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Cover Section

  • In order to land on our “35 Under 35” list, individuals must first be nominated by one or more industry peers. Pouring through the nominations, SEMA News looks for candidates already displaying leadership qualities within their organization or business. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, and demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the industry weigh heavily in our decision-making. The selection process is never easy—in one way or another, every nominee is a winner—but, ultimately, we reduce the nominations down to 35 finalists to make our special section. When all was said and done for this 2014 edition, we again found ourselves with an impressive roster of highly accomplished individuals making their marks at a young age in a diverse array of industry segments.

Business

  • Jotech Motorsports’ Formula for Success: Love What You Do and See Projects Through

    Jotech Motorsports, located in a 14,000-sq.-ft. facility in an industrial complex three miles off I-635 in Garland, Texas, has been in business for 20 years. The company started in a small, 800-sq.-ft. shop averaging $30,000 in monthly sales of Honda and Acura products. It has since grown to a $150,000–$300,000-per-month business with seven employees.

  • In order to land on our “35 Under 35” list, individuals must first be nominated by one or more industry peers. Pouring through the nominations, SEMA News looks for candidates already displaying leadership qualities within their organization or business. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, and demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the industry weigh heavily in our decision-making. The selection process is never easy—in one way or another, every nominee is a winner—but, ultimately, we reduce the nominations down to 35 finalists to make our special section. When all was said and done for this 2014 edition, we again found ourselves with an impressive roster of highly accomplished individuals making their marks at a young age in a diverse array of industry segments.

Business Technology

  • Jon WylyArguably one of the greatest hockey players ever to pick up a stick, Wayne Gretzky is also credited with one of the most insightful quotes ever about focus and achievement: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” This simple thought captures the essence of staying ahead of the game: Think ahead, pay attention to where things are going, and go for it! Whether you are anticipating future trends in automotive accessories and performance or you’re staying on point with business technology, it’s critical to always be looking forward.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO For decades now, SEMA members have expressed concern about the aging of the automotive specialty segment and the number of young enthusiasts entering the marketplace and our workforce. Addressing those concerns, SEMA has developed a number of initiatives, many of which have matured and grown. There has been expansion of the SEMA Young Executive Network (YEN), now 1,300 strong; development of a robust student program that brings 500-plus automotive students to the SEMA Show each year; and substantial support of other productive youth-oriented automotive programs, such as Hot Rodders of Tomorrow.

Events

  • Four Expert Tips for Building Online Buzz for Your Booth Starting Today

    The latest registration statistics for this year’s SEMA Show indicate a more than 5% increase in the number of buyers planning to hit the Show floor on Tuesday–Friday, November 4–7. With more buyers than ever coming to the Show, an exhibitor’s obvious goal is to entice as many of them into the company booth as possible. You’ll likely do this with new-product introductions, updates to signature product lines, booth demonstrations, project-vehicle reveals and even, perhaps, celebrity appearances. However, all of those tactics do little good if you don’t build buzz about them ahead of time.

  • Exhibiting at the SEMA Show—especially for the first time—can be a logistical labyrinth. But a bit of planning and forethought can result in a straightforward map to success.Advice for First-Time (and Even Long-Time) Exhibitors

    More than 130,000 automotive industry professionals will attend the 2014 SEMA Show, November 4–7, at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), and more than 60,000 of them will be buyers searching the aisles for products to carry in their retail outlets and installation centers. Historically, 87% of those buyers plan to purchase products from the Show’s exhibitors. With some forethought, a bit of research and a successful strategy, even first-time exhibitors can take full advantage of those sales opportunities at what has become the largest annual gathering of small businesses in the United States.

  • Veteran Show attendees know that every first-time exhibitor represents a business opportunity. At the 2014 SEMA Show, attendees will come face-to-face with more than 415 new exhibitors. Visit www.semashow.com/floorplan for a listing of SEMA Show exhibitors.More Than 415 Business Opportunities

    Every first-time exhibitor represents a business opportunity. Attendees, looking for the latest trends and hottest new products, know that new exhibitors can be a tremendous resource. This year (as of July 29, 2014) more than 415 new companies have already registered for a booth at this year’s Show.

