Meet the Candidates for Chairman-Elect Category

SEMA News—June 2011

Doug Evans

Source Interlink Media

 
   
SEMA News:
Why are you running for Chair-Elect of the SEMA Board of Directors?

Doug Evans: These are critical and challenging times in the legislative and regulatory area, with our supply chain, aging demographics and the economy. I think the experience I have gained across all segments of the SEMA marketplace, with all types of SEMA members, gives me a broad perspective that will enable me to keep moving everyone in our industry forward. We will face our collective challenges together moving into the future, and I can help. During my years on the ARMO Select Committee and, subsequently with the SEMA Board of Directors, I have focused particularly on legislative and regulatory issues while encouraging a new generation to join the hobby and industry. Those will continue to be my priorities.

SN: If elected, what will be your top three priorities while in office?

DE: My top three are as follows:

  1. Provide a full-court press to stop legislation and regulation that damage our ability to do business and to support and promote legislation that is pro enthusiast and pro small business.
  2. I will work with the SEMA Board and membership to fully understand the changes that are occurring in the supply chain and help our members deal with it in a proactive way. This means that we must continue to foster a positive environment for traditional distribution models while understanding that dramatic changes are impacting the supply chain. We must understand how these changes impact how we market now and in the future.
  3. I will work to diversify revenue streams for SEMA, ensuring that the SEMA Show stays affordable and accessible to all members. If I may, I would add a fourth priority: a real and significant youth initiative for the industry. We all talk about it a lot, but it is a very serious problem that needs attention now.

SN: In your opinion, what SEMA-member benefit is the most underutilized and why?

 
CANDIDATE BIOGRAPHY

Our marketplace is undergoing unprecedented change impacted by business technology, the Internet, supply chain evolution, globalization, an aging enthusiast demographic and governmental intrusions, to name just a few. As your SEMA Chairman, I will take decisive action to help members understand these forces of change and arm you with information to make better business decisions to maintain and grow your companies. For the term of my service, I will make the following my priorities:

Legislative/Regulatory: Monitoring and quickly acting upon legislative and regulatory developments and working to keep government out of our wallets and out of our sports.

Stimulating the Business Environment: I am proposing a series of research and educational initiatives that will share business knowledge and best practices, providing members easier access to critical information. I will focus on youth involvement and engaging new enthusiasts to ensure SEMA’s future. I will focus on business technology and helping our members to understand and utilize these emerging technologies to grow our segment and make us more profitable.

OEM Relations: I want to use my long-time working relationships with the Detroit Three to improve and bolster SEMA status with our OEM partners. I will continue to develop a more positive and cooperative dialogue with OEMs over trademark issues, and I will work to gain access to measurement and fitment data critical to getting new parts and accessories to market faster.

SEMA Branding and Revenue: I am committed to increasing the visibility of the SEMA brand and developing new revenue streams for the association, ensuring SEMA’s long-term financial health. I will be vigilant in developing new ways to make the SEMA Show more attractive and affordable to attract high-quality companies and buyers from all over the world.

Thirty Years of Industry and SEMA experience:

  • Source Interlink Media Executive Vice President and Group Publisher
  • ARMO Council, three terms
  • ARMO Special Recognition Award, 2005
  • SEMA Person of the Year, 2009
  • ARMO Hall of Fame, 2010
  • SEMA Board of Directors, three terms
  • SEMA Executive Committee, 2009
  • SEMA Political Action Committee
    Current Chairman
  • SEMA Governance Committee
  • SEMA PAC President’s Club six-year Member
  • Current Chairman, Save the Salt Foundation
  • Performance Warehouse Association Member
   
DE:
I believe that the most underutilized membership benefit is the SEMA Education Institute (SEI). The expansion of technology in both vehicles and our business processes demands that we all are better trained. While this program was well conceived and is a critical tool for the industry, the rollout could not have come at a worse time two years ago. As the economy rebounds, I think that participation will increase and, given the proper attention and promotion, members will embrace this as a valuable learning tool.

SN: Do you see an increased role for SEMA in helping members recover from the recession?

DE: Yes, I feel that SEMA can play a role in helping the membership in this time of recovery. SEMA acted to identify several key banks that understand the industry and are ready to loan members money. We need to continue that program. But there is more we need to understand.

When markets undergo stress, as ours has the last couple of years, they change. It is critical to understand what changes have occurred and which of those will be short-lived and which are more permanent and will reshape the way we do business going forward. That is one of the reasons that I have been advocating a series of market and supply studies to better understand several key dynamics in our marketplace, such as how consumer buying behavior is changing, the impact of technology and the Internet on our segment and how our supply chain is evolving and changing. When our members are armed with information, they can make smarter business decisions to help their businesses survive and prosper.

SN: In the search for growth opportunities, where do you see the biggest potential in the specialty-equipment industry?

