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SEMA Council & Committee News

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)
  2011–2012 SEMA council leadership.

Council Select Committee Election Results Announced

Congratulations and thank you to the following individuals who won a seat on a council Select Committee in the recent election cycle, and to the companies who support their volunteer efforts on behalf of the industry. These new and re-elected incumbent Select Committee members will contribute significant time and effort over the next two years on projects and events to provide a benefit to SEMA and council member companies. Learn more by visiting SEMA Council & Committees.

Jim Pennekamp – Trim Parts Inc.
Erika Woody – Hydro-E-Lectric
Tray Smith – H&H Classic Parts
Matt Agosta – Steele Rubber Products (incumbent)
Lenny Schaeffer – Chop Shop Customs (incumbent)

Joe Petlick – Motor State Distributing
Bob Millard – Championship Auto Shows
Todd Ryden – MSD Performance
Brian Downard – LOKAR (incumbent)
Kerry Hopperstad – Hopperstad Customs (incumbent)
Janeen Webb – Source Interlink Media (incumbent)

Todd Hoffman – A.R.E. Accessories
Kathryn Reinhardt – Go Rhino!
David Crockett – Rolling Big Power (incumbent)
Bill Cole – Yankee Custom Caps (incumbent)
Trace Walls – Jim Wrobleski & Associates (incumbent)

Chris Fairless – MagnaFlow
Chris Douglas – COMP Performance Group
Mike Crutchfield – Phoenix Race Tires/A Coker Tire Company
Scott Hall – Moroso Performance (incumbent)
John Spar – RePlay XD (incumbent)

Vic Bennett – Gantt-Thomas & Associates (incumbent)
Derrick Johnstone – Alliance Sales Ltd. (incumbent)
Jerry Nuñez – Innovative Marketing Services, LLC (incumbent)
Les Rudd – Bob Cook Sales (incumbent)

Wayne Casimir – Eagle Enterprises Inc.
Dave Edmondson – Roadwire Leather Interiors
Ginger Glover – Trucker’s Toy Store
Donna Green – Retro USA
Jerry Redding – Echomaster
Bob Carnahan – Restyling magazine (incumbent)
Ellen McKoy – EMK Marketing (incumbent)
Brian Champa – Check Corp. (incumbent)
Stefan Majlinger – Katzkin Leather Interiors (incumbent)

Julie Johnson – Skyline College
Kristy Neukam – Meyer Distributing
Sherry Price-McCall – Masters Entertainment
Camee Edelbrock – Schiefer Media (incumbent)
JoAnn Bortles – Crazy Horse Custom Paint (incumbent)
Erin Gilhuly – Toyota Motor Sales (incumbent)
Gigi Ho – Digital Performance (incumbent)

Gigi Ho – Digital Performance (incumbent)
Chris Vopat – ProMedia LLC (incumbent)

George Finch – Carlisle Transportation Products (incumbent)
Greg Senser – Nitto Tire USA Inc. (incumbent)
Chris Webster – Design I.N.F.I.N.I. Inc. (incumbent)
Shelly Urwiler – Vision Wheel (incumbent)

Jenna Jefferies – K&N Engineering
Matt Cartwright – Meyer Distributing
Jim Liaw – Formula Drift
Gonzalo Manotas – Omix-ADA Inc.

Visit TORA's website.  

TORA-member companies can have their hottest new light-truck products on display in front of thousands of enthusiasts at the Truck Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, August 3–5, 2012. Melanie White of Hellwig Industries says, “The New Products Showcase is one of my favorite benefits of TORA.” In 2011, Hellwig sent four products to Carlisle. Will your company be in the tent with Hellwig this year?



New Products Tent Filling Fast

Have you registered your hottest new light-truck accessory for the TORA New Products Showcase (NPS) in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, August 3–5? If not, you should do so right away at TORA NPS Registration. The New Products tent is rapidly running out of space, and you don’t want to be left out of this premium TORA-member benefit. An added element for 2012 is a “Stock to Show” Jeep build-out, utilizing TORA-member company products exclusively. Attendees at the build will be directed to the New Products tent to see more TORA-member company products. Attendees in the tent will likewise be directed to the Jeep build to see TORA-member company products installed live on a ’12 Jeep Rubicon.

