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SEMA Council & Committee News: Don't Miss 21st Annual PRO Long-Range Planning Meeting

Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO)
Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)
Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA)
Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC)
Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)
Street Performance Council (SPC)
Wheel & Tire Council (WTC)
SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) Young Executives Network (YEN)

PRO Logo
Visit PRO's website.  

The PRO Select Committee will meet to discuss the state of the industry.
Join Colleagues and Peers at the 21st Annual PRO Long-Range Planning Meeting

Make plans now to attend the Professional Restylers Organization’s (PRO) annual Long-Range Planning Meeting, Thursday, June 7, at the Detroit Metro Airport Marriott Hotel. It’s the most important meeting of the year. And it’s your opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of your council and the restyling industry.

The meeting will include an interactive group discussion and breakout sessions on key topics.

  • Share your insights and perspective on issues critical to your business.
  • Participate in breakout groups as you and your peers address challenges confronting the restyling industry.
  • Help develop strategies to deal with evolving vehicle technologies—such as occupant classification systems (OCS) and technology integration—that affect your business day to day.
  • Join in discussions to identify new-market opportunities.
  • Contribute your ideas on installation concerns, technical and sales training and technician/installer credentialing.
  • Mingle with leading manufacturers, WDs, installers and restyling professionals at an evening cocktail mixer.

Through the exchange of ideas, and by becoming actively involved, you and your company will play a vital role in helping PRO achieve its goals. This is your chance to make a difference and let your voice be heard.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today for the 21st annual PRO Long-Range Planning Meeting.

To register and inquire about hotel accommodations, e-mail SEMA Council Director Zane Clark,, or call 909-978-6696. Or, contact Gina Ledesma at, or by phone at 909-978-6692.

DATE: Thursday, June 7, 2012
TIME: 8:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m.
Continental breakfast and lunch will be served.
LOCATION: Detroit Metro Airport Marriott, 30559 Flynn Dr., Romulus, MI 48174

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? PRO Is!

Be sure to follow PRO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

PRO Column in SEMA Member News

Read PRO's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about PRO, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

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Visit ARMO's website.
collector car appreciation
ARMO Supports Collector Car Appreciation Day

ARMO-member companies across the country will join hobbyists and enthusiasts July 13, 2012, in celebrating the third annual Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD). A celebration can be a simple invitation to employees to drive their collector car to work that day. Go to the SAN website for a list of planned CCAD events and to add your own to the celebration.


Is your business involved in the restoration segment and not yet an ARMO member? In addition to direct access with its 275 restoration company members, the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) provides a number of other benefits, including education and outreach for small businesses in the restoration market, product exposure through an annual New Products Showcase and collective support of the restoration hobby.

Top Reasons to Join ARMO:

  • Networking Opportunities: The primary strength of ARMO is its member companies. The organization provides multiple venues for ARMO members to interact and share ideas through its long-range planning meetings, new-products mixer at Spring Carlisle and the ARMO awards reception at the 2012 SEMA Show, as well as discussion groups on MySEMA and social media websites.
  • Education: The annual ARMO education seminars at the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show bring industry leaders and experts together to share their real-world experience with small-business owners, providing tips and insights to help them grow their businesses. The ARMO Restoration Trademark Licensing Guide provides ARMO members with the basic forms needed to begin the process of getting products licensed by an original-equipment manufacturer. The licensing guide is available through the SEMA Education Institute.
  • Supporting Hobby Growth: ARMO recognizes the importance of the individual hobbyist to the industry and supports Collector Car Appreciation Day activities across the country. Every April, the ARMO New Products Showcase puts member company products directly in front of 100,000+ restoration enthusiasts each year at Spring Carlisle. In addition, ARMO’s “Take a Kid to a Car Show” (TKCS) program strives to get children involved in automotive hobbies at an early age. The interactive TKCS website provides information on how to get involved for kids and adults alike.

Contact ARMO’s staff liaison Jim Skelly at for more information.

ARMO Licensing Guide Now on SEI

ARMO members may now access the ARMO Trademark Licensing Guide online. Previously available only in hard copy, the Guide is now located on the ARMO education track on the SEMA Education Institute (SEI).