DE: In a word: technology. Back in the ’80s, everyone was predicting bad times for the industry because electronics were playing a bigger role in new cars and trucks and we were coming out of a recession. SEMA members rose to the challenge and produced significant growth for the industry, delivering world-class products to enthusiasts. Today, we are again at a crossroads with complex vehicle technology and are again coming out of a devastating recession.

We need to embrace technology and continue our aggressive policy of technology transfer from the OEMs. This will make our products timely and relevant for the 21st century. It will also help us lead the world in creating power and overall performance while increasing efficiency and leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

Technology is changing everything we do in business and how our consumers find and buy our products. Technology is impacting how and what we watch and read, how we identify products to buy, how we track and manage inventory, how we run our manufacturing plants, etc. We need to fully understand these areas of change and educate SEMA members about how to react and adapt to these challenges to grow both the industry and individual businesses.

SN: Vehicle technology, including alternative fuels and hybrid power solutions, continue to make headlines and cause considerable debate about the future of the automobile. In your opinion, what are the major challenges and possible opportunities associated with this issue?

DE: See above! To elaborate, I believe that this has positive ramifications for SEMA companies. We just built an LS-powered race car for Circle Track magazine that produces 550 hp and emits less pollution than a Toyota Prius. We did this using existing products and technology produced and developed by SEMA companies.

SEMA companies can lead the world in developing cleaner and efficient products that do not sacrifice power and performance; we just need to tell our story. Our biggest challenge will be facing off with legislation and regulatory action that is kneejerk and loaded with unintended consequences. A good example of this is what mandated ethanol levels in gasoline are doing to the cost of food worldwide. It is up more than 20% and climbing! This is unacceptable.

SEMA needs to stay front and center on these issues. As chair-elect and chairman, I will continue my goal to get over half of the U.S. House and Senate as members of our Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus. We have made tremendous gains on both sides of the aisle with the caucus, and we need to keep going. If elected, I will do just that and work to leave this industry in the best place it’s ever been.

SN: What do you see on the legislative and/or regulatory front that poses the greatest concern for SEMA members?

DE: I see many threats. The federal government, against the will of the western states, is quietly trying to designate millions of acres of land as protected wilderness area. This all sounds good, but in doing so, they close all existing roads and trails to any motorized vehicles. This means that you walk or ride a horse in order to see it. This is foolish and serves no purpose. It is also devastating to all our companies that make off-road parts and equipment, and that trickles down to everything else from camshafts to
air cleaners.

States continue to attempt to pass ill-conceived laws ranging from bans on all aftermarket exhaust systems to rules allowing local government agencies to seize project cars from your yard under the guise of calling them abandoned vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to float proposed regulations ranging from things such as banning any wheels more than 20 in. to designating any vehicle with engine modifications a race car and, hence, illegal for street use. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also joining the fray and considering national rules banning any engine modifications anywhere except for race cars.

It is scary stuff that all of us need to fight. This is why SEMA’s Washington, D.C. office is so critical. As chair-elect and chairman, I will pledge to spend a lot of time there, in addition to Diamond Bar.

SN: One last request: Would you explain the importance of the role of the Board in the SEMA organization, and why SEMA members need to vote in this year’s Board of Directors election?

DE: Yes! To everyone reading these words, this is your association. Make it work for you and your company! The SEMA Board is critical because we are your elected representatives who help steer the efforts of SEMA to best represent the current and future needs for your company and the industry. Historically, participation in SEMA elections has been low, and this is a problem. We have many fine people who serve on the Board. They need to hear from all of the members on an ongoing basis. The first and best way to be heard is to vote!

 

Nate Shelton

B&M Automotive Group

 
   
SEMA News: Why are you running for Chair-Elect of the SEMA Board of Directors?

Nate Shelton: We are going through some pretty tough times, and I was approached by several of my colleagues that were very concerned about having someone at the head of the association with the kind of experience it takes to guide the association through these tough times.

I have proven that I have that kind of experience by leading the association through the dark days of 9/11 and for the two years proceeding those tragic days.

SN: If elected, what will be your top three priorities while in office?

NS: At the top of my list will be to find ways to solicit more input and involvement from the membership. Without the membership having this kind of input, how will we know what the needs of the membership are? Secondly, we need to make sure our membership is kept abreast of the latest manufacturing technologies, the most current OE innovations and state-of-the-art marketing trends. We need to educate them in the skills they need to compete in today’s world markets.

I also believe we need to continue to stay abreast of state and federal regulatory and legislative issues. We must keep all markets open to our membership.

This association is built to serve our membership; we must keep our membership healthy because without the membership, we have no association.

SN: In your opinion, what SEMA-member benefit is the most underutilized and why?

 
CANDIDATE BIOGRAPHY

Fellow SEMA members,

I am honored to run for SEMA Chairman of the Board at a critical moment to both SEMA and the aftermarket. I love this business and have dedicated my career to making both the industry and SEMA better.