    The online list of first-timers represents the leading edge of what will be a strong freshmen class for the 2014 SEMA Show. Buyers can now browse through and note businesses to visit during the 2014 SEMA Show online.

  • Showcasing your products installed on a vehicle at the Show is a great way to get a buyer’s attention.How Fusion Brakes Handled Its Very First SEMA Show

    Thousands of companies exhibit at the SEMA Show each year, and tens of thousands of industry buyers come to the Show for the sole purpose of discovering new products and companies. Of the more than 2,000 exhibitors at the typical SEMA Show, some 400 to 600 are there for the first time. Many are small companies that bring never-before-seen products. In many cases, their decision to exhibit at the SEMA Show represents their single largest marketing cost of the year.

From The Hill

  • Russell Stephens (left), president of MSD Performance, demonstrated one of his company’s products to Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) during the congressman’s visit to the company in El Paso, Texas.MSD Performance Hosts U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke

    For more than four decades, the MSD Performance brand has been synonymous with high-performance ignition parts. The company designs, develops, tests and manufactures its entire line of ignition boxes, distributors, EFI systems, coils, sparkplug wires, crank triggers and other performance parts. While known for producing engine timing accessories for auto enthusiasts and the racing circuit, MSD also has a strong commitment to its hometown of El Paso, Texas. Since 1970, MSD’s presence in the community has grown to five buildings covering 150,000 sq. ft. and more than 500 employees.

Government Affairs

  • Law and Order is an update of some of the most recent federal and state legislative and regulatory issues that could potentially impact the automotive specialty-equipment industry. These include issues affecting small-business owners and their employees.

Industry News

  • Charger SRT8, Ford Ranger, Dodge Challenger SRT8 and Chrysler 300S.

  • Breaking news from SEMA members, including Air Lift, Performance Industry Publications, Enerpulse Technologies, Royal Purple, Ingersoll Rand, Roadwire and more.

  • Westgate Resorts has acquired the LVH–Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The property has been renamed Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.Westgate Resorts has acquired the LVH–Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, making the property the newest addition to the Westgate’s portfolio of 28 resorts. The hotel has been renamed Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The new Westgate is located one block off the Las Vegas Strip, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and is one of seven stations on the Las Vegas Monorail.

  • The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Championship will use a dual-championship format for 2014, and qualifying teams will face off at one of the two top industry trade shows—SEMA or PRI.  Facilitators of the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge have introduced a new dual championship format so that qualifying teams will face off at one of the two top industry trade shows—SEMA or PRI. The top two teams from the SEMA Show in November will take on the top two teams from PRI in December in the finale to crown the 2014 Engine Challenge Champion.

    Hot Rodders of Tomorrow is a nonprofit organization that hosts nationwide Engine Challenges, where high-school teams compete against each other in complete engine rebuilds. All of the teams work hard to complete the regular season to reach the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Championship.

  • Jonathan Mill (standing), 2013 SEMA Launch Pad winner, pitched his E-Stopp business to the judging panel at last year’s SEMA Show.In July, 10 young automotive entrepreneurs were selected from a large pool of competitors for the 2014 Launch Pad competition. The competition offers innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 a platform to showcase their businesses for marketing a new automotive product or service.

    In July, 10 young automotive entrepreneurs were selected from a large pool of competitors for the 2014 Launch Pad competition. The competition offers innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 a platform to showcase their businesses for marketing a new automotive product or service.

  • Exhibitors can generate excitement for new products and Show-related announcements through the SEMA Show Online Media Center.  The SEMA Show Online Media Center is now available for exhibiting companies to submit show-related press releases to be included on the SEMA Show website, used in association publications and promoted to media attendees. The Online Media Center was designed specifically for journalists to find Show-related news and announcements. With more than 3,000 media in attendance, exhibiting companies will benefit by spotlighting their newest and most innovative products to direct media attention to their booths.

