Chris Kersting has been president and CEO of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) since July 2002. He is the fifth staff executive to lead the trade group since its founding in 1963.
As president and CEO, Kersting has led SEMA’s growing influence in the automotive industry through a series of innovative programs and services that help the association’s more than 6,000 member companies capture new business opportunities. With a focus on programs targeted to small businesses, he has championed initiatives that include industry collaboration on vehicle technology, industry data standardization, and strong legislative and regulatory advocacy.
Kersting became a SEMA staff member in 1996 when he joined the Washington, D.C., office as vice president of legislative and technical affairs. As the association’s lead representative in the nation’s capital, he successfully urged lawmakers to pass bills that protected the interests of SEMA member companies and challenged government regulation in order to maintain innovation and growth in the aftermarket industry.
Early in his career, Kersting worked for SEMA as outside counsel and government affairs representative. He also handled legal matters for SEMA member companies, as well as industry institutions such as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Performance Warehouse Association (PWA) and Auto International Association (AIA).
A Certified Association Executive (CAE), Kersting received his law degree from Washington College of Law, American University in 1989 and graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in business in 1985.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kersting currently resides in Pasadena, California, with his wife and family. In his spare time, he enjoys getting outdoors to mountain bike, backpack and ski, that is, when he isn’t home-brewing a tasty pale ale.