Top 10 Stories From Our Archives
SEMA Council & Committee News: RealTruck.com Joins LTAA
|Visit LTAA's website.|
RealTruck.com has announced that it has joined the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) and will have its Storm Truck on display in the LTAA booth at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. As part of its membership, as do all the companies that sponsor a vehicle in the LTAA booth, RealTruck.com will make a $1,500 donation to the SEMA Cares Committee, which works to benefit the Childhelp and Victory Junction children's charities.
LTAA Chairman George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive is flanked by Nathan Cole and Brian Shelley of RV 4 Wheel & Performance Automotive. Cole and Shelley worked in front of a live audience to transform a ’12 Jeep Rubicon from “stock to show” during the recent LTAA Jeep Build at the Carlisle Truck Nationals August 3-4.
From Stock to Show Jeep
Thousands of light-truck enthusiasts watched as a ’12 Jeep Rubicon was transformed from “stock to show” right in front of their eyes during the recent LTAA Jeep Build. The event was conducted during the Carlisle Truck Nationals as part of the third annual LTAA New Products Showcase. LTAA member Bob Smeigh, owner of RV 4 Wheel & Performance Automotive in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, not only donated the project vehicle, but also valuable shop time to have two of his professional installers perform the live transformation. All of the products used in the build were donated from LTAA manufacturers.
“We cannot thank the manufacturers who participated in this project enough,” said George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive Operations. “And what can I say about Bob Smeigh and his guys? Not only did they help show the quality and value of LTAA-member company products, but also demonstrated complete professionalism and attention to detail during every step. They really set the bar high for any future projects like this. We also have to thank Ed Scholly, Jim Vinarski and the entire Carlisle events team for being true event partners.”
All of the parts and accessories shown here and more were donated by LTAA companies for the live Jeep build out.
The finished product.
Thanks to LTAA Manufacturers
LTAA thanks the following manufacturers for donating product that made this LTAA Jeep Build a success:
- Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels
- Go Rhino!
- Hellwig Products
- Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels
- Rampage Products
- Rolling Big Power
- Skid Row Offroad
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 ARMO's website.||
Is your business involved in the restoration segment and not yet an ARMO member? In addition to direct access with its 275 restoration company members, the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) provides a number of other benefits, including 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.
Contact ARMO’s staff liaison Jim Skelly at email@example.com for more information.
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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit HRIA's website|
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 MPMC's website.|
The 2013 MPMC Media Trade Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites Orange County Airport North in Santa Ana, California. The move was necessitated due to major property renovation at the El Segundo location, scheduled for the same time as the 2013 Conference.
“We have certainly enjoyed many successful events at the El Segundo property,” said MPMC Chairman Vic Wood of Hedman. “But major construction, with the noise and dust and what all, could mar the great times we’ve had there forever. This Orange County property is only a few miles from John Wayne airport, offers free shuttles, lots of parking and a staff that I’m told is very enthusiastic about hosting this event. The layout of the property is going to provide a whole new look and feel, and overall, I think we’re in for another outstanding event.”
Media Trade Conference Registration is Open
MPMC-member companies may now register for a chance at one of the 100 available exhibitor suites at the 2013 MPMC Media Trade Conference, which will take place January 22–24, 2013, at a new location. The 2013 event will be held at the Embassy Suites Orange County Airport North in Santa Ana, California. Exhibitor registration remains open until September 7, 2012. MPMC-member manufactures may register on the MPMC website.
Not an MPMC member? Join at www.sema.org/mpmc.
For more information, contact Jim Skelly at SEMA at 909-978-6690 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.
|Visit MRC's website.|
Need Help Getting Your Product to Market?
The SEMA Show offers exhibiting companies an array of tools and resources to ensure that their experience delivers value at and beyond the Show. For manufacturers with an established or new product line, the challenge often becomes how to best take advantage of the notoriety and exposure the Show can bring by getting their products to market effectively and efficiently. Many companies utilize an in-house sales team to accomplish this, while others opt to partner with a professional manufacturers' representative.
For the latter, and for those evaluating their sales strategy, SEMA’s Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC) supports the Manufacturers' Representative Matching program during the Show. Located in the Exhibitor Services Manual, the Manufacturers' Representatives Matching Form connects manufacturers to MRC reps looking for new product lines. The completed forms are kept secure in the Rep Center, where MRC members can review and contact participating manufacturers to schedule a meeting.
In order to take advantage of this program, forms must be received by October 12, 2012. Enroll now by completing the Manufacturers' Representatives Matching Form.
Download The Top 10 Reasons for Hiring an Independent Sales Rep today. For more information, contact Zane Clark at 909-978.6696.