ARMO Licensing Overview:

Ever wonder how a company gets a restoration product officially licensed by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) carmaker? ARMO members can now find introductory information from three OEMs, including preliminary application forms, in one document.

Obtaining a trademark license is one of the few remaining processes that cannot be accomplished "online" or with a simple application. OEM carmakers are very proud and protective of their trademarks. There are many steps involved in order to display an "Officially Licensed" logo on your product. Just finding out where to begin can be a daunting task.

The Trademark Licensing Overview provides ARMO-member companies with the information they need to begin the oftentimes lengthy process in one handy reference document. Ford, GM and Chrysler have supplied contact information, application forms and general process overviews. While the Overview is not a complete guide to trademark licensing, it does provide you with information necessary for all those important first steps.

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? ARMO Is!

Be sure to follow ARMO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

ARMO Column in SEMA Member News

Read ARMO's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about ARMO, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit HRIA's website
Bubba from Bubba’s Rod & Customs working on his Pinewood design.

Rodders Gear Up for Pinewood Builders Challenge

Twenty hot-rod and custom car builders have signed up to participate in the annual HRIA Pinewood Builders Challenge. Each builder will create a one-of-a-kind Pinewood car that will be raced at the Pinewood Drag Races, presented by eBay Motors, in Pomona, California, July 27, 2012. After being raced, the cars will be placed on display in the SEMA Cares booth at the SEMA Show in November and auctioned on eBay during the Show. All proceeds from the Pinewood car auctions will go to the Childhelp and Victory Junction Camp children's charities. This year, top builders participating in the challenge include Troy Trepanier, Rich Evans, Ringbrothers, Jesse Greening, Tim Strange and Troy Ladd.

Complete list of builders to date:

B Rod Or Custom
  Larry Burchette
BS Industries   Bodie Stroud
Bubba's Rods & Customs
  Tom Lloyd
Fast Lane Hot Rods
  Dave Lane
Good Guys   Ed Capen
Goolsby Customs   Josh Hennning
Greening Auto Co.   Jessie Greening
Hollywood Hot Rods
  Troy Ladd
Hot Rod Chassis & Cycle   Kevin Tulley
Johnny's Auto Trim
  John Martin
Kaucher Kustoms   Keith Kaucher
Lokar, Inc.
  Jeff McClure
No Joke Upholstery   Noah Howard
Performance Coachworks
  Derrek Johnson
Rad Rides by Troy
  Troy Trepanier
Rich Evans Designs   Rich Evans
Ringbrothers   Mike Ring
Spankys Hot Rods   Mike Cooper
Spitzer Concepts   Mike Spitzer
Strange Motion   Tim Strange
Street Vizions   Derek White

To participate, contact Eric Saltrick at or 704-483-9343 for more information.

Have You Registered a Patent or Trademark? Your Competition Has

Protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of its members is a top SEMA priority. The process begins when companies register their patents, trademarks and copyrights with government agencies in the United States (and other countries). Registration is a key to establishing legal rights.

To assist its members, SEMA has created a webpage called Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights, explaining the different types of IP, including protecting new products (utility patents) and product designs (design patent), identifying the source of the product (trademarks) and protecting product brochures or website designs (copyright). It also contains information on how to register IP along with links to seminars, webinars and SEMA News articles.

With respect to enforcing IP rights at the SEMA Show, the association has developed an effective policy for pursuing infringement allegations. SEMA’s IP enforcement policy is posted on the IPR webpage and is also published as part of the Exhibitor Services Manual. Questions may be directed to Stuart Gosswein (

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? HRIA is!

Be sure to follow HRIA on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

HRIA Column in SEMA Member News

Read HRIA's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about HRIA and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

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Visit TORA's website.  


New products from TORA-member companies are spotlighted in front of one of the largest light truck enthusiast gatherings in the country at the Truck Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, August 3–5, 2012.