What are members saying about the TORA New Products Showcase?

“The New Products Showcase is one of my favorite benefits of TORA,” said TORA Chair-Elect Melanie White of Hellwig Industries. “This is our third year participating and it just keeps getting better. This year there will be a Jeep onsite that will be turned from a stock vehicle into a fully customized rig by the end of the weekend, and all in front of an audience. As a manufacturer, we get to exhibit our new products in front of truck enthusiasts for the weekend for only the cost of shipping the product. A professional picture is taken of the product that lives on the TORA website in a gallery, and is shown in the TORA booth at the SEMA Show as well; it’s a bargain for the amount of exposure.”

More Reasons to Join TORA

With roots that go back to the early ’80s, 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about TORA, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit ARMO's website.
  The weather was cool at Spring Carlisle, but enthusiasts found the hottest new restoration products inside the ARMO New Products Showcase tent. The event took place April 26–29, 2012, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

ARMO New Products Photo Gallery

Photos of the products that were on display at the 2012 ARMO New Products Showcase are now available for viewing in the ARMO New Products Showcase Gallery on the ARMO website. More than 45 products were featured in this year’s Showcase from the following ARMO-member companies:

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 July/August 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
Goodguys   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 IPR, 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 IPR 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 July/August 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 MPMC's website.  
  mpmc hof
  The first four members of the MPMC Hall of Fame were inducted in 2010. From left, Jeep Worthan, John Menzler, Scooter Brothers and, accepting for Amy Faulk, Chris Fairless. The first step toward being a member of the MPMC Hall of Fame is a nomination. If you know anyone who deserves a place alongside these and other legends of our industry, please submit an online nomination now.

Nominations Now Open for MPMC Hall of Fame

The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) is now accepting nominations for its 2012 Hall of Fame. MPMC Hall of Fame nominations will be open through August 3, 2012. When nominations close, a special task force will evaluate the nominations for compliance with the award criteria. When final nominees are selected, the task force then utilizes a scoring system to determine the inductees. The honorees are formally inducted during a breakfast ceremony on Friday morning at the PRI Show in Orlando, Florida.

Founded in 2010, the MPMC Hall of Fame permanently acknowledges those who have made a significant contribution to the MPMC and/or the motorsports manufacturing segment of the aftermarket. Past inductees to the MPMC Hall of Fame include:

  • 2010: Amy Faulk, Scooter Brothers, Jeep Worthan, and John Menzler
  • 2011: Chuck Blum, Todd Gartshore, Rick Rollins and Nate Shelton

There are so many individuals deserving of a place in the MPMC Hall of Fame. But first, they must be nominated. If you know of anyone who meets the award criteria, please take a moment to submit a nomination on the MPMC Hall of Fame Nominations form.

If you have any questions, contact MPMC staff liaison Jim Skelly at 909-978-6690 or

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 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 July/August 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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MRC, contact Zane Clark.

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PRO Logo
Visit PRO's website.  

Accessory Professionals Connect the Dots

Last month, leaders in the restyling, accessory and mobile electronics industries met in Detroit for the Professional Restylers Organization’s (PRO) Long-Range Planning Meeting. Over a two-day period, the group of more than 20 individuals was asked to take off their company hats and work together in order to outline the council’s priorities over the next two to three years. With a goal of addressing business needs and strategically moving the restyling industry forward, those in attendance participated in thoughtful discussions and focused break-out sessions.

Throughout these discussions, a few reoccurring issues rose to the top. In response, PRO has established two new groups:

  • OEM Relations Committee: To establish and maintain dialogue with the OEMs and SEMA on issues related to the restyling segment.
  • Future Trends Task Force: To create a platform for restylers and manufacturers to share information on the restyling segment’s future trends and/or product needs.

