue stream. In an attempt to help members better address TPMS, The WTC has made a webinar available through SEMA’s Education Institute (SEI) entitled, "TPMS 101: Identifying and Understanding the Opportunity," presented by Russ Fuller of Revolution Supply Co.
Other topics included the Wheel and Tire Council's continuing effort to work with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) on wheel testing standard J2530. The WTC strongly supports the standard, but has concerns over the implementation of a conformance and registry program that could potentially increase the cost for aftermarket wheel manufacturers and ultimately extend the scope of the standard beyond it original purpose. At the same time, the WTC recognizes the importance of a voluntary testing mechanism that legitimizes the use thereof and addresses any misrepresentation of the standard.
Based on the open discussion and in working with the Tire Industry Association (TIA), the WTC has also made it a priority to increase communication to its retail members in order to provide technical and sales training, as well as best practices that help improve consumer awareness. To help accomplish the Council’s agenda, the WTC Select Committee will make a concerted effort to solicit the participation and expertise of its general membership.
Don't Miss WTC Long-Range Planning Meeting and Industry Discussion February 8
The WTC Long-Range Planning Meeting and industry discussion will be held Wednesday, February 8, 2012, at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, from 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Lunch will be served. Get feedback and provide your thoughts to industry leaders during the open discussion. Whether you have questions regarding testing standards, increasing sales, vehicle technology or other pertinent issues, come to the open forum and share your thoughts.
Have you ever wondered how to get more involved in the SEMA Wheel & Tire (WTC) Council?
What exactly do the council leaders do throughout their term? Very simply, the Select Committee is elected by members of the council to serve a two-year term. 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, others provide creative solutions to challenges our member companies are facing and others get their hands dirty and get it done. Each Select Committee member is supported by their company in their WTC efforts, and for that we say “thank you” to those companies!
The leaders of the WTC gathered last year at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for its annual Long-Range Planning meeting. This meeting focused on bringing value to the WTC-member companies. The past 18 months have been extremely challenging for all of our companies and the council is dedicated to utilizing SEMA’s resources to further benefit each WTC member.
Guiding the group’s effort was the council’s mission statement to “identify common problems and opportunities relating to the wheel and tire industries that the council, as an interested body of companies, can address for the common good.” A handful of exciting objectives are being developed for the council over this year and next. If you are passionate and have an interest in being involved, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for a task force with a limited investment of time that provides a great way to network and share your ideas. Please reach out to the task force chair if you want to participate or have comments.
Science and Technology Task Force
Tim Dietz (Standards Testing Laboratories Inc.) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This group focuses on aftermarket and OEM advances that affect our industry. From creating wheel standards to improved processes for tire-pressure monitoring systems and electronic stability control, the Science and Technology Task Force plays a pivotal role in the industry’s advancement.
Education Task Force
Kelly Austin (Ultra Wheel Company) chairs this group and can be reached at email@example.com. The education task force is charged with developing successful programs for members to enhance their businesses. The WTC Task Force is responsible for partnering with the SEMA Educational Institute to create and promote online learning resources.
Communication and Marketing Task Force
Doug Frymer (Law Offices of Douglas A. Frymer) chairs this group and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This group focuses on membership outreach, growth and retention. It is imperative that councils effectively communicate services provided by WTC and SEMA to our members. Communication and services ensure that there is proper dialogue between leadership and membership.
SEMA Show Task Force
David Insull (American Tire Distributors) chairs this group and can be reached at email@example.com. The SEMA Show in Las Vegas provides the backdrop for critical networking functions. This group focuses on making WTC’s awards reception an ideal place to get together, honor one another and network with all those who share a common passion.
There are so many other things the council leadership does throughout the year. You are the expert at what your business needs and this council wants to deliver. Feel free to get in touch with us or come to one of our WTC events. Our hope is that, if you haven’t been a part of WTC yet, you will be in 2010 and beyond.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? WTC is!
Be sure to follow WTC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/wtc and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
WTC Column in SEMA Member News
Visit YEN's website
Jon Pulli, CEO, Turn 14
We recently had the pleasure of catching up with a passionate SEMA member who is a leader in the distribution side of the automotive aftermarket—Jon Pulli, CEO of Turn 14.