Grow Your Business With TORA

With roots that go back to the early 1980s, when it was known as the Truck Cap Industry Alliance (TCIA), TORA members enjoy a true sense of community. In addition, the council continues a long tradition of providing useable solutions that drive education and growth for their member companies in the light truck accessories market. If your company is in this segment of the industry and is not yet an TORA member, there is no better time to join.

Top 3 Reasons to Join TORA:

  • Education and Training: The TORA eLearning track section of the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) hosts several handy tools for installers and retailers, including the Pickup Bed Dimensions Reference Chart and the Keyless Entry and Center High Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL) Wiring Guides. These guides provide a quick and easy one-stop shop for obtaining critical measurements or wiring pickup points. There is also a video explaining why paint colors may vary from truck to truck, even when comparing similar makes, models and years. Manufacturers and retailers alike will soon benefit from the online Manufacturer Product Training on SEI. These training modules will deliver critical information on products in a consistent format and include testing and tracking.
  • New Products Showcase: The annual TORA New Products Showcase at the Truck Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, puts TORA-member products on display in front of one of the largest gatherings of truck enthusiasts in the country. Photographs of the products are displayed at the SEMA Show and on the TORA website. A new element has been added for 2012, in the form of a Jeep Rubicon build out. TORA products that are on display in the New Products area will be installed live at the event, effectively tying together the manufacturer, retailer/installer and end user. Only TORA-member companies are eligible to participate in the New Products Showcase and the Jeep build.
  • Networking: Throughout the year, TORA strives to communicate with its members through eNews, SEMA News and social media. A large presence on the SEMA Show floor provides members and non-members alike with a place to meet and communicate during the Show. The TORA Industry Reception at the SEMA Show, featuring the TORA Fall Nationals Pinewood Drag Races, is recognized as one of the premier light truck accessory industry events of the year. Through the TORA Show booth and Fall Nationals Pinewood Drags, in 2011, TORA members helped raise more than $11,000 for the SEMA Cares charity.
For more information on TORA membership, contact Jim Skelly at

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? TORA Is!

Be sure to follow TORA on all of your favorite social networking sites.

To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

TORA Column in SEMA Member News

Read TORA's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about TORA, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit MPMC's website.  

How MPMC Membership Can Benefit Your Motorsports Business

Does your company manufacture parts used in sanctioned motorsports events? The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC)—a SEMA council—provides a number of benefits to its more than 200 member companies.

Benefits include access to a best practices reference guide dedicated to common manufacturing business questions, contact information for more than 200 fellow motorsports parts manufacturers and an opportunity to have three days of 30-minute meetings with editors from print and electronic media.

  mpmc, motorsports

MPMC members produced the “Business of Engine Building” seminar at the 2011 PRI Show in Orlando. From left to right, veteran engine builders Tracy Dennis, Keith Dorton, Ron Hutter, David Reher, Scott Shafiroff and Carl Wegner answered questions from moderator Alan Reinhart. Have an idea for another seminar topic? Join MPMC now and help make it happen!


Four Reasons to Join the MPMC:

  • Business Guidelines Manual: Written, produced and designed specifically for performance product manufacturers, the manual addresses the many challenges faced by manufacturing companies like yours. Definitions, resources, options, examples and even sample documents are included in the various sections. Each section is written and formatted for quick and easy referencing. Topics include bar coding, catalogs, counterfeiting, electronic data exchange, freight policies and much more. The manual is available for download or viewing, but only to MPMC members, through the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) MPMC Education Track.
  • Media Trade Conference: Another opportunity unique to MPMC, and available only to MPMC-member companies, is the MPMC Media Trade Conference (MTC). The MTC brings 100 MPMC manufacturers together with 200+ editorial staff from national and international media for three days of 30-minute, face-to-face meetings to discuss editorial content. Space is limited each year to 100 manufacturers, selected via lottery, but only MPMC members have the opportunity to participate.
  • Industry Outreach: MPMC members work with other industry contacts to produce seminars, panel discussions and events for the benefit of not only fellow manufacturers, but also the shop owners and consumers who ultimately use their products. This past year at the PRI Show in Orlando, Florida, MPMC hosted a two-hour discussion in which six of the most renowned engine builders in the country shared their business experiences with an audience of 150+ shop owners and aspiring engine builders.
  • Networking: MPMC hosts various events throughout the year to further promote relationship building. A networking breakfast at the U.S. Nationals and a Hall of Fame Breakfast at the PRI Show are examples of how MPMC works to bring manufacturers together with media and other industry colleagues. In addition to meetings with the media, the Media Trade Conference also offers two evening receptions, lunches and break periods that present myriad networking opportunities.