To get learn more, get involved or participate in one of these groups, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

SEMA and PRO would like to thank the following companies for their participation:

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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

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

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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 July/August 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 July/August 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 provide 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 July/August 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

Ernie Manansala
YEN Member Spotlight: Ernie Manansala, Tribe Agency This month's Young Executives Network (YEN) Member Spotlight features Ernie Manansala, CEO of Tribe Agency. At 30 years of age, Manansala has 10 years of industry experience. We recently spent some time with Manansala, discussing a variety of topics that we thought would be of interest to fellow SEMA YEN members.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. How long have you worked in the industry?

I started at 19 years old as the marketing manager of König Wheels. It was a perfect time for me to be a part of that company. We had the best line of wheels that year, and the founder of König believed that based simply on my creative passion, I could help bring the brand up to the awareness level that he wanted.

How did you get your start and what positions have you held at what companies as you progressed to your current position?

I have been on and off in the industry for about 10 years now. The reason I say that is because we launched NOS Energy Drink, which now plays a major role in the automotive industry. In reality, it truly is a beverage company that had many learning experiences after we were acquired by Coca Cola, where I remained for a few years to bring the brand to the top-five energy drinks in the nation.

We understand you’re quite the gearhead and have built a number of cars during your time in the industry. Do you have a favorite amongst the cars that you’ve owned?

Yes, I will admit I’m a “gearhead,” but not so much as a builder or mechanic, but more of a designer and driver. I have always hand-drawn cars and eventually started rendering. People began to see the ideas that came to life as the renderings became cars that debuted at the SEMA Show. I would always come up with renderings to show my brother and his feedback alone was enough for me then.

Do you have any bucket-list builds?

Working in the field, I met my best friend and mentor, RJ De Vera. He gave me the “Car Crazy” illness and now nothing is safe! I have designed themes for a variety of cars, from the Mitsubishi “i” to the Nissan “GTR”—totaling about 17 builds for the SEMA Show and our clients. All of them are near and dear to me because when I look back at each car, I remember a time in my career that really helps me understand where I am today and what I can achieve for tomorrow.

I drive a BMW 525i and I love it; it really suits me at the moment. Although, I am the guy who drives a company car every day, from the Fiat 500 on Monday, Mitsubishi Evo on Tuesday, to our Outlander Sport, ’93 Mazda RX7, my ’98 Toyota Landcruiser (my zombie evacuation machine), ’88 Mazda RX7, ’93 Lexus SC 300 (2JZ) and lastly, the most precious to me, my NSX. I have a few more cars that I want to have for my personal collection, such as a yellow Acura Integra Type R, a Toyota Corolla “86,” Nissan s15, Nissan GTR R34 and Toyota Supra. I’ve got a thing for that generation of cars. Last on my current list is a Porsche 356. I just need to get it!

Let’s change gears and talk a bit about your experience at NOS Energy Drink. You were in “on the ground floor” when they were developing their brand and presence within our market. What was that like?

It was nothing like it seemed to be. It was a lot of hard work and learning. I think back and wonder, “Would I ever change anything?” The answer is no. Just imagine waking up every day feeling so happy to be who you are and loving what you do. However, like with any job, there were challenges, chief among those for me was facing the reality of having millions of dollars at stake. Every move and thought I made was always being monitored. Loving your job is everything and that’s all I needed to commit to my job. The outcome of my hard work and dedication is that NOS is currently the No. 1 energy brand in Coca Cola’s portfolio and NOS is the purest brand in the market in both the automotive and beverage industry today.

We understand that you’ve recently started your own marketing agency, Tribe, which provides marketing services to the automotive aftermarket and the action sports industry. In what way was the experience building your own company different from your time at NOS? Any similarities?

I was only 22 years old when we started NOS. I was a loose cannon back then. All jokes aside, I was offered a job at Facebook shortly after NOS, but I didn’t really know what I wanted at the time. I never thought I would leave NOS or Coca Cola, but I felt like there was a missing link. I've always been told that I am a creative thinker and artist, and I never really thought about it until my friend Mark Arcenal made me think otherwise. He helped me understand that “creativity” is a crucial part of any business and is also the heart and soul of a company. This really put things into perspective. I declined the job offers that I had lined up, including an opportunity at Facebook. My head hunter hated me.

