Being one of the newer members of the TORA Select Committee, I attended my first Long-Range Planning meeting September 27-29. The meeting was planned in conjunction with the Off-Road Expo in Pomona.

We kicked things off Thursday evening with a Happy Hour Networking Event at the Sheraton—by the way, if you are trying to get to know people and companies in the industry better, I recommend attending as many industry networking events as you can. Though I had met a few of the TORA members at the Moab Networking event, I got to know them better at this event, and I also got to know some new people. We often only know other industry people through emails or in their professional capacities; going to networking events allows us to get to know them as people.

Friday was my first “in person” meeting with the TORA. Having experienced similar meetings with a few organizations in Colorado, I’ve found that it’s always nice when a meeting is well organized, sticks to the agenda and times for each item, and is polite and allows for new ideas to be presented and thoroughly discussed. Food, coffee, and cool pens are always welcome, too. This Long-Range Planning meeting had all of these components, which made the morning fly by.

Some of the highlights of the meeting were an Emissions Lab Update from Dan Ogden of the SEMA Garage and a presentation from Gavin Knapp, Director of Market Research for SEMA, on the history of TORA (which started in 1989 as the Truck Cap Industry Association). He also reviewed the association’s current perception and the industry segments it represents. This led to a discussion on how well we are serving the Light Truck Accessories market and what changes we should consider.

After we wrapped up the section of the meeting involving the council members, we went out and offered water and Red Bull to the vendors setting up for the Expo. This was also an opportunity to invite them to lunch and gather their input on the topics we covered in the morning meeting. During the lunch and immediately following, we offered the attendees a condensed version of the earlier topics discussed. We were honored to have Fred Wiley, President and CEO of ORBA (Off-Road Business Association) and Dan Kahn, SEMA Board Member, in attendance.

Based on our meetings, there will be an exciting announcement at the TORA Reception on October 31. This will take place in the SCORE Off-Road area in front of the South Hall of SEMA from 5-7 p.m. Please RSVP here