Some of our readers aren't familiar with Turn 14; could you give us a brief overview on the company and, most importantly, your role there?
Turn 14 Distribution is a performance warehouse distributor focused on modern, post-2000 vehicle applications. I co-founded Turn 14 with Chris Candido initially to fill a void in the sport-compact market for an East Coast-based distributor. As a co-founder, I have done every job in the company but, at this point, as CEO, I am able to focus my day-to-day on oversight and future planning. I spend most of my time strategically planning avenues for Turn 14’s growth in the short and long term. I feel a constant, yet welcomed, pressure to achieve our target growth numbers. Distributors, when doing their job correctly, act as a conductor between retailers and manufacturers. My goal is to grow Turn 14, which, in turn, benefits the brands we distribute, the retailers we service and Turn 14 employees.
Could you give us a little background about yourself—family, education, how you caught the car bug?
Both of my parents were entrepreneurs who ran numerous successful small businesses, so business was in my blood from an early age. With that said, Turn 14 was started with only $100. I graduated from Franklin and Marshal College with a degree in accounting, so I have always been a numbers guy. From the very start, Turn 14 has been profitable. The best part about starting with zero is that you cannot afford to dig yourself a hole and tell yourself you will become profitable later.
In terms of the car bug, I got that in high school when I was enamored with car stereo systems. By college, I got into the sport-compact scene with a Toyota Celica GTS. I have never been a track nut or a car show buff, but I genuinely enjoy fast, well-rounded street cars that can be driven day in and day out. After the Celica, I bought a Subaru WRX STi right when they were first released in late 2003 and that’s when the business really started to go.
How old are you? Are you married? Do you have kids? Where do you live? How long have you been a SEMA member?
I will be 30 this month. I am married to a stunning woman name Samantha and have a 16-month-old daughter named Keira with beautiful blue eyes that she got from her mother. We live in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I have been a SEMA member since 2003.
Much of our industry has changed with the advent of the Internet; for instance, distribution is now different. Could you give us an overview of how the Internet has impacted you both positively and negatively? How do you stay ahead of the curve?
In today’s market, distributors are now order fulfillment centers that also sell to traditional brick-and-mortar stores. As the Internet has infiltrated every corner of our society, buying online is now the standard. Distributors need strong web tools to allow their jobber bases to be competitive. Brick-and-mortar retailers who used to sell with high mark ups now get price matched against massive online retailers by customers on their cell phones. Local and regional markets are no longer closed so smaller retailers in the business need strong discounts to even have a chance to make a sale. This evolution has meant that distributors need to constantly work on efficiency and technological advancements to keep pace and be able to operate on less profit. This transition positively impacted Turn 14 by lowering the barriers to entry into the wholesale marketplace long enough for Turn 14 to establish itself. The major negative impact is the constant downward pressure on pricing and, in turn, profit margins.
Logistics is paramount to good distribution; do you approach logistics in an innovative manner? Do you have any tricks for encouraging teamwork in logistics strategy?
We focus a great deal of our effort on creating efficiencies and then trying to improve upon them. We never allow ourselves to believe a process has been perfected; instead, we are constantly scrutinizing, trying to think abstractly to improve. Employees are trained to constantly question our processes to try and find ways that they can be improved. This has resulted in a company full of thinkers, instead of followers, who take pride in our systems primarily because they have had a hand in designing and improving them.
Speaking of teamwork, how do you build your teams?
Teamwork is paramount to running a streamlined distribution center. During a typical sale, six staff members from different departments have a hand in making a transaction successful. Without teamwork among departments everyone would suffer. To encourage teamwork, we get our staff together outside of the office on various occasions. A good example took place last fall. After a great summer selling season, our sales staff ran the warehouse for a day while we sent the whole warehouse staff to a Phillies game with box seats. The warehouse staff had a blast on their surprise day off and the sales staff got a refresher on how hard our warehouse staff works. At the end of the day, our warehouse staff came together during an escape from the norm and our sales staff came together trying to handle the warehouse for a day. Both teams gained a higher level of respect for each other in a short, one-day exercise. Since that event, salespeople know when they are asking for too much from our warehouse and the warehouse is happy to help get late orders out the door when a salesperson makes that request.
