SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 38, September 20, 2012

SEMA Council & Committee News: Classic Design Concepts Joins the PRO Garage

Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO)
Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)
Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA)
Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC)
Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)
Street Performance Council (SPC)
Wheel & Tire Council (WTC)
SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) Young Executives Network (YEN)


PRO Logo
 
Visit PRO's website.  
  pro
CDC installs a hood system during the 2011 TSTC at Wyotech’s Blairsville, Pennsylvania, campus.
   

Classic Design Concepts Joins the PRO Garage

Since 1990, Classic Design Concepts (CDC) has been an innovator in the design and manufacturing of quality systematic restyling components. Using OE-certified materials and manufacturing procedures that meet or exceed OE standards, CDC’s classic restyling designs offer factory fit and finish with a one-of-a-kind appeal.

PRO’s Technical Skills & Training Conference (TSTC), free with Show registration, is a roll-up-your-sleeves opportunity to sharpen technical skills, gain product knowledge and interact with key suppliers at five learning centers. Product categories include graphics, window and paint protection film, side steps, sunroofs, mobile electronics, custom interiors, heated seats, vehicle connectivity and more. Among the participating PRO-member manufacturers will be 3M, Brandmotion, CalTrend Automotive Products, Check Corp., Eagle Enterprises, Katzkin Leather, Kicker, Roadwire Leather Interiors, Rosen Entertainment Systems, Webasto Product North America, Go Rhino! and Big Country.

Registration is free with SEMA Show registration.

For event details, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

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Industry colleagues network during PRO’s 2011 Novemberfest reception.
   

The SEMA Show PRO Experience

The SEMA Show is just around the corner and the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) has several exciting events and activities scheduled for your benefit. From hands-on training to education and networking, PRO has something to benefit every individual and business. Take a look at the PRO “At-a-Glance” calendar, register and save the dates:

  • Tuesday, October 30, 2012: Novemberfest—SEMA’s version of the famed Octoberfest. PRO’s premier networking event that honors the industry.
  • Thursday, November 1, 2012: Technical Skills & Training Conference (TSTC) at the PRO Garage. Live, interactive installation demonstrations that promote business efficiency and profitability.
  • Thursday, November 1, 2012: Breakfast Meeting. Membership and interested guests discuss council business and industry opportunities over breakfast.
  • Tuesday, October 30–Friday, November 2, 2012: Visit the PRO booth located in North Hall booth #12661 and learn how PRO can help your business.
Be a part of the experience, and network like a PRO.

To learn more, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? PRO Is!

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 September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about PRO, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

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ARMO Logo

Visit ARMO's website.

Why ARMO?

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 jimsk@sema.org for more information.

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? ARMO Is!

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 September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about ARMO, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit HRIA's website
  brod
B Rod or Custom's Pinewood Builders Challenge entry this year resembled a Salt Flats race car.
   

B Rod or Custom Designs Salt Flats Car to Benefit Childhelp and Victory Junction

Some of the nation’s best custom-car and hot-rod builders recently took part in the third-annual Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Pinewood Builders Challenge. Fifteen well-known builders created one-of-a-kind miniature hot rods in the style of Pinewood derby cars. The cars were raced at the annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Races in Pomona, California, with the car built by Derek White of Street Vizions winning the race. All of these cars will be on display at the annual SEMA Show and then placed on eBay for auction from October 30–November 8. All proceeds from the auction will go to support SEMA Cares and its two children’s charities—Childhelp and Victory Junction.

Larry Burchett, owner of B Rod or Custom was one hot-rod builder who participated in the Pinewood Builders Challenge. Meet Larry:

Describe the inspirations behind the design of your Pinewood car.

My son PJ and I feel very honored that B Rod or Custom Inc. was asked to be part of this worthy effort to raise money for two great charities—Childhelp and Victory Junction. It is not very often that I have the luxury to afford to donate to charity or be able to build and give away a car that is an extension of our artistic abilities. So when I was approached at last year's HRIA Awards banquet to build a Pinewood car, my son and I jumped at the opportunity to participate.

  burchett
Larry and PJ Burchett.
   

Describe some of the materials and resources you used to build your car.

I have been a fan of Salt Flats race cars for as long as I can remember, so when PJ and I started planning the Pinewood car, two criteria had to be met—it was going to be the fastest and the best-looking car. So with speed and style in mind, I naturally thought of the cool cars that are raced on the Salt Flats each year, thus the inspiration for the B Rod Flyer.

Why is it important for you to participate in the Pinewood Challenge?