We are experiencing tough economic times and need strong leadership to guide SEMA to a more prosperous future. Dealing with these challenges requires experienced leadership and the ability to hit the ground running. SEMA needs a chairman that has weathered difficult circumstances and won’t need a learning curve. I have chaired many committees, was founding chairman of the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council, served on your Board of Directors for 12 years and was elected SEMA Chairman of the Board in 2001.

In 2001, I led the association through the tragedy of 9/11. After considerable assessment of the economy and working in partnership with our members, we led the nation as the first major trade show in the face of adversity the likes of which the American economy had never faced before. I believe that single decision elevated the SEMA Show to the premier international automotive trade show in the world.

During my time as chair, we established aggressive yet safe investment guidelines that grew SEMA’s reserves at the greatest rate ever experienced by the association. This gave SEMA the fiscal foundation to weather today’s challenges. We applied prudent accounting practices and brought spending into alignment with Board expectations. Many of these practices are still used today.

This association exists to serve you—its members. Without your input, we can’t chart a course for the future. I have been a car guy, small-business owner, manufacturer and salesman my entire life. I understand the needs of our members and that SEMA must help and guide its members to secure the future of this industry from economic and regulatory woes.

I know this is the experience and passion you want from your association’s next chairman-elect. Together, we will identify membership issues and increase member input to ensure that the decisions made by SEMA benefit the association and address the real problems we all face. Together we can build an industry and overcome our current economic struggles.

Thank you for your vote.

   
NS:
The most underutilized benefit offered by SEMA is definitely the opportunities the association offers us to see and measure new vehicles from the OEs. This opportunity gives our members the opportunity to view, measure and fit-check their products on pre-release vehicles.

This allows our manufacturers to test existing products or help in the design of new products. It further gives you the opportunity to ensure quality and greatly speeds their time to market—a super critical advantage for those that will get involved.

SN: Do you see an increased role for SEMA in helping members recover from the recession?

NS: Absolutely, by helping our membership get early access to new vehicles. By providing them with technical data from the OEs, we can help them get to market quicker with higher-quality products.

Through seminars, white papers and webinars, we can educate the membership in the newest marketing trends and technologies, so they can reach out to more customers in more regions of the country with a greater diversity of interests.

Lastly, through the creation of better methods of making sure customers, end users and wholesalers are aware of the products that are available through the membership. That really means not only here domestically, but also throughout the rest of the world!

SN: In the search for growth opportunities, where do you see the biggest potential in the specialty-equipment industry?

NS: I actually see two very big growth opportunities. The first is being able to build and offer for sale products that can be used on new-model vehicles.

Too many of our manufacturers do not have products for the later-model vehicles.

As an association, we need to help our membership with the technology and information to build more products for these late-model vehicles.

The other area is international opportunities. With many countries in the world becoming more affluent and with more cars being sold worldwide, we have got to help our membership get to these international opportunities.

SN: Vehicle technology, including alternative fuels and hybrid power solutions, continue to make headlines and cause considerable debate about the future of the automobile. In your opinion, what are the major challenges and possible opportunities associated with this issue?

NS: This is the area that I think we have been talking about throughout these questions.

The major challenge is making sure our membership understands these technologies, has access to them and is developing products for them.

The opportunities are new products based around these new technologies. We have always been a creative bunch, and if we are not locked out from the technology, we will definitely develop many new-to-the-world products!

SN: What do you see on the legislative and/or regulatory front that poses the greatest concern for SEMA members?

NS: There are too many to be able to talk to them all! There is some type of legislation or regulations directed at almost every sector of our membership. They are not all directed at our manufacturing members with such issues as sound, lighting, safety, emissions, etc., but they are also directed at our distributors, retailer and installers with issues such as state nexus laws, labor laws, accounting and auditing regulations, etc.

This is exactly why we must work hard to keep the association healthy! Only the association can pull the membership together so we can draw on their intelligence and understanding to help defeat or at least get reasonable solutions to all of these legislative and regulatory issues.

SN: One last request: Would you explain the importance of the role of the Board in the SEMA organization, and why SEMA members need to vote in this year’s Board of Directors election?

NS: The SEMA Board of Directors should be your life line to the issues that are affecting our industry and your business.

We must have people involved at this level that understand your concerns—people that are approachable, willing to listen to your needs and have been involved in the same types of business that you are so that they can develop solutions that make a difference.

It is of the upmost importance that you vote for your Board members if you want the right people both speaking for you and making decisions about
your future.

I have been involved in this industry since 1972 and have worked in the areas of manufacturing, distribution and retail and also as a manufacturer’s representative.

I have had success in each of these areas, and I believe that I am the best-rounded choice for your next SEMA Board of Directors chairman.

Let someone who knows and understands this industry lead it through these tumultuous times!