2011 SEMA Board Elections: Taking Away Your Right to Vote?

SEMA News—June 2011

  Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO  
   
If you care enough about the above headline to have read this sentence, it’s probably because you value your right to vote. And you should value it—at every level of opportunity. The good news is that no one is taking away your right to vote in the SEMA Board of Directors elections. But, we hope that the nerve we just hit will cause many of you to realize your vote is taken away every time you fail to submit your vote. SEMA Board members guide the use of a powerful arsenal of SEMA resources, and you’d be upset if we said you no longer have a say in the matter. So this year, start a new habit and vote!

In this issue, you’ll have the opportunity to review the profiles of our candidates for the 2011–2013 SEMA Board of Directors. Our nominees come from member businesses representing all categories of the aftermarket. All are volunteers, spanning a broad range of age and experience.

As per our bylaws, SEMA-member companies nominated this year’s group, and winners will be selected by the votes of SEMA-member companies. Through this mechanism, the members themselves run SEMA, with the Board operating as the steering and strategy team. I want to thank the many members who participated in the nomination process and thank in advance all of you this year who will be first-time voters (as well as all regular voters).

All Board members have one thing in common: They choose to give up their own time to help address our collective problems and opportunities. In their role as Board members, they help guide the association in a number of ways:

  • They help prioritize the allocation of SEMA resources to important member programs and services—the very benefits that can make a significant difference for your company and your employees.
  • They help decide what positions the association should take when it comes to regulations and laws that might affect member companies.

Looking back, almost every SEMA Board of Directors has faced the need to make difficult decisions. One memorable milestone came when the Board decided to move the SEMA Show to Las Vegas. At the time, it was a gamble. But in the end, the decision let the Show grow in value for the participating companies and the industry.

The decision to open a Washington office and to subsequently create a Political Action Committee was another Board-driven initiative. The net result was to change the way the aftermarket is perceived in Washington.

A third example, SEMA’s establishment of the system of standards and testing that allows performance modifications under the California Air Resources Board Executive Order program, represents another Board-backed turning point. Without dedicating the right level of resources to find a path to street-legal performance, the specialty-equipment landscape would be radically different today.

There really is not a huge amount of glory that comes with serving on the Board. As volunteers, Board members spend time away from work and family to contribute to the industry as a whole. Their businesses make a sacrifice, since these key executives will sometimes be removed from day-to-day demands as they help address problems that we all face. Their reward comes from the opportunity to share their experience, to learn and grow professionally, and to make a long-term difference in the industry. It’s a big responsibility; the decisions they make in 2011 may very well affect us all.

It’s understandable that not all SEMA-member companies are able to commit the time and energy it takes to serve on the Board of Directors. But each member company has a voice when it comes to selecting the people who do. We sent hard-copy election materials that detail your choices and the very quick and easy voting process. The election ballot materials should have arrived around May 16, so check your mailboxes. To enhance your chance to participate, voting will be online this year at your convenience.

Don’t let anyone take away your vote. Take 10 minutes, and make it happen.

—Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO