SEMA
Awards'
History

It takes dedication, hard work and drive to build and grow an automotive specialty-equipment business. Even more so to grow an entire industry. Yet to help its members succeed and prosper, SEMA relies on individuals from every industry segment to step forward and bring their own vision and initiative. Consequently, it seems only fitting once a year to celebrate those whose contributions best embody this SEMA mission.

These awards are among the trade association’s highest honors and recognize the recipient’s outstanding contributions to the specialty equipment industry over a year-long period. For consideration, an honoree must exhibit professionalism, service, integrity, and ethics that help propel the industry forward.

Manufacturer of the Year

The SEMA Manufacturer of the Year Award has been established to honor a manufacturing company for their outstanding contribution to the industry during the past twelve (12) months corresponding with the SEMA fiscal year, July 1 through June 30. Achievements made following or prior to this time period are not to be taken into account as part of the awards' process.

A candidate must meet all of the following requirements to be considered for the SEMA Manufacturer of the Year Award:

  • The manufacturing company must be from the automotive aftermarket industry.
  • SEMA Involvement (e.g., utilizes association benefits, service of councils/networks, task forces, committees, board, etc.).
  • a. Membership in SEMA b. SEMA Show exhibitor in the prior and current fiscal years c. New Products Showcase participant
  • Demonstrates outstanding business practices.
  • Has established innovative processes and products.
  • Exhibits a high degree of corporate responsibility, by investing in and contributing to both their local community (e.g., philanthropic activities) and industry (e.g., advertising, creating awareness).
  • Displays workforce excellence and invests in the well-being of their employees.
  • Provides outstanding service to their customers (e.g., training and outside sales support, product delivered on time, inventory available, consistent lead times, etc.).
  • Demonstrates high quality retail displays and packaging.
  • Has complete and high quality product data and provides new product data sets in a timely manner.
  • Does an outstanding job protecting their brand equity.

This award has been established to honor a person for his outstanding contribution to the industry during the past twelve (12) months corresponding with the SEMA fiscal year, July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Achievements made following or prior to this time period are not to be taken into account as part of the awards' process.

A candidate must meet all of the following requirements to be considered for the SEMA Person of the Year Award:

  • The candidate must be from our industry and employed by a member company. SEMA staff or persons working contractually for SEMA are precluded from consideration as a Person of the Year candidate.
  • The candidate should be nominated for his outstanding contribution to the industry during the past twelve (12) months corresponding with the SEMA fiscal year, July 1 through June 30.
  • An individual can win the award more than one (1) time provided that person qualifies for a second nomination; however, three (3) to five (5) years should elapse before an individual is nominated for a second time.
  • A person should not be nominated for previous industry contributions (committee members are reminded that the SEMA Hall of Fame Award salutes veterans of the industry and their contributions of years past).

The SEMA Rep Agency of the Year Award has been established to honor a Rep Agency for their outstanding contribution to the industry during the past twelve (12) months corresponding with the SEMA fiscal year, July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Achievements made following or prior to this time period are not to be taken into account as part of the awards' process.

A candidate must meet all of the following requirements to be considered for the SEMA Rep Agency of the Year Award:

  • SEMA Involvement (e.g., member, service on committees, task forces, councils, board, etc.).
  • Quality and frequency of calls to the WD.
  • Knowledge of terms and policies of lines/products represented (i.e., technical, general, presentation).
  • Communication of critical information between the supplier and client network and vice versa.
  • Ability to provide the services required by the manufacturer and the WD.
  • Effective implementation of manufacturers' programs in a timely manner.
  • Maintains current and up-to-date catalogs/database files and price sheets/pricing files.
  • Consistently reviews and writes up product warranties in a timely manner.
  • Does periodic inventory reviews to ensure WD's product coverage and inventory turns.
  • Integrity of the agency in all operations.
  • Conscientious and timely follow-through by reps on specific issues.
  • Pursuit of new marketing opportunities.
  • Maintains continuous training and education programs.
  • Troubleshoots and attempts to resolve any problems related to a rep's line/product.
  • Supports and actively participates in WD open houses and other events.
  • Makes in-field jobber calls on behalf of the WD and manufacturer and reports findings.
2000 - Foster Babcock & Associates
1999 - Scafidi-Bolio & Associates
1998 - Airheart Sales
1997 - Bob Barker Marketing & Sales
1996 - Sam Compton & Associates
1995 - R & R Marketing
1994 - Pro Rep Marketing
1993 - Ballard & Allen Marketing Inc.
1992 - Bob Cook Sales
1991 - Bill Perry & Associates
1990 - Michael Kunzman & Associates
1989 - Bob Cook Sales
1988 - R & R Marketing

The SEMA WD of the Year Award has been established to honor a Warehouse Distributor for their outstanding contribution to the industry during the past twelve (12) months corresponding with the SEMA fiscal year, July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Achievements made following or prior to this time period are not to be taken into account as part of the awards' process.

