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LTAA Chair-Elect George Lathouris: "Now Is Not the Time to Stand on the Sidelines"

 LTAA Column SMN

George Lathouris was chosen as the chair-elect for the Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) and will succeed Kelly Kneifl when the latter's term expires. Lathouris is currently the senior category manager for Keystone Automotive's wheel and tire division and has spent the past 31 years in the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

Lathouris began his career working in a warehouse for American Speed Equipment on Long Island, New York, and worked his way to the position of 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. He then moved back to the East Coast in 1995 and became the eastern regional sales manager for Deflecta Shield and, eventually, Lund Industries. He took a position as national satellite sales and national sales manager for Keystone Automotive in 1999, which led to his current position.

Lathouris was approached several years ago by Ron DiVincenzo and Charley Holden to get involved with LTAA, since lifted trucks and Jeeps had long been his passion in the business. He has served the LTAA for the past four years and is proud to have been selected as the council's chair-elect. SEMA Member News recently spoke to him about his goals for the coming term.

Sharing Common and Critical Knowledge Gives WTC Members the Edge

 WTC SMN Column

Tim Dietz, who has assumed the leadership position of the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC), has been a test engineer at Standards Testing Laboratories Inc. for 20 years. The company uses scientific methods to develop testing programs to verify that new and existing products meet current regulations for safety and performance.

Dietz was a member of the WTC when it was still known as the Wheel Industry Council more than six years ago, and he has been a WTC Select Committee member for two years, serving as chair-elect.

SEMA Member News recently talked with Dietz about what he hopes to accomplish during his tenure as WTC Chairman.

Movers & Shakers: Walt Siklich Forms AutoRep Sales Company Inc.; SoffSeal Names Monte Stetler President, CEO

Movers & Shakers: Walt Siklich forms AutoRep Sales Company Inc.; SoffSeal names Monte Stetler president, CEO; Butch Lahmann Jr. returns to the automotive aftermarket; BFGoodrich Tires and BlueRibbon Coalition partner to benefit off-roaders and trails; Car Care Council earns top award from North American Precis Syndicate Inc.; Spectre Performance SpeedLiner officially in the record books as the fastest Cadillac and Blown Gas Streamliner on earth; and more.

PRO Chairman Welcomes New Select Committee Members, Invites Restylers to Celebrate at Council’s “November Fest”


As a result of recent elections, the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) is proud to welcome five new members to the Select Committee.

“The Select Committee is extremely well-balanced, with representations from manufacturers, media, restylers and WDs,” said PRO Chairman Karl Stearns. “I am extremely enthused about working with this energetic, forward-thinking group of representatives from our industry.”

The council is also preparing for its council reception at the SEMA Show, which organizers have dubbed “NovemberFest.” The event promises to be a “must attend” for anyone in the restyling industry.

“This will be the first time in memory that that PRO will hold a social event of any kind at the SEMA Show,” said Stearns. PRO traditionally holds its reception at the SEMA spring event. The spring reception has also been the event at which we present our annual industry awards. But since this year’s event was postponed indefinitely due to the economic downturn, we were left with the possibility of having no place to present out awards.”

Read about the new Select Committee members and the council’s “NovemberFest” in the PRO column in the September/October issue of SEMA Member News.

Racing News: NASCAR Changes Start Times for Next Season to Help Boost Ratings

News from the track: NASCAR changes start times for 28 events; American Le Mans will be televised by both Speed TV and CBS; Ford and Roush Fenway Racing unveil the racing version of the Ford Mustang; Robert Kubica to drive for Renault during the 2010 Formula One season; and more.

NHRA: Mike Edwards Continues Pro Stock Dominance With Fifth Win of the Season

NHRA News: Mike Edwards continues to dominate Pro Stock as he earned his fifth win of the season, second in the NHRA Countdown to 1 playoffs; NHRA launches NHRA Mobile, a mobile application that brings live racing action to NHRA fans around the globe; NHRA makes a limited number of $20 Race Fan Relief tickets available for the November 12–15 Auto Club NHRA Finals; and more.

MRC Select Committee: Youth, Talent and Old-Fashioned Know-How


Life is full of mile markers. July 1, 2009, was an important one for the SEMA Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC), as we welcomed four new members to the Select Committee. As the road of business winds through years 2009 and 2010, the interests of manufacturers’ reps are attended to by the leadership body of the MRC.

The Select Committee is made up of 13 sales professionals who carve out time in their busy schedules to come together and find solutions to the daily challenges our members face.

Each Select Committee member is the eyes, ears and voice for every member rep firm and every sales rep who conducts business in the automotive aftermarket. Members are well represented when they belong to the MRC.

Check out the latest news from the council and 2009 Show information.

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