Over the years, the SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN) has succeeded in developing programs that influence each new generation toward automotive aftermarket career paths. To continue this mission and to help bridge the gap between automotive professionals and students in auto-stop classrooms, the council introduced the first-ever UTV Student Build Program last year.

The project culminated in an upgraded ’19 Honda Talon 1000R that was customized by YEN members, who served as mentors for students from the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts, located in Pomona, California. The vehicle then debuted at the 2019 SEMA Show and contained more than a dozen custom parts and accessories, including custom paint, a fabricated light bar, upgraded performance exhaust and more. 

The UTV was auctioned off by Bring a Trailer (BaT) for $23,000. BaT donated the buyer fee collected from the sale, bringing the total raised for the students to $24,150. All proceeds will go toward proceeds benefiting students and future industry leaders.

Fifty percent of the proceeds from the auction will go toward the SEMA Education Loan Forgiveness Program, while the other 50% will be donated to the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts to support the ongoing education of young people interested in pursuing a career in the automotive industry.

“We are very grateful to have been selected to participate in a program that has exposed our students to the various career paths available within the industry through hands-on-learning,” said Theresa Contreras, AXC automotive program specialist. “The vehicle’s proceeds will play a huge role in helping us expand our reach and continue to encourage youth about the automotive hobbyist lifestyle.”

SEMA YEN provides year-round various education and networking opportunities to the industry by helping cultivate young talent in the automotive aftermarket. For more information, visit SEMA YEN’s website.