SEMA Leadership Summit

SEMA News—October 2012

EVENTS
By Mike Imlay

SEMA Leadership Summit

Themes of Service and Collaboration Mark Annual Industry Gathering

  SEMA’s annual Leadership Summit program included meetings that addressed a host of vital issues facing the association and the specialty-equipment industry at large.
SEMA’s annual Leadership Summit program included meetings that addressed a host of vital issues facing the association and the specialty-equipment industry at large.
   
  SEMA council leaders took a brief time out from their busy schedule to pose for a group photo.
SEMA council leaders took a brief time out from their busy schedule to pose for a group photo. The leadership gathering took place July 25–27, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California. 
   
Since its inception, the automotive specialty-equipment industry has relied on the dedication and passion of countless business-minded individuals for its success. As the industry’s premier trade association, SEMA has long celebrated the spirit of volunteerism that prompts many of these individuals to give back. In fact, the association depends on such volunteerism for its very existence—its Board of Directors and council leadership are composed entirely of aftermarket professionals who donate their own time and talents to advance the industry’s goals. To support and recognize these leaders, SEMA again presented its annual Leadership Summit program July 25–27, at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona, California. The following are some highlights from the three-day industry gathering.

Sitting Down to Business

Starting Wednesday, July 25, the program saw a series of high-level meetings of both the SEMA Board of Directors and council chairmen and chairmen-elect in the 15th Annual Council Leadership Summit. According to Nathan Ridnouer, SEMA vice president of councils and membership, “The purpose of the Summit was really threefold. First, it was to provide some training for our volunteer leaders. The second goal was to identify opportunities for collaboration among our 10 councils. The third goal was to create an atmosphere for open and honest dialogue and really hear from the 20 council chairs and chairs-elect gathered in one room. This is really the only opportunity each year where these 20 volunteers are able to meet in person and discuss issues of critical importance to the industry.”

Michael Daigneault of Quantum Governance facilitated the volunteer training segment of the gathering. Council Summit discussions also addressed a wide array of industry concerns, including youth engagement and marketing, the value of consumer marketing, increased charitable work through the SEMA Cares philanthropic initiatives and such legislative issues as counterfeit and knock-off products as well as taxation. In addition, council leaders spent time with the Board of Directors to improve communications between the two leadership bodies.

“While there never seems to be enough time for the two groups to meet, some extremely good dialogue took place,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “The Board presented proposals to the group regarding how the councils would be more engaged in the strategic planning process and a solution for improved communication and collaboration between the councils and Board. Through this discussion, the group refocused its meeting to come together as a leadership body for the purpose of identifying top challenges for all 10 councils. The end result was incredibly positive.”

Racing for a Cause

  The ever-popular SEMA Pinewood Drag Races—Presented by eBay Motors featured hundreds of pinewood cars constructed primarily by the children of Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp.
The ever-popular SEMA Pinewood Drag Races—Presented by eBay Motors featured hundreds of pinewood cars constructed primarily by the children of Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp.
   
As they have since 2007, the popular SEMA Pinewood Drag Races, Presented by eBay Motors, added a fun, philanthropic element to the pre-banquet festivities on Friday, July 27. An effort of SEMA Cares, the races offer industry professionals and enthusiasts the chance to raise funds for Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp, two children’s charities. The racing featured hundreds of pinewood cars constructed primarily by the children of these two organizations and sponsored by SEMA-member companies.

Founded in 1959, Childhelp is a leading national nonprofit dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. The charity handles about 175,000 calls to its hotline every year and is helping approximately 7,000 children through its advocacy centers and California and Virginia villages. Meanwhile, the Victory Junction Camp seeks to enrich the lives of children suffering from chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses through life-changing camping experiences in a safe and medically sound environment. Victory Junction is set in 72 acres in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina and has a racing theme, with the sights, sounds, look and feel of a racetrack.

The annual drag races include three principal vehicle classes: Stock, Modified and Unlimited. There is also a Build It for Me/Sponsor a Child category, where a child from Childhelp or Victory Junction Camp builds a car and a member-company representative races it on the child’s behalf.

In addition, the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Builders Race brought a special design flair to the competition, with 21 of the nation’s best hot-rod and custom-car builders putting their skills to the test in miniature, each creating a one-of-a-kind pinewood car for the event. Now that the cars have been raced, they will be on display from October 30–November 2 at the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas and placed on eBay for auction through November 8. All proceeds from their auction will go directly to Childhelp and the Victory Junction Camp.

The final heat for this year’s Pinewood Drag Races was the Council Cup Challenge, which pitted SEMA-member company representatives on SEMA’s 10 councils and committees against one another for council honors. This time around, the Weathers Auto Supply Pinewood Truck sponsored by the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) took the cup. It was represented trackside by George Lathouris, LTAA chairman.

“These races are always an exciting highlight to our banquet day,” said SEMA Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray. “Not only do we thank everyone who participated, but we also extend a very special thank you to our title sponsor, eBay Motors. SEMA Cares is a wonderful example of how people in this industry are able to selflessly work together to help better the lives of others.”

