Breaking News

SEMA and Clemson University Announce Innovative Partnership

 Jim Cozzie @ 2009 Installation Banquet
 Immediate Past Chairman Jim Cozzie announced a unique collaboration between SEMA and Clemson University. 

SEMA outgoing Chairman Jim Cozzie took the podium during the annual Board Officer’s installment ceremony prior to handing over the gavel to incoming Chair Rick Rollins, and announced one of the most innovative alliances in SEMA’s 47-year history. Cozzie outlined a partnership between California-headquartered SEMA and South Carolina-based Clemson University, which launched the $215 million International Center for Automotive Research [CU-ICAR] in 2003, to the audience of more than 500 attendees.

“The new alliance represents an unprecedented industry-academia platform for advanced vehicle technology and performance aftermarket education program development, notably forged in the midst of one of the automotive industry’s most challenging periods in history,” Cozzie said.

“The automotive original-equipment and aftermarket industries are undergoing serious transformations and will continue to evolve in the coming years. The Clemson relationship can benefit SEMA-member companies by providing vehicle technology integration; development and support to help members leverage new business opportunities.”

According to Chris Przirembel, Clemson University’s vice president for research and economic development, the partnership represents “an extraordinary opportunity for Clemson, as a major university committed to becoming one of the world’s leading automotive and motorsports research and education centers, to join with SEMA and its powerful industry membership base in a shared mission to help shape the future of the automotive performance aftermarket industry.”

As part of the agreement, Clemson University’s Campbell Graduate Engineering Center on the 250-acre CU-ICAR campus—located midway between Atlanta and Charlotte along I-85 in Greenville, South Carolina—is positioned to serve as a systems integration and testing center for SEMA and its 7,500 members.

The unique academic center houses a variety of laboratories and test cells including a 7-post shaker in an environmental chamber, a chassis dynamometer in a semi-anechoic chamber, engine test cells, an electromagnetic compatibility chamber, and a full-scale vehicle three-dimensional CMM for measuring geometric and physical coordinates of parts and vehicle surfaces.

Dr. Imtiaz Haque, executive director of the Campbell Center, which offers the only automotive engineering Ph.D. in the United States, said an “ultimate goal would be for SEMA and Clemson to collaboratively develop an integrated systems approach for designing and customizing today’s vehicles and vehicles of the future.

Among other initiatives, the graduate center will develop prototype project vehicles with the objective of demonstrating the integration of specialty-equipment and performance aftermarket components, total vehicle systems and modules, thereby creating new opportunities for interested SEMA-member companies to directly participate.”

SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting said the Clemson-SEMA relationship supports SEMA’s vehicle technology strategic goals for identifying industry needs and developing effective solutions to assist members with complex vehicle technology challenges and opportunities.

“In the midst of these difficult times, we hope to collaboratively develop a clear pathway for the multi-billion automotive aftermarket industry and SEMA-member companies,” Kersting said.

Clemson University is a nationally ranked science and technology-oriented public research university known for its emphasis on collaboration, focus and a culture that encourages faculty and students to embrace bold ideas. Its teaching, research and outreach are driving economic development and improving quality of life in South Carolina and beyond. For more information, visit