There are a lot of great business people in the world today, but there are only a few “creative” people who can ensure that everything comes full circle. Designers only design to see the end “look.” On the other hand, I’ve always looked at the bottom dollar because I was so invested into every department at NOS and CCE. Brands today are missing out on transitioning to the new and realizing that the old just isn’t efficient after a while. You learn a lot being a part of and working at one of the largest companies in the world and that’s what I took out of being at NOS. I had to both view things from 10,000 feet in the air and roll up my sleeves at ground level every day. This meant that I did not just contribute creatively, but I also managed the business and was the grunt of every company decision and operation. Tribe is simply that—a group of people who are a part of something with one thing in mind—“building brands.” At the moment, we are known as the “social media intelligence” agency, but overall, we are just your everyday marketers, packing a punch with some powerful creative spirit, comprehensive strategies and ideas for the end consumer.

How have the experiences at NOS and Tribe and now working for your clients affected your business outlook on the market and how companies go to market with products and services?

The difference is crazy. NOS was a $2.99 item with huge volume, and now we are working with clients with a six-to-seven-figure MSRP value. My biggest thing is that brands need to be O.P.E.N.—On demand, Personable, Educating and Networking.

These are the core fundamentals that we preach to our clients and friends. Our clients and friends understand why and how O.P.E.N. works and because of their understanding we have seen ROI increase for both our clients and brands that we own today.

How important is brand identity to companies today and what advice regarding branding would you give to someone developing a business within our industry?

I’ve been asked this question a lot and it relates back to my time at NOS. At the end of the day, NOS, at its most basic element, is sugar water. It’s all about branding and who has the coolest juice in that market. Essentially, branding becomes king with your product and helps set it apart from everything else on the market. Every company needs to adapt to today’s ever-changing market and consumers, which is no easy task. With branding, you should always keep an O.P.E.N. mind, whether it’s an agency or anyone with a fresh thought. Put your money back into the company where it belongs, and invest in adapting to ideas and “creatives.” Focus on outputting great work and the rest will follow.

Building a new brand, revitalizing a brand or maintaining a brand? Which excites you the most and why?

Building, revitalizing and maintaining a brand all excite me equally because branding and brand management is my overall passion. Coming up with creative ideas to meet ROI, embrace communication, compete against another brand or answer any statements that start with “how do we?” always make me push myself and my team to limitless boundaries. In the end, when you see what you have accomplished with a brand, you see your ideas come to life and you feel a sense of achievement that’s really like nothing else. I often find myself thinking, “Wow, a computer, note pad and a crazy dude with the right ideas can really accomplish a lot,” and that moment is when it’s worth all the hard work.

Are any of these more challenging than the other?

Yes and no. Honestly, it’s more the people behind the brands. I was brought up by some of the most brilliant and complying mentors anyone could ever ask for and with that being said, learning how to work with your team and being willing to adapt to changing environments and moving targets is key. Brands that don’t adapt to changes or challenges are the brands that we tend to stay away from. Any brand can be a challenge, and all brands have challenges. The key there is to see each challenge as an opportunity. NOS energy drink had so many challenges to overcome, but now it is one of the top-five energy drinks in the nation. I know that any brand can be brought to life as long as it has the right people doing the right things to market the brand.

What would you say are some of the common challenges and pitfalls faced by emerging brands in today’s marketplace?

Being satisfied with status quo. Brands today, just like their employees, have to be willing to learn new things and grow. Before NOS, I was just a graphic designer by trade. When I joined NOS, I forced myself to learn sales, field marketing, branding and more. I learned to look at things in new ways. At that time, I was ready to do anything to see the business grow, but I think when you can roll your sleeves up and do the hard work yourself, there is nothing you can’t get through.

Another pitfall today is that people aren’t building proper ROIs for their social media efforts. It’s not just about the number of fans; it’s how you interact with them and how they interact with you. For the automotive market, social marketing is really nothing new to us; it’s just the tools that we have to use are changing. When NOS started, we did nothing but focus on local events, MySpace (new at the time) and, more importantly, forums and online communities. Social Media marketing today isn’t something that you have never seen before, it’s just been reincarnated to a more powerful monster of interconnected communication outlets on the web that are at your control now more than ever before.