International

  • Top specialty-equipment distributors and retailers will talk about the challenges and opportunities in their markets at roundtable discussions to be held November 3 (the day before the SEMA Show opens), in room N259 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. SEMA companies interested in expanding their sales overseas or wishing to gain a foothold in key international markets for the first time should start planning now to take advantage of one of the biggest international events of the year—the 2014 SEMA Show. During the first week of November, resellers from more than 130 countries interested in purchasing performance and styling products will be descending on Las Vegas for the SEMA Show. In fact, early figures show that 25% of all buyers expected to attend this year’s Show reside outside the United States, which is similar to the percentage at the 2013 Show.

Internet

  • With technology’s relentless evolution, businesses have a fresh crop of digital tools that they can use to pinpoint hot recruiting prospects in cyberspace and grab la crème de la crème before they get away. Social-media sniffers, mobilized career websites and video interviewing have all received major upgrades in the past year, making it even easier for businesses to snag prime candidates.For Many, a Bitter Pill

    Businesses smarting over Facebook’s decision to severely limit their ability to communicate with people who like their business pages on the social network recently got an explanation from the web titan about the policy change. But many aren’t buying it.

    “Facebook wants us to pay for real estate that we used to get for free,” said Leslie Nuccio, creative strategist for Meltwater, a social media monitoring and press relations firm.

Member News

  • To gain the most from your trip to the SEMA Show, you must have a plan in place before hitting the floor. It’s important to be intentional about what you include in your agenda, and it’s never too early to start planning. Apart from doing business, many opportunities exist to connect with others in the industry and take the next step toward engagement in the association. Here are a few things that members will want to build into their schedules.

  • Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) - SEMA CouncilIt’s official! Four incumbents and three freshmen have joined the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) select committee. Incumbents include Bob Carnahan; Dave Edmondson, Roadwire Inc.; Ginger Glover, Truckers Toy Store; and Ellen McKoy, EMK Marketing. Newcomers are Kimberly Callahan, Insignia Group; Mike Timmons, BedRug; and Steve Weimar, Rosen Entertainment Products. SEMA Member News recently asked the committee members about their goals and the reasons they’ve chosen to get involved.

  • SEMA Scholarships CommitteeThe SEMA Show Student Program gives young people a glimpse of the industry as part of the association’s effort to reach out and pull in the next generation of professionals to the specialty-equipment market. Last year’s event boasted record participation by more than 400 attendees from 45 colleges and technical institutions.

  • Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) - SEMA CouncilThe Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) welcomed three new select committee members on July 1. Chris Thomson, national sales manager for Airaid, Lee McGuire, director of marketing and operations for Skyjacker Suspensions, and Steve Whipple, vice president of sales for Edelbrock LLC, will use their platforms as council leaders to help guide the direction of the group for the good of the whole industry. The three recently shared some of their goals for their terms.

  • Over the summer, 10 members of the Young Executives Network (YEN) embarked on the Hot Rod Power Tour to promote the network and highlight the variety of career choices available to young professionals in the automotive specialty-equipment market. The tour route began in Charlotte, North Carolina, and visited Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana before ending in Iowa. Amy Fitzgerald, Ian Lehn, Scott Lowe, Paul Makarucha, Brit Mansell, Jonathan Mill, Michelle “Missy” Perez, Dylan Sievers, Kirstin Stone and Jerid Suchy were chosen to participate through an application process.

  • After celebrating its 20th anniversary milestone last year, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) continues its momentum by powering numerous 2014 SEMA Show events. With an emphasis on networking and fostering the growth of the next generation of women leaders in the aftermarket industry, the SBN introduces four events that are open for registration.

  • Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) - SEMA CouncilOn July 1, three individuals joined the select committee for the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA). Jason Christiansen, president and CEO of Rigid Industries, Erika Garcia, national sales manager for Bolt Locks by Strattec, and Jerrod Strauss, director of sales and marketing for T-Rex Truck Products Inc., will join Todd Hoffman of A.R.E. Accessories and Kathryn Reinhardt of MagnaFlow, who were re-elected to fill the remaining two seats on the committee. SEMA Member News caught up with the three new members to share an introduction.

  • Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) - SEMA CouncilThis year, the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) joins the Posies Driven Dirty Tour with the goal of connecting a new generation to opportunities in the industry. The route will run October 25–November 2 from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The tour is a natural fit with HRIA’s Futures in Hot Rodding initiative, which is an effort to encourage the industry’s next generation by identifying, communicating and promoting hot-rod-specific educational resources and career opportunities.

  • Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) - SEMA CouncilEach year, manufacturer members of the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) submit products to the Hot Product Showcase in order to gain exposure for their businesses. This year marked the 17th annual event at Spring Carlisle, one of the world’s largest gatherings of automotive restoration enthusiasts. The 2014 event was held April 23–26 and boasted more than 60 products from 24 ARMO-member companies.

  • Manufacturers Representative Network (MRN) - SEMA CouncilThe recent running of the Triple Crown horse races reminded me of Secretariat, perhaps the most famous horse ever and winner of the Triple Crown back in 1973. If you haven’t seen the 2010 movie Secretariat, you need to. Both inspirational and motivational, the film provides us with some great sales and life lessons. Perhaps even more are found in the lives of the jockey, Ronnie Turcotte; the trainer, Lucien Laurin; and especially the owner, Penny Chenery.

  • Emerging Trends and Technology Network (ETTN) - SEMA CouncilFor the first time, the Emerging Trends and Technology Network (ETTN) will partner with SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN) to host an after-hours reception for members at the SEMA Show. By holding the event in conjunction with YEN, ETTN hopes to provide its members with an opportunity to connect with others outside of the network. Since there is quite a bit of crossover in membership between the groups, a joint networking event is a natural fit.

  • On July 1, two freshman members were elected to the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) select committee. SEMA Member News interviewed Gavin Horlick of Voxx Wheel and Cheralyn Hale of Achilles Tire to learn more about their industry backgrounds and goals for their terms.

    SEMA Member News: What is your history in the industry and in the council?

New Products

  • New product launches from WD-40, DeoxIT Products, 3M, QuietRide Solutions,  Fuelab, CTEK, Malco Products, PML and UnderCover.

Required Reading

  • Attendee, exhibitor and media registration for the 2014 SEMA Show is available online at www.SEMAShow.com.  Beginning November 4, the eyes of the automotive world will be on the Las Vegas Convention Center and the annual SEMA Show. This year’s Show will be a mixture of new products, vehicle debuts and exciting events, such as the SCORE Baja 1000 event which will be held for the first time in conjunction with the Show. With more than 130,000 attendees, this year’s Show promises to be something truly special. Here’s what the media highlighted from the 2013 SEMA Show and what they are previewing for the 2014 SEMA Show.

SEMA Heritage

  • Were you to park a ’14 Chevy Malibu next to a ’56 Bel Air and open the hoods of each, the contrast would be remarkable. The Malibu’s short, wide engine bay is so full of plastic covers, tubes, hoses, wires, bottles and other equipment that the car’s four-cylinder engine is barely visible—if at allWere you to park a ’14 Chevy Malibu next to a ’56 Bel Air and open the hoods of each, the contrast would be remarkable. The Malibu’s short, wide engine bay is so full of plastic covers, tubes, hoses, wires, bottles and other equipment that the car’s four-cylinder engine is barely visible—if at all. The Bel Air’s Turbo-Fire V8, on the other hand, stands out in the ’56 Chevy’s spacious engine compartment, covered in bright orange paint and hooked to a canister air cleaner, a couple of radiator hoses and little else. Ask any shadetree mechanic why he prefers to work on old collector cars over today’s computer- and emissions-controlled vehicles and the answer usually comes down to: “They were so much simpler then.”