Twenty-one years ago, a collection of SEMA-member companies representing various facets of the custom wheel industry banded together to form the Wheel Industry Council. At the time, WIC was described as a forum in which wheel and tire professionals could network, identify and work to resolve areas of mutual concern, and form mutually beneficial alliances.
A few years later, to build on the obvious link between wheels and tires and the synergistic relationship between the two segments, the name was changed to the Wheel & Tire Council. In the years since, WTC has provided various networking and segment-specific educational opportunities during the SEMA Show. And last year, the council ramped up its profile big time, literally taking center stage in partnership with SEMA Show Education at the STAGE hosted by Myles Kovacs, president and cofounder of DUB Magazine.
The first-time event was located on the Lower South Hall Education Stage. It featured daily interviews live from the Show floor with top industry professionals and personalities. Topics ranged from wheel and tire trends and best business practices to marketing and sales.
Headliners included Mike Lusso of Hennessey Industries; Gary Ruede, Discount Tire; and Wade Kawasaki and Marla Moore of Legendary Companies. Other special guests included Brittany and Kevin Williams, Lite Brite Studios; Bud Brutsman, DCII; Ken Johnson of MuscleKingz; and Jamie Jiang, Fury OffRoad Tires. SEMA Hall of Famer and renowned builder Chip Foose joined Kovacs on Thursday to close out the STAGE in a special interview and autograph signing session.