All-Star Line-up Set for the Rep Technology Roundtable
Exclusively for reps, this year’s SEMA Show will kick-off with a powerhouse session. On Sunday, October 28, 2012, attendees will learn how to take advantage of a technological economy and be more profitable. Technology, data and eCommerce have greatly impacted the way reps do business. Starting with a panel discussion moderated by Bryan Shirley, CPMR, attendees will then take part in intimate roundtable discussions led by such industry experts as:
- SEMA’s Data Co-op CEO Jon Wyly
- eTool Developers President and Founder Luanne Brown
- UPSHIFT Marketing Principal Bernard Bolisig, (formerly of Amazon.com's Performance Parts Category)
- Cie Studios Vice President of Business Development Tyler Tanaka
Attendees will have the opportunity ask questions and receive practical solutions that address critical areas, such as software applications, business efficiency, eCommerce, web development and product data.
Date: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Time: 3:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Location: Las Vegas Hotel
Price: MRC member: Free; SEMA member: $15; Non-member: $25
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 July/August 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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.
|Visit SBN's website.
The SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women, featuring a ’13 Ford Mustang GT donated by Ford Motor Co., will be unveiled at this year’s SEMA Show. Pictured here are two Magnaflow employees installing a Magnaflow exhaust.
The all-female vehicle customization project known as the SEMA Mustang
Build Powered by Women, featuring a ’13 Ford Mustang GT donated by Ford
Motor Co., is on target for the unveiling of winning design “High Gear”
at this year’s SEMA Show,
Tuesday, October 30, 2012. The vehicle, which was painted at L&G
Enterprises and customized at Source Interlink Media’s headquarters in
El Segundo, California, will be auctioned on eBay immediately following
the reveal with proceeds slated for the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Foundation—an organization dedicated to fostering the next generation of automotive aftermarket leaders and innovators.
Thirty aftermarket manufacturers, retailers and suppliers provided more than 50 high-performance components for this historic all-female SEMA Mustang Build. Custom installations and vehicle modifications include an E-Force Supercharger System from Edelbrock; front and rear brakes from Wilwood; a complete coilover suspension from H&R; sway bars from Whiteline USA; an exhaust system from MagnaFlow; a stereo system from Kicker; P Zero tires from Pirelli and Forgeline GA1R wheels with a custom finish. In addition to the customization of a Ford Mustang GT by an all-female build team, many of the products donated to the build came from women-owned companies.
“It was amazing to experience the huge amount of support offered by the SEMA-member companies,” stated Susan Carpenter, SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) product coordinator. “The response was overwhelmingly positive in support of the scholarship fund and to raise awareness of women in the automotive aftermarket. Many of the companies not only provided product at no charge, but also sent female representatives to install their product onsite.”
“From the beginning, we felt that the build would have a lot of great energy,” commented Lindy Jewell of H&R Special Springs. “I knew our suspension would be a perfect addition to this amazing project. We encourage and support these unique ideas to broaden aftermarket awareness.”
The SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women, scheduled for completion in late August, involves five primary teams and team leaders, including the Powertrain Team (JoAnn Bortles), Paint and Body Team (Theresa Contreras), Undercarriage Team (Mollie Lewis), Interior and Stereo System Team (Kristin Cline), and the Quality Assurance Team (Jennifer LaFever).
“Being a part of this project has been thrilling,” stated Coelette Chenier, marketing coordinator, MagnaFlow. “With the help of my team member, Laurie Paolone, I learned how to successfully install an exhaust system as well as several other products. Now, I feel like I can do anything, and someday I’m going to customize a vehicle of my own.”
For a complete list of the supporting SEMA-member companies as well as a list of SBN team members and their bios, visit www.sema.org/SEMAMustangBuild. Follow the build progress online at www.youtube.com/MotorTrend and www.HOTROD.com.
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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about SBN, contact Bryan Harrison.
|Visit SPC's website.|
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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.
For information about SPC, contact Bryan Harrison.
|Visit WTC's website|
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||
Growing up, Brandy Morrow, 28, didn’t envision herself behind the wheel of a race car or working on cars in the hot summer sun. Her father Mike, who was a professional motorcycle racer and transitioned into performance sales and marketing, never forced the car hobby on Morrow. In fact, while pursuing martial arts and other mainstream pursuits, she didn’t even get her driver’s license until she was 17. Her father then taught her basic vehicle maintenance and enrolled her in a defensive driving course. A year later, looking to learn a little more about vehicle control (after wrecking her first car—a Saturn), Morrow enrolled in an all-women’s autocross school at El Toro Airbase in Orange County with her Honda Del Sol.