You are in this business because you have a passion for vehicles. What is in the stable right now and are you planning any new additions?
Right now, I have a ’06 Lotus Elise with a custom supercharger and side-mount intercooler kit putting down 257whp. I also have an ’87 Toyota Supra with a 1JZ-GTE swap in progress, plus an ’03 Civic with your basic bolt-ons for the daily commute and, last but not least, an ’04 Dodge 2500 pickup to tow the boat. In terms of new additions, I’ll probably sell the Elise pretty soon and get something spicier, maybe a 997, GT-R or R8.
Lastly, if you could provide one piece of advice to a young person considering this industry, what would it be?
Work your butt off to continuously improve; in my opinion, drive and effort can make up for any other shortcomings you might have.
SEMA Young Executive Insight
Ed Monte, Director of Sales, MSD Ignition
The consummate “nice guy,” Ed Monte has a reputation in the automotive aftermarket as one of the friendliest, most outgoing and positive people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. Having worked his way up from taking customer service calls to director of sales at MSD Ignition, Monte firmly believes in the value of hard work, maintaining a positive attitude and building relationships.
Monte grew up in the Southwest and began riding Honda XR dirt bikes as a kid, exploring the desert and learning the terrain—a good primer for a budding desert racer. It also taught him to respect machinery. From there, he became interested in off-road racing, but focused on business in school knowing he’d need a real “day job” to support his passion for racing. After earning his business degree and working for a speed shop that specialized in desert racing, the Texas native got his first job out of college with MSD Ignition.
Monte was hired as a jack-of-all-trades sales and marketing clerk, when he realized he was able to make a living talking about his passion—cars and trucks. Monte began making friends and building relationships, which grew into sales accounts and long-term partnerships. He worked his way up to director of sales—a position he still holds at MSD. We spent some time with Monte to learn more about his business philosophy—one we believe would benefit SEMA members of all ages.
When did you first become interested in cars/trucks?
When I was in school, I worked for a fellow who ran a paint and body shop by day, but went desert racing on the weekends. I’d spend my afternoons at the shop tearing down off-road cars and prepping them for the next trip. I had a limited amount of knowledge, but a great mentor in the shop owner who showed me how to set the welder up and pull a motor out of a VW Bug in 30 minutes. He also instructed me that a $500 Mac 4-ft. torque wrench wasn’t to be used as a breaker bar! I enjoyed the nitty-gritty work because at the end of the day, getting behind the wheel and shaking down our Class 1 car was a treat after doing all the work on it—and I looked forward to doing it the next weekend!
What was your first project vehicle? What project vehicles do you own now?
My first “real” project vehicle (not just a driver I fixed to go to class) was an early ’90s version of a Sand Cars Unlimited four-seat buggy. Before long-travel A-arm suspension cars came onto the scene, this was your traditional 112-in. beam axle car with a whopping 1835cc Type 1 VW motor. A small car by today’s standards, it was my next evolution in keeping the dust and dirt flying in my face, and I loved it. I currently drive a ’99 BFG Project Suburban, plus I have a four-seater play buggy, two XR 600s, a CRF450X and a ’72 El Camino loaded with MSD gear I use for car shows and cruises. I also have an F-150 Raptor that’s been to Barstow for the M.O.R.E. Powder Puff.
You’ve been with MSD for a long time. Why stay with one company so long rather than jumping around?
At MSD, it’s a pleasure to work with a team of people who enjoy doing what we all do. A majority of our staff has been with the company for a number of years. We represent a company that is well known in the industry for providing quality parts. That makes it easy for me to take the time to travel on the weekends for shows and races. When you work with neat people, it’s a good thing! You spend more hours at work than you do at home in most cases, so you should really find a job that makes you happy and co-workers whom you like to spend time with. It makes it that much easier to do a good job if you love your work.
You worked your way up from a sales/marketing administrator to sales director. How did you get there?
When I was first hired, my initial tasks were to fax (yup, remember faxing everyday?) and call our reps with the information we wanted to get out. We were shorthanded in sales and marketing, so basically I helped coordinate everything from inbound purchase orders to grabbing that one last part from shipping to get it out on a Red Label for a race team. Throughout the years, knowing how to get things handled internally helped when I started working more with the reps building account relationships. When things needed to be handled, I was the go-to guy. We pride ourselves on not letting things sit. I always try to help move things along. After a couple years, I started traveling on the show circuit in addition to working some of the off-road events. Once that started, I had the privilege of becoming the person who our accounts and reps could call on, and I try to always deliver. All you have in business is your word.