MPMC is the only SEMA council dedicated specifically to manufacturing companies. If you are not already a member, there is no better time to join than right now. Membership is only $100 annually and an application is available on the MPMC website.

Contact MPMC’s staff liaison Jim Skelly at for more information.

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MPMC Is!

Be sure to follow MPMC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

Take a Friend to a Race Fan Page

The MPMC Motorsports Awareness campaign, highlighted by the Take a Friend to a Race program, now has its very own Fanpage on Facebook. If you’re not a fan yet, you should be!

MPMC Column in SEMA Member News

Read MPMC's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.

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MRC Logo
Visit MRC's website.  

Why Using a Manufacturers' Rep May Be the Right Move for Your Company

Here are the top 10 reasons why your company should use a rep:

1. Results Driven. Our success is your success. Reps are highly motivated to sell your products because they make money when you sell products.
2. Cost Effective. Better utilize your time and resources. Minimize the labor and travel expenses of hiring your own employees.
3. Territory Expansion. You get the instant benefits of territory and customer knowledge that takes years to learn.
4. Relationships. Reps already know companies with whom you want to do business. Take advantage of strong, pre-existing relationships that have been cultivated through trust and action.
5. Quick. Hiring a rep is quickest way to get results and to get your “feet on the ground” selling.
6. Access. Your products and services will have better exposure with your customers because reps are already doing business with them.
7. Sales Calls. Focused and increased face-to-face time with your customers equals greater sales.
8. Training. Field training and professional development sets reps apart. Reps will educate your customers about the features and benefits of your programs and services.
9. Feedback. Get instant and accurate feedback on your products and programs.
10. Industry Knowledge. Receive an insider’s perspective that allows you a clearer understanding of the “ins and outs” of your industry.

Interested? Want to know more? The SEMA Manufacturers' Rep Council (MRC) can answer your questions and share more reasons why hiring an Independent sales rep may make sense for your company.

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MRC is!

Be sure to follow MRC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

MRC Column in SEMA Member News

Read MRC's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MRC, contact Zane Clark.

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SBN Logo
Visit SBN's website.

Connect to the Fastest Growing Committee—the SEMA Businesswomen Network

The SEMA Businesswomen Network (SBN) welcomes both women and men who work for a SEMA-member company to join the committee. Along with the benefit of joining a community of prominent industry leaders, members in the SBN offers several distinct advantages:

Networking: The SBN offers access to more than 300 members, largely composed of women who understand the challenges and advantages for working in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. Via exclusive invitations to SBN mixers at industry events and SBN events at the SEMA Show, such as the Speed Networking Breakfast, members have the opportunity to network with key influencers in the industry.

Recognition: Established in 1994, the SBN Awards have become the premier honor for recognition of industry veterans who have volunteered their personal and professional time to contribute to women in the automotive aftermarket. Also, through SBN’s Member of the Month (MoM) spotlight, select women are highlighted for acting as trendsetters in the industry. MoM spotlights receive the honor of being featured in SEMA eNews with a subscription of more than 150,000 recipients, along with a feature on the SEMA website.

SEMA Show: The SBN offers members the ideal opportunity to become actively engaged in SEMA via volunteering time to help with SBN-sponsored events. Events featured throughout the week include the Speed Networking Breakfast, Café SEMA, and the Gear-up Girl, which act as a great medium to enhance professional growth, networking and business leads.

There is no cost to join SBN, just many opportunities to meet other women in the industry who are as equally committed to professional growth as you are. Join the SBN now!

You Ought to Be in Pictures!