That experience, where Morrow was surrounded by fast women in fast cars and competition drove a more thorough understanding of vehicle control, lit the fire. From there, she attended several karting schools, and SCCA and NASA races and eventually came to be one of the fastest drivers on the Goodguys Autocross circuit. After obtaining a degree in psychology from UC Irvine, Morrow went to work at a medical office, keeping her passion for competition as a weekend hobby with her father and brother. However, she found office work a little slow, so she chose a different path. Four years later, as marketing coordinator for Spectre Performance, she now tours the country, explaining performance induction to consumers at car shows, working on marketing materials and driving Spectre’s ’70 “Carbon Camaro” Pro-Touring autocross machine.
How did you transition from psychology to the aftermarket?
I was working for a medical office and was looking to escape to something else. I was bored, and my job position wasn’t really what I wanted to do. Spectre was putting a marketing program together with a semi truck to travel around the country and educate the public about its products. They were looking for an outgoing young person to join the team and travel 11 months out of the year. I had really never been out of California, so I jumped on the opportunity. I would get paid to travel and visit new places, while attending car shows every week. What could be any better than that? I have met some fantastic people along the way and have seen more random things than most can say they’ve seen in their lifetime.
How did you start racing and how did you pitch Spectre to put you behind the wheel?
I was first given the opportunity to race for Spectre about two-and-a-half years ago. In 2009, the TV show, "Truck U," wanted to film a segment at the Goodguys Autocross course in Nashville, Tennessee. I jumped at the opportunity. What I didn’t know was that being a female behind the wheel of a car on the autocross would get so much attention. I came in dead last every single race but still received praise and attention just for going out there and participating!
I started in Spectre’s ’70 Mach 1 and ’70 El Camino. Neither car was set up for autocross; it was a constant struggle to improve. The crowd response we got just from taking our cars out to the autocross, racing them a couple times and then driving them back to the booth was amazing. When the car was back in the booth, people who were interested in both the car and the products we had on display filled the area. It was one of the best marketing moves we could have made with the truck and trailer program. Not only was it getting the consumers' attention, but we also started to receive a lot of press from the media and events we attended.
In 2011, I finally got my hands on a car set up specifically for autocross. Spectre built a ’70 Camaro to showcase our bolt-on cold air intakes. The car was built with me in mind, taking my height and size into consideration (I had to use a booster seat in the El Camino). Instead of worrying about little things, such as seeing over the steering wheel, being secure in my seat or having no power steering, I could focus on my driving. With each event I got a little better, but it wasn’t without the help of others. Brian Finch is my autocross driving instructor. Somehow, he just knew how to get through to me to help me with my driving; prepping me mentally before each run, guiding me through each turn and giving me pep talks at the end to either knock me from my pedestal or reassure me that I would get it next time.
The one thing that dad always reminded me was that winning was one thing, but marketing the car and the company were my top priority. Though it was pretty cool to win a couple of events, it was even more important to get people in the car with me, offer strangers a ride and get younger people interested in what I was doing. So, in 2011, I set out on a mission. I tried not to ride alone. I tried to find someone in their late teens, early 20s to come for a ride. I tried to educate youth on what I did with my job, on the road and with my racing. This was more of a personal mission at first, but it turned into a great marketing opportunity for Spectre. Not only did people enjoy going for rides in the Camaro, but I also made sure to make an extra effort to leave an impression on those people and, far more importantly, make sure they were having fun.
What do you like about being on the road?
My passion was always the competition. My problem was I would get intimidated when other people got into the car to go for a ride with me. I would tense up, get sick to my stomach and feel that I needed to take them on the ride of their lives, which usually ended in complete failure with me running over half the cones with a couple stuck under the car by the time I crossed the finish line. This was how I earned my nickname, “Cone Queen.” In 2011, it was a different ballgame. I had a car that was actually set up for me, I was comfortable and secure behind the wheel and my confidence grew with each race.
With a few wins under my belt, I was determined to get over my fear of having passengers in the car, while also encouraging more people to get interested and involved. This has been my new passion ever since—educating the public on autocross, taking people for rides, making them smile and building friendships. It’s not too often that people have the opportunity to travel the county and talk to as many people as I do. The ability to meet all different types of people, build relationships and get people involved in the automotive industry, whether it’s marketing, engineering, racing, etc., is what I love about being on the road. Making a difference (even if it’s a small one) in people’s everyday lives is what I enjoy most.
There aren’t very many women in motorsports. Is being female an advantage or disadvantage?
I struggled with the concept that I was a woman racing in a man’s sport. When I first started racing, there were more bad than good comments each time I went out and drove. I heard people say they shouldn’t let females go out there and drive, that I was in last because I was a female, etc. These did not get to me as much as the sexist comments did. I had guys who would approach me with the intent to hit on me—they didn’t take me seriously as a competitor. At the time, Stacy Tucker from DSE and I were the only women consistently competing in the Goodguys autocross in the Midwest and on the East Coast. It was definitely tough. In 2010, more and more females started coming out with their cars. The West Coast always had female drivers, such as Mary Pozzi. As more females started to come out, people weren’t as shocked to see a woman behind the wheel. It was also nice because all the women started to form a close bond and help each other out—and we started to win.