What has been your biggest on-the-job challenge, and how did you deal with it?
Certainly there are several, but I’d say the very first challenge was when I started doing the jobber shows. While I was excited to travel, I was a little apprehensive about how to interact with the accounts. Not so much the public in general; I knew I could answer the consumer questions and also learn. I had freaked myself out by listening to the guys who had been on the road a lot, especially at NHRA events where the customers are only comfortable talking with their “one guy.” I thought the same when I started to do visits with our customers. Luckily, I figured out that all you can do is put your best foot forward and find out “what can I do for you?” You end up proving yourself, as yourself.
What is your proudest on-the-job moment?
I’d hate to sound too simplistic, but I’m pretty happy when I’m flying home from the SEMA Show, PRI, or any show or race where I’ve been able to be productive. It’s satisfying knowing you’ve given 100% and a great feeling when that last customer of the day thanks you for a job well done or appreciates the help.
Monte’s Top 10 Rules for Success in Sales:
10. Maintaining relationships is priority #1—try to be friendly with everyone you meet.
9. Always be honest and straightforward with customers, co-workers and yourself.
8. Know what you’re talking about.
7. Keep things in perspective—take every problem one step at a time.
6. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes—“how can I help you?”
5. Go into every situation with an open mind. Avoid pre-conceived notions.
4. Don’t be negative; always look forward.
3. Listen to people and be genuine. Don’t just wait for a turn to talk.
2. In our market, people don’t “need” our parts; they want them. Explain what you can do for them.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Customers can tell when someone knows their stuff and when they don’t. Whether setting up a booth or talking to a customer, don’t “b.s.” people if you don’t know what to do. Ask. Learn.
2011 SPC/YEN Awards
Three significant industry awards were given out at the 2011 SPC/YEN reception—including the YEN Vanguard Award, Young Executive of the Year Award and SPC/YEN Industry Icon award.
The YEN Vanguard Award was presented to John Hotchkis of Hotchkis Suspension. As a 20-year member of the aftermarket and current member of the SEMA Board of Directors, Hotchkis has inspired, influenced and mentored dozens of young SEMA members. He was an active YEN member, is active on Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) and passionate about his work on the board. Specializing in suspension for musclecars (among the first in the industry), he founded Hotchkis Performance in 1992. Since then, he has employed dozens of young people, inspiring them all. He continues to offer internships to students in the engineering departments of several local universities, and many employees whom he hired as teenagers still work for him nearly 20 years later. He recently fought and defeated cancer and he remains an inspiration to us all.
The Young Executive of the Year Award was presented to Dan Dolan of DiabloSport Inc. Dolan worked tirelessly to promote and grow the YEN membership over the past year. His enthusiasm has been a great asset in getting the general membership more involved in YEN. He has been a positive influence in the performance aftermarket arena. Dolan is the type of person that any company would want to be represented by because of his “can-do” attitude that looks at problems as opportunities.
The SPC/YEN Industry Icon award was presented to Mike Spagnola of Street Scene Equipment. As the leader of an automotive aftermarket business, Spagnola understands the cost of doing business and the pressures that manufacturers face in all aspects of the industry. Over the past couple of years, Spagnola has served on the SEMA executive committee and governance committee, chaired the SEMA Show committee as well as the SEMA Show ‘n Shine and Gala Fundraiser efforts. In addition, he has been very active in the SEMA Cares committee and has served as the Board of Directors liaison to the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA). He was honored as SEMA’s Person of the Year in 2010.
Did you know that the SEMA Young Executives Network has more than 500 members networking in the industry and is the largest SEMA committee? If you are employed by a SEMA-member company and are under the age of 39, then you can join the SEMA Young Executives Network for FREE. If you are interested in becoming part of the team, please visit our website at www.sema.org/yen.
YEN Member of the Month Spotlight
Did you know that YEN has a Member of the Month Spotlight on the SEMA website and that anyone can be nominated? To view previous selections or to make a nomination, visit www.sema.org/yen.
Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? YEN is!
Be sure to follow YEN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to www.sema.org/yen and use the links in the top right-hand corner.
YEN Column in SEMA Member News
Read YEN's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about YEN, contact Bryan Harrison.
Join the SEMA Council Family
SEMA hosts 10 distinct councils and committees that represent focused niches within the specialty-equipment industry. These groups are comprised of elected volunteers (Select Committee) who guide and direct council activities while representing the membership at large. Although each council acts independently and represents a different segment, they are all focused on the betterment of the industry as a whole.
The value councils provide SEMA and the industry is beyond refute. It is inspiring to witness a diverse collection of company representatives, many of which are direct competitors, come together and develop educational, training, youth awareness and networking events that are, at the core, designed to give back and promote business. An equally important council function is to ensure that SEMA sustains a pulse on the industry and maintains a presence with its members.
The question is often asked, “Why should my company join a council?” The answer is simple. SEMA councils open the doors and provide you exposure to industry leaders, decision makers, trendsetters and a community of like-minded individuals who share your passion and desire to see business succeed and prosper. Once the doors are open, it is your responsibility to take advantage of the benefits by becoming actively involved.
Learn more today.
Shows & Events
- The Tech & Skills Regional Conference, hosted by Joe Gibbs Racing Oils at Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville, North Carolina, will be held April 20, 2012.
Manufacturers of engine building/rebuilding tools, supplies, services, parts and machinery are invited to learn about advances in component manufacturing and coating processes.
Cost to register for this conference is $10, which includes a light breakfast and lunch. For more information and to register, visit the AERA website.
- Thousands of photos of the 2011 SEMA Show are available for download at www.semaphotos.com. The site features photos of the cars, celebrities, products and companies that help make the annual SEMA Show the premier automotive aftermarket trade show in the world.
A new collection of vehicles on display at the 2011 SEMA Show is highlighted each week in SEMA eNews. This week's selection features Honda vehicles with the specialty-equipment industry's touch.
- Following are dates and locations for several upcoming SEMA-sponsored shows, webinars and activities. Click on an item for more details.
- SEMA Town Hall Meeting, April 13, 2012, 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m., Parts Unlimited Inc., La Grange, Kentucky
- SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference, April 17–20, United Arab Emirates
- SEMA Measuring Session: ’13 Audi A4, April 18, 2012, 8:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m., Audi of America Inc. Ontario Learning Center, Ontario, California
- 2012 ARMO New Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle, April 25–29, 2012, Carlisle Fairgrounds, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
- SEMA Webinar: Industry Trends–Who's Your Target Consumer?, April 26, 2012, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (PDT)
- SEMA Washington Rally, May 9, 2012, Washington, D.C.
- SEMA Town Hall Meeting, May 18, 2012, 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m., Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan
- SEMA Webinar: The 21 Golden Nuggets of Sales, June 21, 2012, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (PDT)
- Collector Car Appreciation Day, July 13, 2012
- SEMA Leadership Days, July 27, 2012, Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center, Pomona, California
- 2012 SEMA Show, October 30–November 2, Las Vegas, Nevada
For association-related travel, contact Manya Petropaki (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Travel Store USA, 949-930-9268.
Hot Links To Cool Sites
- SEMA eNews highlights the websites of SEMA-member companies through the Hot Links to Cool Sites section each week. SEMA members: To be included in Hot Links to Cool Sites, e-mail your company name and website to email@example.com. Note: Make sure to include “Hot Links” in the subject line of the e-mail.
SEMA-member companies have posted several new listings for job opportunities (view all here). Working for a SEMA-member company has many advantages. In addition to working for a company that supports and contributes to the success of the overall industry, being employed by a SEMA-member company enables employees to participate in webinars, access free market research, join SEMA committees and more.
The newest classified listings posted under Positions Available include:
SEMA members: Have a job opening that you need filled? Members are invited to post classified ads on www.sema.org/classifieds free of charge. Categories available are: Positions Available, Positions Wanted, Rep Opportunities, WD Opportunities, For Sale, Items Wanted, Business Opportunities and Internships. Visit the SEMA Classifieds site for details.