The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network committee is a great resource of minds. All ladies in the specialty-equipment industry can join the SBN, so pass the word around to your colleagues and friends! We are encouraging all new and existing SBN members to log-in to the MySEMA portal to update their profile with a photo so we get to know each other's faces before the SEMA Show.

And don’t forget to turn your notifications settings “ON” so you can stay in “the loop.” Want to know more about the SBN? Interested in becoming a member?

Want to get involved in the industry but don't know how? We have an app for that! Go to, click on the Leadership tab, click on Council/Committee, click on SBN and join! Don't delay—get involved and join now. You are just a few clicks away! We look forward to "seeing" everyone!

Don’t Be Out of the Loop—Stay in Touch

The very best way to stay in touch and to read the latest news, discussions and topics posted from SEMA and the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) is to make sure that your notification settings are turned on in your MySEMA account. Next to your photo on your MySEMA page, at the top right, is a link to the "Edit My Settings" page.

On the “settings” page, look for the “notifications” tab, where it will ask how you would like to receive your news. Check whichever method is most convenient, but either way, make sure you're in the loop by turning “on” your notifications. Visit to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SBN is!

Be sure to follow SBN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

SBN Column in SEMA Member News

Read SBN's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about SBN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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SPC Logo
Visit SPC's website.  
Find the Business Possibilities Through the SPC

Participate in the automotive aftermarket at a whole new level by joining the SPC.

The purpose of SEMA councils is to help our member companies succeed and prosper. In the SPC, our mission is to provide market information, education and support to our members concerning new and emerging trends. Whether it’s the latest business technology, forecasting sales, future marketing solutions or up and coming vehicle platforms, we give you and your company the chance to see what’s on the horizon.

Then we’ll help you understand and acquire the skills, tools and technologies to lead the way. The SPC has the most diverse membership of any SEMA council, and that will allow you to network with other professionals from every facet of our industry and gain insights into areas you may not have previously considered. Find out about the parts, people, technologies, strategies, trends and, most important, possibilities.

This is your chance to give something back to the industry, your profession and to grow personally along the way. Join the SPC today and become an active member of the specialty equipment and automotive market — Tracie Nuñez, Advanced Clutch Technology, SPC Chairman

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SPC is!

Be sure to follow SPC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

SPC Column in SEMA Member News

Read SPC's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about SPC, contact Bryan Harrison.

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WTC Logo
Visit WTC's website

Have You Ever Wondered How to Get More Involved in the SEMA Wheel & Tire (WTC) Council?

What exactly do the council leaders do throughout their term? Very simply, the Select Committee is elected by members of the council to serve a two-year term. They participate in monthly conference calls and meetings that are held at various trade events throughout the year. Each Select Committee member volunteers for at least 20 hours throughout the year, and some volunteer even more. Some share their experience and vision, others provide creative solutions to challenges our member companies are facing and others get their hands dirty and get it done. Each Select Committee member is supported by their company in their WTC efforts, and for that we say “thank you” to those companies!

The leaders of the WTC gathered last year at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for its annual Long-Range Planning meeting. This meeting focused on bringing value to the WTC-member companies. The past 18 months have been extremely challenging for all of our companies and the council is dedicated to utilizing SEMA’s resources to further benefit each WTC member.

Guiding the group’s effort was the council’s mission statement to “identify common problems and opportunities relating to the wheel and tire industries that the council, as an interested body of companies, can address for the common good.” A handful of exciting objectives are being developed for the council over this year and next. If you are passionate and have an interest in being involved, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for a task force with a limited investment of time that provides a great way to network and share your ideas. Please reach out to the task force chair if you want to participate or have comments.

Science and Technology Task Force

Tim Dietz (Standards Testing Laboratories Inc.) and can be reached at This group focuses on aftermarket and OEM advances that affect our industry. From creating wheel standards to improved processes for tire-pressure monitoring systems and electronic stability control, the Science and Technology Task Force plays a pivotal role in the industry’s advancement.

Education Task Force
Kelly Austin (Ultra Wheel Company) chairs this group and can be reached at The education task force is charged with developing successful programs for members to enhance their businesses. The WTC Task Force is responsible for partnering with the SEMA Educational Institute to create and promote online learning resources.