Official Pinewood Race Results

  The ever-popular SEMA Pinewood Drag Races—Presented by eBay Motors featured hundreds of pinewood cars constructed primarily by the children of Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp.   
 

Cars crafted especially for the HRIA Builders Race added a distinctive flair to the Pinewood Drag Races. They will next be displayed at the 2012 SEMA Show and then auctioned on eBay to benefit Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp.

  The ever-popular SEMA Pinewood Drag Races—Presented by eBay Motors featured hundreds of pinewood cars constructed primarily by the children of Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp.   
Build It for Me Class
Winner: AJ Kuck, Transfer Flow
2nd Place: Kim Ziebell, Bushwacker
3rd Place: Mandi Woodell, Weathers Auto Supply

Stock Class
Winner: Nate and Tom Gattuso, SEMA
2nd Place: SBN Built and Sponsored
3rd Place: Travis and Janette White Built With Childhelp Children, Rampage Products

Modified Class
Winner: Eric Saltrick, Matt Agosta, Steel Rubber
2nd Place: Nicholas Hoffend, Freeman Company
3rd Place: Chuck Schwartz, ConvExx

Unlimited Class
Winner: John Menzler, Competition Cams
2nd Place: Russell Stephens, MSD Ignition
3rd Place: Nicholas Hoffend, Freeman Co.

Council Cup Challenge
Weathers Auto Supply Pinewood Truck, sponsored by LTAA and represented trackside by George Lathouris, LTAA Council Chairman

HRIA Builder’s Race
Derek White, Street Visions

The Industry Celebrates

More than 450 members of the automotive specialty-equipment industry attended the annual SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California, on Friday, July 27. The gathering thanked departing SEMA Board of Directors members for their services, recognized new members and honored 2012 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees Nick Arias Jr., Bill France Sr., Mark Heffington and Bob Larivee Sr.

A reception at the Pomona venue launched the evening’s festivities. Emcee Dave McClelland hosted, while SEMA Chairman of the Board Paul “Scooter” Brothers provided the opening remarks, welcoming attendees to the event.

SEMA Chairman Paul “Scooter” Brothers of COMP Performance Group advised attendees to prepare for a year of soon-to-be-disclosed association initiatives designed to take the industry in exciting new directions.
SEMA Chairman Paul “Scooter” Brothers of COMP Performance Group advised attendees to prepare for a year of soon-to-be-disclosed association initiatives designed to take the industry in exciting new directions 
    Comedian and self-professed “car guy” Christopher Titus offered a sneak peek of the laugh routine he plans for the upcoming 2012 SEMA Show Banquet in Las Vegas.
Comedian and self-professed “car guy” Christopher Titus offered a sneak peek of the laugh routine he plans for the upcoming 2012 SEMA Show Banquet in Las Vegas. 
    Aftermarket News, Automotive Industry News, Automotive News, Automobile Events
More than 450 members of the automotive specialty-equipment industry attended the annual SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser at the Sheraton Fairplex on Friday, July 27.

The newly elected members to the SEMA Board of Directors include Russell Stephens, president of MSD Performance, and Nick Gramelspacher, national sales manager of Meyer Distributing. Outgoing Board members Ron Funfar of Hedman Performance Group, Adrian Murray of Painless Performance, John Iannotte of NA Williams Co., Ed Orzetti of Keystone Automotive Operations, Bob Moore of J&B Service, Chris Thomson of Airaid Filter Co. and Tim Watts of Superlift Suspension Systems were recognized for their substantial contributions to the industry.

During the banquet, renowned comedian Christopher Titus—a self-professed “car guy”—gave the crowd a sneak peek of what to expect when he headlines the 2012 SEMA Show Banquet in Las Vegas, bringing the room to sustained laughter.

SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting remarked on the spirit of innovation, service and leadership at the heart of the specialty-equipment industry.
SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting remarked on the spirit of innovation, service and leadership at the heart of the specialty-equipment industry.
    Russell Stephens of MSD Performance (second from right) is welcomed to the SEMA Board of Directors by Kersting; Rick Rollins (second from left), the Board’s immediate past chairman; and Brothers.
Comedian and self-professed “car guy” Christopher Titus offered a sneak peek of the laugh routine he plans for the upcoming 2012 SEMA Show Banquet in Las Vegas.
    Kersting, Rollins and Brothers also welcomed Nick Gramelspacher (second from right) of Meyer Distributing as a newly elected Board member.
Kersting, Rollins and Brothers also welcomed Nick Gramelspacher (second from right) of Meyer Distributing as a newly elected Board member.

“It was great to recognize our new Hall of Fame inductees, Nick Arias Jr., Bill France Sr., Mark Heffington and Bob Larivee Sr.,” said Kersting. “Whether building the world’s appetite for all things automotive through media, spectacular hot rods or growing the industry through its trade association, these inductees exemplify contributions at a world-class level. Also, I’m grateful for the contributions of our outgoing Board members and look forward to working with the new Board members. Their unique backgrounds and experiences will continue guiding the industry to grow and prosper.”