My approach to all of the projects at B Rod is pre-planning and research. And the first thing that I always try to do is get Eric Brockmeyer to reindeer my ideas. We have worked together on several projects in the past and, amazingly, he has always captured my vision in his drawings. Once the look was decided on, the sculpting began. Naturally, part of the Pinewood kit was used, i.e., the wood, but since I am not a woodworker, I did my finish work using materials that I work with each day—body filler and plastic. Next, I asked a friend, who happens to be an engineering professor at the University of Tennessee and also races cars, to suggest the best size and design for maximum wheel performance and weight distribution. Bearings were a critical part of my wheel equation and, again, a friend who owns a bearing company stepped up. And finally, for the maximum visual excitement, the car was painted with Dupont Base/Clear, hand pinstriped and custom graphics were designed to acknowledge the contributors who graciously donated their times and materials.

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? HRIA is!

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

Read HRIA's column featured in the September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about HRIA and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

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Visit LTAA's website.  

RealTruck.com Joins LTAA

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.

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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.”

jeep
All of the parts and accessories shown here and more were donated by LTAA companies for the live Jeep build out.
 
   
jeep
The finished product.
 
   

Thanks to LTAA Manufacturers

LTAA thanks the following manufacturers for donating product that made this LTAA Jeep Build a success:

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

Read LTAA's column featured in the September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about LTAA, contact Jim Skelly.

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MPMC Logo
 
Visit MPMC's website.  

Media Trade Conference Exhibitors Being Notified

A random number lottery process is being used to select 100 lucky MPMC manufacturers from more than 130 applications, for the 2013 MPMC Media Trade Conference. The names of the 100 exhibitors will be released following confirmation and acceptance by each company.

Media registration will open in mid-October for the 2013 event, which occurs January 22–24, 2013, at the Embassy Suites Orange County North in Santa Ana, California.

MPMC Business Guidelines Manual

MPMC-member companies are reminded that the Business Guidelines Manual is now available online through the SEMA Education Institute (SEI). The pdf document is available for viewing, downloading and printing, and is full of information relevant to start ups and long-standing business alike. It was originally written by MPMC members, and by having it available online, the council hopes to continue that tradition by welcoming suggestions for changes or additional content.

You may access the Business Guidelines Manual through the MPMC link on the eLearning Center of SEI. If you have not done so already, simply enroll as an eLearner and you’ll be on your way. Enrollment takes only a few seconds, and helps SEI track use and engagement. If you have any questions, contact Jim Skelly at jimsk@sema.org.

thomson
Chris Thomson
cozzie
Jim Cozzie
funfar
Ron Funfar
dorton
Keith Dorton

MPMC Hall of Fame 2012

MPMC has announced four inductees to the MPMC Hall of Fame, class of 2012. Congratulations to: Jim Cozzie, Keith Dorton, Run Funfar and Chris Thomson.

The four will be formally recognized at the annual MPMC Hall of Fame breakfast, Friday, November 30, 2012, at 8:00 a.m. at the PRI Show in Orlando. Inductees are selected by a special task force from nominations received from the MPMC membership.

“Once again, the task force has selected four very deserving individuals for induction into the MPMC Hall of Fame,” said MPMC Chairman Vic Wood of Hedman. More information on each of the inductees will appear in future issues of SEMA eNews.

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 September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.

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MRC Logo
 
Visit MRC's website.  

A Manufacturer Representatives’ Guide to the SEMA Show

Exclusively for professionals, sales agents and representatives, attendees of the Rep Technology Roundtable will learn how to take advantage of a technological economy and be more profitable. Attendees also will have the opportunity to ask questions and receive practical solutions that address critical areas, such as software applications, business efficiency, eCommerce, web development and product data from such experts as SEMA Data Co-op CEO Jon Wyly; eTool Developers President and Founder Luanne Brown; UPSHIFT Marketing, Principal Bernard Bolisig; and Cie Studios Vice President of Business Development Tyler Tanaka.

Register now! This event will sell out. Contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696 for more details.

At a Glance

  • Sunday, October 28 – Rep Technology Roundtable: 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Las Vegas Hotel (formerly the Hilton) Ballroom D
  • Monday, October 30 – The Truth about Sales & Marketing: Who Works for Whom? 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N257
  • Wednesday, October 31 – How NOT to be a Showroom for Amazon: 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N258
  • Tuesday, October 29 – Friday, November 2: The Rep Center, located in the SEMA Members Lounge, Las Vegas Convention Center, Rooms N245 to N251

For more information, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

What Does it Mean to be a Sales Professional?

