The SEMA Launch Pad powered by YEN returns for 2016, providing a platform for young entrepreneurs to transform their dream into a real business.
Young Executives Network
YEN Launch Pad Helps Propel Young Entrepreneurs
Few automotive specialty-equipment veterans doubt that the industry’s future rests in identifying potential young entrepreneurs and igniting in them the sort of passion and bold innovation that will create a fresh new generation of market leaders. The question is: how? Launching new ideas today is daunting even for large companies with plenty of resources, let alone for young, small-business-minded men and women.
In order to land on our “35 Under 35” list, individuals must first be nominated by one or more industry peers. Pouring through the nominations, SEMA News looks for candidates already displaying leadership qualities within their organization or business. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, and demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the industry weigh heavily in our decision-making. The selection process is never easy—in one way or another, every nominee is a winner—but, ultimately, we reduce the nominations down to 35 finalists to make our special section. When all was said and done for this 2014 edition, we again found ourselves with an impressive roster of highly accomplished individuals making their marks at a young age in a diverse array of industry segments.
Organizations such as SEMA put a good deal of attention on long-range, strategic planning. One truly long-range initiative at SEMA is about engaging with the younger members—and future members—of our industry. The next generation really is the future of the industry. But let’s face it: If the association doesn’t pay close attention and evolve, it’s like asking the next generation to drive their father’s Oldsmobile—and folks in our industry know exactly how that doesn’t always work out!
Among SEMA’s most prominent youth programs are the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Young Executive Network (YEN) and the “35 Under 35” recognition program—all examples of well-received association programs.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Do what you love and never work another day
in your life.” Not only has Eric Schumacher heard that timeless piece
of advice, but he's also acted upon it and today has built a successful
career in the automotive aftermarket. For the past six years, Schumacher
has lived his dream as executive producer and founding member of Power
AutoMedia—a young, but successful, digital media and video production
company. In this “dream” position, Schumacher has been able to
successfully combine his love for all things automotive and creative
If you have spent any significant time at a SEMA event or media
gathering, chances are you have either met Matt D’Andria or seen his
work. The 36-year-old Corral Springs, Florida, native moved to Southern
California years ago to be closer to the automotive aftermarket and has been involved in dozens of digital media projects, from helping top
automakers develop a digital footprint, to co-hosting Adam Carolla’s
popular “CarCast” podcast and launching his latest venture as CEO of a
unique online automotive community called Motorator.com.
Having worked his way up from
taking customer service calls to director of sales at MSD Ignition, Ed
Monte firmly believes in the value of hard work, maintaining a positive
attitude and building relationships. Read more about Monte and his business philosophy through this month's Young Executive Insight.
At age 35, Mark Stek, an Oskaloosa, Iowa, native, and Iowa State
graduate, currently holds the position of marketing director for
Kelderman Manufacturing. Also known to SEMA members as Kelderman Air
Suspension Systems, Kelderman is a diverse and unique SEMA-member
company that manufactures and fabricates everything from agricultural
parts to air suspension systems for a customer base that is as diverse
as their products.
This month’s interview is with John Marshall, national sales manager for Power Slot, a performance brakes company.