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Motorsports Manufacturers Tackle Industry Challenges Face-to-Face

SEMA Member News—May/June 2011

MPMC Looks to the Future

MPMC Chairman Kyle Fickler (left) of Weld Racing and Chair-Elect Vic Wood of Hedman Performance Group share a passion for the council’s history and, more importantly, its future.
MPMC Chairman Kyle Fickler (left) of Weld Racing and Chair-Elect Vic Wood of Hedman Performance Group share a passion for the council’s history and, more importantly, its future.
The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) changed the date of its annual Long-Range Planning (LRP) meeting. The change represents just one of the things MPMC Chairman Kyle Fickler and Chair-Elect Vic Wood are implementing in hopes of charting a course for MPMC’s future.

“Vic and I are committed to building MPMC’s value to the members and to helping the council develop a clear path into the future, with goals and plans,” said Fickler. “For the past several years, we’ve held our LRP on the Friday after the Media Trade Conference (MTC). Instead of planning, the bulk of the meeting was taken up with MTC ‘debriefing.’ Everyone was excited but also exhausted and anxious to get home, and that had a negative effect on the meeting. We moved it to the Monday before MTC and couldn’t be happier with the results.”

The date change resulted in the most productive MPMC LRP in recent years. Fickler opened the meeting with a brief history of the MPMC, which led to an engaging discussion of the history and future of the council. During the discussion, Fickler also shared with the group the strategic goals that he and Wood developed during the Council Summit in July.

“At the Council Summit, each chair and chair-elect had to develop goals and objectives for their council,” Fickler said. “It was a valuable exercise and one that fit exactly with how Vic and I were looking at MPMC. One of our goals was to move the LRP and reformat it into a genuine planning session. Sounds minor, but it proved very worthy. This session featured more interaction among the members, Select Committee and general membership than I’ve seen in quite a number of years. I was astounded.”

Another goal of the council leaders is to develop a Horizon Document—a multiyear plan for the council. The purpose of such a document is to maintain continuity and consistency as the leadership turns over every two years.

“Any time you have new leadership and no plan to refer to, consistency will be a problem,” said Wood. “None of us would run our businesses without a plan. We shouldn’t try to run a council without one, either. This will be a living document with changes as needed. But it will also be the cornerstone or starting point for all discussions.”

The first step in developing the document is to define the council’s goals. This year’s LRP focused on reviewing current projects and then identifying issues or problems that have an impact on the membership. Everyone in the room at the planning session got an opportunity to document an issue faced by his or her company. Once the problems were all displayed on flip-chart paper hanging from a wall, the group prioritized them to come up with the top four. A task force was formed to analyze the issues and determine if any are within the scope of MPMC to look for a solution.

“Clearly, face-to-face meetings without other distractions are the most productive,” said Fickler. “Almost every attendee said ‘thank you’ for moving the meeting and for bringing the council’s focus back to manufacturers. It’s difficult to get people to commit to meetings in today’s economy, but the value is there. We’re not going to wait a full year to have another face-to-face get-together. We haven’t settled on anything, but keep an eye on SEMA eNews for announcements. We’ll do this again sometime midyear, and next year’s LRP will definitely be a full-day agenda.”

Wood said that the MPMC leadership would keep pushing on plan development, both for the council as a whole and for its task forces and project committees.

“This is the direction SEMA is headed as an association,” he said, “so it’s a natural progression for the volunteer groups as well. MPMC has a distinct advantage over other councils in one sense: Our membership is made up entirely of manufacturers and can, therefore, focus entirely on manufacturer issues. And since our manufacturer members are further defined by ‘motorsports,’ it should mean that a lot of us are together at events anyway. If you missed the LRP, you won’t want to miss the next general meeting. Stay tuned.”

MPMC members are encouraged to monitor SEMA eNews and the MPMC web pages at for news and announcements concerning the council.