The PWA Person of the Year Bob Cook (second from left) is flanked by PWA President Anne Graves. Vic Edelbrock (second from right), whose company was named the PWA Manufacturer of the Year, stands with PWA President-Elect Donnie Eatherly.
The Performance Warehouse Association (PWA) presented its awards for Person of the Year and Manufacturer of the Year during the Industry Awards Banquet at the 2008 SEMA Show.
PWA Person of the Year—Bob Cook
The PWA recently honored Bob Cook as PWA Person of the Year during the 2008 SEMA Industry Awards Banquet. Like many of his colleagues, Cook developed his passion for the automotive industry at an early age, and turned it into a lifelong career.
“I’d always liked cars,” Cook recalled, “and when my brother got out of the Navy, he came home with a primered ’51 Mercury that we took to the drag races. Of course, a flathead Ford engine with a two-barrel carburetor was not very fast, but it got us started. My job at the time was to take the street tires off and put the slicks on. I was the pit crew.”
Transitioning from the racing field into the business side of the industry, Cook decided that with a few years of rep experience under his belt, he would open his own agency in 1979. And what he may have lacked in capital he made up for with his first two clients—Vic Edelbrock and Bob Vandergriff.
Despite representing two of the pioneers of the specialty-equipment industry, it was still an uphill battle to keep the new agency afloat. The perseverance eventually paid off, however, as his company grew from just himself to a two-man and finally a 14-rep business. In appreciation of the many mentors and colleagues that contributed to his success, Cook began to give back by helping to foster the industry. When he wasn’t on the road or working at his own company, he devoted himself to SEMA and PWA projects.
In addition to the recent PWA Person of the Year award, Cook was also inducted in SEMA’s Hall of Fame this year. As a tribute to all new Hall of Fame inductees, SEMA News magazine featured as biography on each of the HOF's newest members. Click here to read the complete article. For more on Bob Cook, please visit www.bobcooksales.com.
PWA Manufacturer of the Year—Edelbrock
Thousands of companies contribute to the specialty-equipment industry. As exhibitors, their SEMA Show booths recently filled the Las Vegas Convention Center from wall to wall. However, less than 50 years ago the automotive aftermarket consisted of only a few pioneers trying to transform their passion for automobiles into viable businesses.
At the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet during the 2008 SEMA Show, the PWA honored one of those founding companies by presenting Edelbrock with the Manufacturer of the Year award.
The Edelbrock story begins with Vic Edelbrock Sr., born in Wichita, Kansas in 1913. By age 14, he was contributing to his family by working at an auto repair shop. In less than five years, Edelbrock Sr. took his newly acquired skills and moved to California where he opened a repair shop on Wilshire Blvd. with his brother-in-law.
Vic Edelbrock Sr. would continue to grow his business until the early age of 49, when he succumbed to cancer. Despite this tragedy, Edelbrock Sr. left behind a tremendous team of very talented people. The year was 1962 and the Edelbrock Equipment Company was handed over to Vic Jr. and a group of loyal employees, most of whom had been with Edelbrock Sr. since the beginning. They knew what it took to continue the traditions he had begun.
As a testament to the Edelbrock team’s commitment to excellence and Vic Sr.’s dream, the corporation now has over six locations: four in Torrance and two in San Jacinto, California, totaling more than 600,000 sq. ft. Headquarters include R&D, manufacturing, tech support and more.
For more information on Edelbrock, click here.
For more information on PWA, click here.