Communication and Marketing Task Force

Doug Frymer (Law Offices of Douglas A. Frymer) chairs this group and can be reached at This group focuses on membership outreach, growth and retention. It is imperative that councils effectively communicate services provided by WTC and SEMA to our members. Communication and services ensure that there is proper dialogue between leadership and membership.

SEMA Show Task Force

David Insull (American Tire Distributors) chairs this group and can be reached at The SEMA Show in Las Vegas provides the backdrop for critical networking functions. This group focuses on making WTC’s awards reception an ideal place to get together, honor one another and network with all those who share a common passion.

There are so many other things the council leadership does throughout the year. You are the expert at what your business needs and this council wants to deliver. Feel free to get in touch with us or come to one of our WTC events. Our hope is that, if you haven’t been a part of WTC yet, you will be in 2010 and beyond.

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? WTC is!

Be sure to follow WTC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

WTC Column in SEMA Member News

Read WTC's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about WTC and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call or 909/978-6696.

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YEN Logo

Visit YEN's website

YEN Member Insight: Matt D’Andria on Futurism in the Automotive Aftermarket


Matt D’Andria


If you have spent any significant time at a SEMA event or media gathering, chances are you have either met Matt D’Andria or seen his work. The 36-year-old Phoenix, Arizona, native moved to Southern California years ago to be closer to the automotive aftermarket and has been involved in dozens of digital media projects, from helping top automakers develop a digital footprint, to co-hosting Adam Carolla’s popular “CarCast” podcast and launching his latest venture as CEO of a unique online automotive community called

D’Andria was inducted into the gearhead lifestyle early, helping his father restore a Fiat Spider when he was just five years old. He “helped” his dad by hitting the freshly restored sports car with a toy hammer. At 15, Matt restored a ’65 Mustang with his brother, buying parts with money earned from a job at the local auto parts store. Eventually, D’Andria was able to combine his mutual love of technology and cars in college, where he and a friend created a tech firm and worked on a variety of high-profile automotive projects.

Today, D’Andria continues to push the boundaries of content marketing in the automotive space, connecting enthusiasts with manufacturers through digital media. We sat down with D’Andria to learn more about how automotive aftermarket companies can best take advantage of emerging technologies.

When/how did you decide to merge your experience in the dot-com world with your passion for the aftermarket?

In 1995, at 19 years old, I raised some money, quit school and started a web development company with my childhood friend, Adam Pisoni. Yahoo, at the time, was still just a directory at Stanford University and Netscape was making waves as the first web browser to support images. We learned how to work with the web—which was new at the time —and built technology solutions for Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Kia, and Clarion Car Audio. We also built websites for video games and dot-coms, including Resident Evil, Street Fighter, The Simpsons, and I wanted to start a new company and I spent all my money on cars, so I decided to build something that would allow me to work with my friends in the technology and automotive industries. I started writing a car blog in 2007 as a hobby and things grew from there.

How do you feel digital media is changing our industry?

Digital media is a powerful medium that our industry is just starting to embrace. We can attract, inform and entertain customers like never before. We can create and control our own content, and we can get in front of customers in so many ways. Installation videos and downloadable manuals on smart phones can help customers install parts. Blogs, photos and online product reviews help consumers decide which products to buy. In fact, 80% of all online purchases of $500 or more are influenced by consumers’ reviews. Don’t discount the entertainment factor, either. You may be a manufacturer, but all people, even car guys, love to browse the web for cool ideas, products, etc. Create some fun, entertaining online media and it will lead to new sales.

What is CarCast and how did you get involved with Adam Carolla?