On the flip side, our industry still has a gender bias. I can’t express how frustrating it is when someone walks up to our trailer to ask a question and will refuse to talk to me, wanting to wait for one of the guys to become available so they can ask them. I had a particular case during one show where a guy refused to talk to me because he didn’t think I knew what I was talking about since I was female. When he finally spoke with our truck driver, our truck driver referred him right back to me. I ended up building a custom intake for his car right at our booth, and he came back the next day saying how happy he was.
It’s extremely hard not to get upset at the time, but I have learned to make these my little missions. I know that I will not be the woman to break down all the stereotypes about females in the automotive industry, but if I can work on one person at a time, that makes a difference.
What would you tell girls who see you race at events around the country?
Have confidence! Females, males, young, old… I can’t tell you how many people I have had come up to me and say, “I wish I could do that, but I don’t think I would be any good.” I am a strong believer that any type of racing will make you a better driver. Autocross helps teach car control and forces you to get to know your car better. I like to talk to my passengers now and point out things the car is doing while we are on the course. This way they are also learning.
My confidence speech goes way further than just the automotive and racing realm, though. I usually reassure any girl who comes up and asks me questions to just be herself. Don’t try to fit in with the guys, don’t try to talk like them or be over confident to make an impression. I have learned that people respect you for just being yourself.
Everyone always comments, though, on how I always have a smile on my face; I am always laughing and how it looks like I am always having a good time. There are times when I am frustrated at my driving for the day or the track may not be ideal, and there are times that I have let my frustration show. So the most important lesson I have learned while on the road is positivity. No matter what happens, what place I am in or anything for that matter, as long as I keep a smile on my face and stay positive, it really makes a good impression on others. Fake it till you make it!
I am not a dress up, wine-and-dine kind of gal, but I have a lot of respect for those types of businesswomen. I prefer to get my hands dirty, work on the Camaro, go out and beat up on the boys. With that, I have control over how I am perceived and how I can encourage other younger females to get involved and have the confidence to succeed in anything they do.
YEN Member Wins iPad for Autistic Son for Membership Initiative Participation
It’s almost noon on a Thursday and I’m driving through rural Oklahoma when my cell phone rings. I look at the screen, which displays the name Bryan Harrison, SEMA's senior manager of councils. Not totally out of the ordinary since I serve on the YEN Select Committee, but I knew we didn’t have a call scheduled for the day. When I answered, he proceeded to congratulate me on winning an iPad for my participation in our YEN membership initiative in which we collectively increased our membership to more than 1,000. We chatted briefly about work and the current state of the industry as a whole and he signed off by saying something along the lines of, “hopefully this brightened your day.” Bryan likely had no idea just how much those words would ring true.
If you’ve met me, you know I’m an outgoing cut-up who doesn’t take things too seriously, but what you may not know about me is that I have a 10-year-old son named Jake who has Asperger’s Syndrome—a high-functioning form of autism. In meeting Jake, he comes off as your average 10-year-old who shares my passion for all things automotive and loves Star Wars and superheroes. But to live with him is to know the constant struggles Jake faces to navigate through daily tasks and situations that most would deem routine.
It should come as no surprise that Jake’s greatest challenges occur in the classroom, and that is why he spends upwards of 10 hours per week working with an occupational therapist on everything from handwriting to how to interact with peers in social situations. This past year, our school district received a grant to purchase a few iPads for the occupational therapy department after recent studies had shown that autistic children responded very well to the touch-screen interaction. My wife and I had been tossing around the idea of purchasing one for Jake at the time that I received the phone call from Bryan. Little did he know, he was not just brightening my day, but brightening Jake's life.
Research has shown that individuals with Asperger’s can go on to lead very normal, fulfilling lives. If you Google “Famous people with Asperger’s,” it will provide you with a surprising list of people, such as Bill Gates and filmmaker Tim Burton, along with suspected historical cases, such as Abe Lincoln, Andy Warhol and Albert Einstein. Even more surprising is the number of children currently born with some form of autism. One in 88 has become the medically recognized statistic of the current rate of children born with autism. With numbers like that, chances are you or somebody you know has some sort of link to autism and, if so, I’d like to hear from you. My e-mail is listed below this article. My 1 in 88, Jake and I would like to say thank you to Bryan Harrison and SEMA for the iPad as it means much more to him than you could ever imagine.
Regional sales manager, BedRug Inc.
YEN Select Committee Member
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 July/August 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
Learn more today.