Gen-III Innovator of the Year

The SEMA Gen-III Innovator of the Year Award has been established to honor a person for his/her outstanding contribution to the industry. A "Gen-III Innovator" is defined as a young individual from the industry who is making breakthroughs in the areas of new products, new approaches to business, or setting new trends. The individual must be under 40 years of age as of December 31, 2016.

*Self-nominations are accepted.

A candidate must meet all of the following requirements to be considered for the SEMA Gen-III Innovator of the Year Award:

  • The candidate must work in the Automotive Aftermarket industry.
  • The candidate must be under 40 years of age as of December 31, 2016.
  • An individual can win the award more than one (1) time provided that person qualifies for a second nomination.

SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet

The SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet is the annual celebration of the specialty-equipment industry and is highlighted by top-flight entertainment. It also provides the backdrop for the presentation of industry awards that include the Manufacturer of the Year, Person of the Year, WD of the Year and Rep Agency of the Year. In addition, the SEMA Hall of Fame inductees will be honored for their contributions to the industry.

Banquet Information

Thursday, November 2, 2017
7:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.

Westgate, Garden Patio & Paradise Event Center

Contact Information

Jamie Eriksen
(909) 978-6737
jamiee@sema.org

Gallery

Videos

SEMA News - Person of the Year Interviews

Tim Martin - 2016 SEMA Person of the Year

The core mission of SEMA is to help its members succeed and prosper, and a spirit of volunteerism permeates that mission. To grow the automotive specialty-equipment industry and address the broad range of issues facing association members, SEMA continues to rely on the vision and leadership of dedicated individuals from every industry segment who give freely of their time and energy for the benefit of all. In that spirit each year, SEMA bestows its highest honor—the Person of the Year Award—on an individual who embodies the association’s mission. For 2016, that person is Tim Martin of K&N Engineering.

Kathryn Reinhardt - 2015 SEMA Person of the Year

It takes dedication, hard work and drive to build and grow an automotive specialty-equipment business. Even more so to grow an entire industry. Yet to help its members succeed and prosper, SEMA relies on individuals from every industry segment to step forward and bring their own vision and initiative. Consequently, it seems only fitting once a year to celebrate an individual whose contributions best embody this SEMA mission. For 2015, that individual is Kathryn Reinhardt of MagnaFlow, who found herself named SEMA Person of the Year at the recent 2015 SEMA Show Industry Banquet in Las Vegas.

The award is among the trade association’s highest honors and recognizes the recipient’s outstanding contributions to the specialty-equipment industry over a yearlong period. For consideration, an honoree must work in a SEMA-member company and exhibit professionalism, service and integrity as well as an ethic that helps propel the industry forward.

“If you want to better yourself, you have to better your surroundings, and that’s how I feel about the industry,” reflected Reinhardt after receiving the award. “I can’t grow unless I help the industry grow, too. Being an advocate for this industry is easy because it’s something I love dearly. It’s a part of me that I can’t tune out.

“Honestly, I am so honored and humbled. I know this award isn’t given out lightly. There are so many amazing, powerful, hardworking, dynamic people in this industry who deserve this award. For me to be considered, and now a recipient? That is truly something I cherish.”

Rich Barsamian - 2014 SEMA Person of the Year

Over the course of his career, Rich Barsamian has forged an impressive list of accomplishments while working for some of the industry’s most recognized companies, including Grant, Edelbrock, GT Performance Products and Advanced Clutch Technology. Along the way, he has also served on SEMA select committees for the Young Executive Network (YEN), the Motorsports Parts Manufacturer Council (MPMC), the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) and the SEMA Scholarship Committee.

His dedication to these and other initiatives has earned him numerous accolades, including the YEN Executive of the Year award, the YEN Vanguard award, and the 2011 Performance Warehouse Association Person of the Year award. Now he can add the 2014 SEMA Person of the Year award to his many achievements, having received the honor at the recent 2014 SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet in Las Vegas.