"CarCast" is a podcast and Internet video show hosted by comedian Adam Carolla ("The Adam Carolla Show," "The Car Show," "Loveline," "The Man Show"). "CarCast" is like talk radio, but on the Internet. It’s just two guys chatting about all aspects of the industry, but with Adam’s edgy sense of humor. There’s no script and it’s uncensored, which certainly allows us to have some fun. The videos are great, too and add a dynamic that traditional radio can’t. "CarCast" regularly features automotive industry guests, such as Jay Leno, Vic Edelbrock, Chip Foose, John Hotchkis, Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, Michael Anthony from Van Halen and more. Adam and Sandy Ganz created "CarCast" about three years ago. Sandy is an incredible engineer I met working at a comparison-shopping website and he brought me in to help produce the show. I became Adam’s co-host in 2011, and it’s been a lot of fun. Adam is a talent and a true car guy. He has a great collection of about 25 cars, including three of Paul Newman’s race cars.

What roles do social media and content marketing play in the aftermarket?

More than 90% of people online in the U.S. use social media and nearly 25% of their time is spent on social networks. Furthermore, social media users are the best consumers to target. They are extremely influential to others and they are the biggest online spenders. So, for every social media user that you convert to a customer, they potentially become a powerful marketer for you as well. This is the strategy behind Motorator—build a community of like-minded enthusiasts and give them the tools to socially market to each other. Every manufacturer and vendor in our industry should have a social media person in-house or hire a firm to represent their company full-time. Small business owners who can’t afford to hire someone should learn how to utilize social media on their own. At Motorator, I personally manage all our social media.

Tell us more about—what are your short- and long-term goals? is a community dedicated to automotive performance enthusiasts. Our short-term goal was to create a hub where anyone can share their favorite automotive videos, seek and offer tech help and research the latest aftermarket parts. Our blog, for example, is a virtual showcase of more than 600 of the coolest new products to hit the market in the past couple of years. For the long-term, we’re developing the first community-driven shopping destination for performance enthusiasts. As a guy who loves tweaking my own cars, I grew frustrated knowing that there was no easy way for me to buy aftermarket products online while seeking advice from like-minded individuals on which parts best match my project.

Motorator’s approach to solving this problem is to combine online social networking with a comparison-shopping marketplace. Think of us as Facebook meets Amazon for gearheads. As a social destination, enthusiasts will be able to research the best products, get tech help, watch installation or product videos and chat with others who may already own the product. This community will be integrated into our marketplace where enthusiasts can find, compare, recommend and buy any part. We’re going to change the way enthusiasts find and purchase aftermarket products.

Motorator is designed to support manufacturers, vendors and enthusiasts. Any vendor will be able to list their products on our site and compete on the same level as everyone else. You don’t even need a website of your own. We’ll provide our shopping cart technology. When an enthusiast finds a product they want, they will see a list of vendors who sell it, can choose based on price or rating and add it to their cart. They can continue shopping from other vendors or checkout at any time.

What is your opinion on the youth market—are young people still interested in cars? How do companies connect with them?

What the aftermarket needs to worry about is not teens’ lack of interest in cars, but competition for their money from the tech sector and the fact that social media is reducing their reliance on transportation in general. Teens communicate and are entertained online and through mobile devices, and this significantly diminishes the need to physically meet. Furthermore, the gadgets of today are expensive. When I was 16, I would have never considered spending $400 on an iPad or $200 on a phone, but today those items are a necessity. This is the key issue for the aftermarket to overcome. Our goal should be making vehicles a part of teens’ social lives again. We can’t just market speed parts to teens and tell them they’re cool; we need to market cars as a social networking tool and a cool way to spend their time/money.

For someone who hasn’t been in the aftermarket long, you seem to know everybody. How did you make so many connections?

“This is the kid, he calls me 59 days in a row, wants to be a player. There ought to be a picture of you in the dictionary under persistence.” – Gordon Gekko in Wall Street

That quote from the movie Wall Street always makes me laugh, but it’s largely how I do things. When I came up with the idea for Motorator, I found SEMA and became a member. A month later, I was at the SEMA Show. I walked up to everyone I could find and said, “Hi, I’m Matt and I’m going to change this industry with my new company.” One guy I met was Dr. Jamie Meyer from GM Performance Parts. He had no idea who I was and had no reason to talk to me, but he just welcomed me to the industry and maybe spent 20 minutes answering all my questions. Unfortunately for him, I now have his cell phone number and bug him all the time. Sorry Doc. That said, to me this is a critical component to networking and new business success—don’t be shy. Talk to everyone, be outgoing and actually listen when people offer advice. Those connections will serve you well long-term.