If a company were to do nothing else to build or develop their brand this year, what one thing would you say should not be missed with regard to strategy?

Again it would be O.P.E.N.—On demand, Personable, Educating and Networking. You will see that this will apply to everything that you need to have your company stay afloat throughout the highs and lows.

Build it and they will come. Seems like this has been a mantra of our industry since the early days. Is it enough today for a company in the aftermarket to have a really great product or service?

It’s certainly a good start. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing and a good product, but also understand that the digital realm allows you many benefits over traditional marketing techniques with regard to speed of communication and measuring your return all while establishing and growing your brand in your customer’s eyes. Impressions used to be the hot thing in marketing. Now everything is about a “Like” because “Likes” are for everyone and you can make an impression on that one person behind that one “Like.” “Liking” something is also easy for a consumer or fan to do. It takes less effort than writing an e-mail or dialing a phone. It allows your brand to put out an idea or an offer, or simply communicate with your customers and receive instant feedback about what they think. Due to this fact, there will be no more wondering if your traditional media ads will reach the viewers it was targeting and waiting behind a computer hoping for an e-mail or sitting by your phone wondering if it will ever ring. Instead, you are in control of your brand and business, and the social media communities now build the ROI with real-time feedback from your customers, allowing you to be more agile and adapt at speeds never before possible.

Are there any specific advantages that you feel the younger people in our industry may have when it comes to dealing with branding in today’s marketplace?

Yes, 100%. I just turned 30 and I feel it already, but I really do believe that this generation will be the leaders of tomorrow. I think today’s YENsters have a different mindset than the Baby Boomers. We understand how much and how quickly change affects us today, and we understand how it is possible to make something out of nothing overnight. NOS took seven years to sell to Coca Cola; Facebook is only nine years old, Groupon is only six years old and Instagram is only one year old. This shows that technology and speed is on our side. If you don’t believe me, I am living proof. I never thought I would come out to the public with this, but just like the late Steve Jobs, I didn’t finish school. I jumped right in to the industry and hit the ground running. What choice did I have? I feel that my generation’s tech savviness combined with ever-changing technology and a drive to succeed and push ourselves to new limits have taken myself and my team to the heights that we’ve achieved today. YENsters can use those same benefits to their advantage.

Any disadvantages?

Not really. The only thing that I can foresee is the lack of experience, which only comes with time and the advice of good mentors, so don’t discount the older members of the industry completely! There’s still a lot you can learn from them.

What’s the best piece of business/career advice you ever received?

“Focus on quality and the rest will follow” – My mentors.

Who do you go to for business advice?

Well, I don’t think it’s fair to give away all of my secrets, but the people I go to for business advice change from time to time; there isn’t one set person. My family plays a huge role in my life. It’s said you should not mix business with family, but without my family I wouldn’t be who I am today. I always go to them for advice because they are the reason why I work so hard. Also, I wouldn't be anywhere without RJ De Vera and Mommy B & C’s help and advice. Carl Sweat, my former president at Coca Cola, because he always makes me see things 10 years ahead of time. Victor C at ID agency, because he's always pointing me in the right direction. For my agency life, Marc Arcenal at, because he keeps my creative passion burning. My little brother Mark, because no one knows me better than him and, lastly, my team at Tribe—they are the heartbeat in everything I do.

Any parting thoughts or advice that you’d like to share with your fellow YENsters?

I tend to be honest and sometimes not politically correct, but I think that when I say that SEMA may seem like the “cool kids club” to those on the outside looking in that it may ring true to some. But in all honesty, the people of SEMA and the people in YEN and those relationships have taken me, my companies and clients to places we never thought would be possible. So believe in your YEN members and SEMA leaders because they are the purest people in the industry and have the right resources and knowledge in their corner for the industry at all times to help you achieve your dreams. Get involved, and make those contacts.

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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about YEN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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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.

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