“I am so grateful and humbled by this award,” said Barsamian, who recently returned to Advanced Clutch Technology as its vice president of sales and marketing. “It is very surreal. Anyone who knows me knows that I could talk to a wall even if it wouldn’t listen to me. But when they called my name at the ceremony, I was speechless.”

George Lathouris - 2013 SEMA Person of the Year

George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive Operations was named the 2013 SEMA Person of the Year. The award was presented to Lathouris—a 36-year marketing veteran and current senior category manager for Keystone in Scranton, Pennsylvania—during the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet at the 2013 SEMA Show.

Lathouris began his career at American Speed Equipment in New York, working his way up to national sales and advertising manager. He opened warehouse distribution in Colorado for Dick Cepek in 1992 and became the company's purchasing manager in Los Angeles in 1994.

Throughout his career, Lathouris has been recognized by his peers as a mentor and one who leads by example. His ability to take off his company hat and focus on the greater needs of the industry at large has served him well through his two terms as Chairman of SEMA's Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA). In addition to his contributions to LTAA, Lathouris has served on the SEMA Board Leadership Committee, develops and supports fundraising opportunities for SEMA Cares and is actively involved in the annual build days for the SEMA Pinewood Drag Races.

Marla Moore - 2012 SEMA Person of the Year

The SEMA Person of the Year Award ranks among the association’s most prestigious honors. For 2012, it was bestowed upon Marla Moore of Hypertech during the recent SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet, held Thursday, November 1, in Las Vegas. Moore, who is currently the chair of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN), has been involved with the specialty-equipment industry for more than three decades.

Although a barrier-breaking champion of women throughout her career, Moore’s commitment to the specialty-equipment market has inspired both genders. Ask around the industry and you’ll soon learn that she knows the high-performance world inside and out. Thanks also to a keen understanding of consumers, she is especially recognized by peers as a skilled advertising leader.

John Menzler - 2011 SEMA Person of the Year

SEMA presented John Menzler of the COMP Performance Group with the 2011 Person of the Year Award at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. As a long-time SEMA member, HRIA Select Committee member and mentor to many in the industry, he received ringing applause as Banquet emcee Dave McClelland announced to a packed house, "Congratulations, John!"

McClelland also took time to highlight Menzler's contributions to the industry, making it clear that his compassion and advice helped solve problems both in his work at Comp Performance and in his numerous volunteer projects.

"(Menzler) is quick to offer advice and guidance to anyone who needs it," said McClelland. "Helping others bring their ideas alive is a common thread running through his active involvement in SEMA councils and committees and in his mentoring and volunteer work, such as during this year’s Childhelp and Victory Junction Pinewood drag race."

Mike Spagnola - 2010 SEMA Person of the Year

SEMA presented Mike Spagnola, founder and president of Street Scene Equipment and long-time SEMA member, with the 2010 Person of the Year Award at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

"I've long considered myself lucky to work in an industry I love and serve as an advocate for issues that have such a tremendous impact on the future of the automotive aftermarket," said Mike Spagnola. “Being recognized by my peers, many of whom I respect and feel fortunate to have worked with, is one of the greatest honors I could ever receive.”

Spagnola has been involved in the specialty-equipment industry for more than 30 years, having worked in both manufacturing and distribution. He is known for his understanding of the importance of collaboration within the specialty-equipment industry based on his willingness to assist magazines and others in the industry build project cars.

Doug Evans - 2009 SEMA Person of the Year

SEMA named Doug Evans, senior vice president of performance automotive at Source Interlink Media, as the 2009 SEMA Person of the Year, recognizing his dedication and legislative activism in support of the specialty-equipment industry. Evans was presented the award during the 2009 SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet in Las Vegas.

Evans is an active member of the SEMA Board of Directors and has served three consecutive terms on the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) Select Committee. He has also served on the SEMA Political Action Committee and has been a member of the SEMA Executive Committee.

Legislative issues are at the forefront of his activism, and he is in a unique position to disseminate SEMA Action Network (SAN) issues to enthusiasts to get them to respond swiftly and reach out to their local politicians to protect their hobby. He also has established relationships with various U.S. Senate and House representatives who are friends of the specialty-equipment industry.

Staff
Contact
Information

Lindsay Bianco
Sr. Manager, Membership
909-978-6692
lindsayb@sema.org

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