You’ve been involved in several startups. What advice would you give someone chasing a new idea?

Don’t do it; get a real job! I’m kidding, of course. I love starting companies and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from chasing their dream. I typically take a very analytical approach to starting a business. First, identify the problem you plan to solve with your new venture. Do your research and develop your solution for that problem. If you think it’s never been done before, you’re wrong. Figure out how you are going to make your idea different and better. Then surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are. I’ve always hired to my own weaknesses. Then market the new idea as much as possible. Pitch it to everyone and anyone who will listen. If you make it past the first year, the chances of surviving grow exponentially.

2011 SPC/YEN Awards

Three significant industry awards were given out at the 2011 SPC/YEN reception—including the YEN Vanguard Award, Young Executive of the Year Award and SPC/YEN Industry Icon award.

The YEN Vanguard Award was presented to John Hotchkis of Hotchkis Suspension. As a 20-year member of the aftermarket and current member of the SEMA Board of Directors, Hotchkis has inspired, influenced and mentored dozens of young SEMA members. He was an active YEN member, is active on Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) and passionate about his work on the board. Specializing in suspension for musclecars (among the first in the industry), he founded Hotchkis Performance in 1992. Since then, he has employed dozens of young people, inspiring them all. He continues to offer internships to students in the engineering departments of several local universities, and many employees whom he hired as teenagers still work for him nearly 20 years later. He recently fought and defeated cancer and he remains an inspiration to us all.

The Young Executive of the Year Award was presented to Dan Dolan of DiabloSport Inc. Dolan worked tirelessly to promote and grow the YEN membership over the past year. His enthusiasm has been a great asset in getting the general membership more involved in YEN. He has been a positive influence in the performance aftermarket arena. Dolan is the type of person that any company would want to be represented by because of his “can-do” attitude that looks at problems as opportunities.

The SPC/YEN Industry Icon award was presented to Mike Spagnola of Street Scene Equipment. As the leader of an automotive aftermarket business, Spagnola understands the cost of doing business and the pressures that manufacturers face in all aspects of the industry. Over the past couple of years, Spagnola has served on the SEMA executive committee and governance committee, chaired the SEMA Show committee as well as the SEMA Show ‘n Shine and Gala Fundraiser efforts. In addition, he has been very active in the SEMA Cares committee and has served as the Board of Directors liaison to the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA). He was honored as SEMA’s Person of the Year in 2010.

Join YEN

Did you know that the SEMA Young Executives Network has more than 500 members networking in the industry and is the largest SEMA committee? If you are employed by a SEMA-member company and are under the age of 39, then you can join the SEMA Young Executives Network for FREE. If you are interested in becoming part of the team, please visit our website at

YEN Member of the Month Spotlight

Did you know that YEN has a Member of the Month Spotlight on the SEMA website and that anyone can be nominated? To view previous selections or to make a nomination, visit

Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? YEN is!

Be sure to follow YEN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

YEN Column in SEMA Member News

Read YEN's column featured in the May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about YEN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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Join the SEMA Council Family

SEMA hosts 10 distinct councils and committees that represent focused niches within the specialty-equipment industry. These groups are comprised of elected volunteers (Select Committee) who guide and direct council activities while representing the membership at large. Although each council acts independently and represents a different segment, they are all focused on the betterment of the industry as a whole.

The value councils provide SEMA and the industry is beyond refute. It is inspiring to witness a diverse collection of company representatives, many of which are direct competitors, come together and develop educational, training, youth awareness and networking events that are, at the core, designed to give back and promote business. An equally important council function is to ensure that SEMA sustains a pulse on the industry and maintains a presence with its members.

The question is often asked, “Why should my company join a council?” The answer is simple. SEMA councils open the doors and provide you exposure to industry leaders, decision makers, trendsetters and a community of like-minded individuals who share your passion and desire to see business succeed and prosper. Once the doors are open, it is your responsibility to take advantage of the benefits by becoming actively involved.

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