SEMA’s Manufacturers Rep Council (MRC) hosts a discussion group on Linkedin for professional reps and sales agents. Recently, MRC asked the question, “In one word, what does it mean to be a sales professional?”

The list as submitted by members of the Linkedin group includes:

  • Credibility
  • Relationships
  • Trust
  • Service
  • Commitment
  • Ethics
  • Produce
  • Knowledge
  • Relevance
  • Value

Join the conversation; join MRC at www.sema.org/li-mrc. For more details on how to get involved or to learn how professional reps and agents can help your business, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

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.

  wyly
John Wyly
   

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, Ballroom D
Price: MRC member: Free; SEMA member: $15; Non-member: $25

Space is limited, so register now! Contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696 for more details.

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 September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MRC, contact Zane Clark.


SBN Logo
 
Visit SBN's website.
 

SBN Members Map Updated   

Fellow SBNer Susan Carpenter has been working hard in updating the SBN members map, including adding new members and member location changes.

This map serves a great purpose. It allows SBN to find fellow members in our area so we can make connections year round. So check out the SBN members map and get to networking!

Join the discussion on MySEMA!

  sbn
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.
   

30 SEMA-Member Companies Supply Products for the 
SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women


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.

Forty 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.

To learn more about the SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women, contact Bryan Harrison, SEMA's senior manager of councils and the build's project manager, at bryanh@sema.org.

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 September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about SBN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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SPC Logo
 
Visit SPC's website.  

RSVP Now for SPC Reception at the 2012 SEMA Show

Each year, the Street Performance Council (SPC) recognizes individuals for their contributions to the street performance industry of the special-equipment market. The winners of these awards will be recognized at the 2012 SEMA Show SPC & YEN Awards Reception taking place Wednesday, October 31, 2012, from 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. at the Las Vegas Hotel. RSVP today!

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 September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about SPC, contact Bryan Harrison.

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Visit WTC's website

  wtc
The Wheel and Tire Council (WTC) will present two SEMA Show sessions, Monday, October 2
   

WTC Offers Two SEMA Show Sessions for Wheel & Tire Professionals

On Monday, October 29, the Wheel and Tire Council (WTC) will present two sessions focused on improving your business. According to Kelly Austin, WTC education chair, “WTC’s focus in delivering educational content is to be timely, relevant and meaningful." In response to the membership's desire to address issues, such as marketing, emerging trends, TPMS and tire safety, the WTC will host two sessions Monday, October 29, from 2:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall room S227.

In “Turning REAL Trends into REAL Revenue,” President and Founder of Exsell Marketing Wayne Williams will share the latest trends in the wheel and tire industry. Williams has more than 30 years’ experience in the automotive aftermarket and is the “counter intelligence” columnist for Modern Tire Dealer. The presentation will incorporate an overview of Google Insights and how this powerful tool can benefit your business by understanding what people search for and how they are searching for your products and your competitors.

The second session, “Finishing the Plus-Sizing Job: Pressure, Labeling and TPMS,” will be presented by Dr. John W. Daws, Daws Engineering. Dr. Daws specializes in the analysis of tire failure and has published papers on the forensic analysis of tire separation and the fitment of plus-size tires to vehicles and its relationship to vehicle handling and stability. Guests will get an understanding of tire-pressure requirements in various plus-sizing alternatives, learn about the vehicle's pressure labeling to conform to DOT safety requirements and good business practices. Dr. Daws will also clarify the impact of tire pressure and labeling requirements with respect to TPMS.

To register, visit WTC Meeting and Presentation.

For more information, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

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

Read WTC's column featured in the September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about WTC and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call or 909/978-6696.

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YEN Logo

Visit YEN's website

RSVP Now for YEN Reception at the 2012 SEMA Show

Each year, the SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN) recognizes the top individuals for their contributions to the industry. The winners of these awards will be recognized at the 2012 SEMA Show YEN Industry Awards Reception taking place October 30, 2012, from 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Hotel. Check out the previous year's award winners.

RSVP today!

The Young Executive of the Year Award is presented to an individual who has had a positive impact on the industry. The YEN Vanguard Award is presented to the individual, business, organization or sanctioning body that has had a positive effect on a young executive's career within the automotive industry.

  morrow
Brandy Morrow
   

YEN Member Spotlight: Brandy Morrow on Winning Respect in a Male-Dominated Industry

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 competitive 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!

Final thoughts?

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.

Matt Reasoner
Regional sales manager, BedRug Inc.
YEN Select Committee Member
mreasoner@bedrug.com

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 September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about YEN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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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.

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