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SEMA Council & Committee News: TORA Readies for Carlisle Jeep Build

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)

Visit TORA's website.  
Looks like Christmas in July as Bob Smeigh and the gang at RV 4 Wheel Drive & Performance Automotive get ready for the Jeep Build at the Carlisle Truck Nationals, August 3–5. Products from TORA-member companies will be installed on a ’12 Jeep Rubicon in front of a live audience during the event.

TORA Readies for Carlisle Jeep Build

An added feature to this year’s TORA New Products Showcase event at the Carlisle Truck Nationals is a live vehicle build-out. Technicians from TORA-member retailer RV 4Wheel Drive & Performance Automotive in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, will transform a ’12 Jeep Rubicon from stock to fully modified and accessorized, right in front of the thousands of light-truck enthusiasts attending the event.

TORA thanks the following companies for participating in the project: Airaid, Bestop, Cepek, Daystar, Flowmaster, GoRhino!, Hella, Hellwig, Mickey Thompson, N-Fab, Putco, Rampage, Rolling Big Power, Skid Row, Skyjacker, Stratec, Superchips, Superlift, Timbren, Warn, Weathertech and Westin.

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 the “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 on-site 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.”

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.


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.

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.

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

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.  

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.  

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.

  sbn build
Theresa Contreras of L&G Enterprises will lead the paint/body team during each phase of the SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women.

Team Finalized for SEMA Mustang Build Powered By Women

The all-female build team is now finalized for the SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women. Starting in July at Source Interlink Media’s Southern California headquarters, the team of technicians, enthusiasts and industry personnel will work together to customize the ’13 Ford Mustang GT donated by Ford Motor Co.—the title sponsor of the project.

The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) assembled more than 30 women for the team to install 50-state-legal, street-legal aftermarket parts provided by SEMA-member manufacturers and suppliers on the Mustang GT. The team will transform the vehicle into the winning black-chrome, satin luxury Mustang concept known as “High Gear,” which was designed by Jennifer Seely of Ford and chosen by Source Interlink magazine readers and fans in June. The completed vehicle will be auctioned off on eBay Motors with proceeds being donated to the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Kellie Colf, SBN assembly coordinator and president of Colf Creative Resources, said, "I am thrilled to be working with such a talented team of women. There are SBN members coming in from all corners of the industry, with all levels of expertise and it’s amazing to witness. The best part is that I get to work with other like-minded female gearheads, build an amazing car and help fund scholarships for future industry leaders all at the same time!"

The following women from the SBN will lead their respective teams during each phase of the build in El Segundo, California. For more information about the women behind the project and the manufacturers supporting them, visit and follow the build at and

Powertrain Team: JoAnn Bortles, Crazy Horse Custom Paint, Waxhaw, North Carolina 

The SEMA Mustang Build was the brainchild of JoAnn Bortles after she participated in a successful all-female motorcycle build. Bortles has more than 30 years of experience as an award-winning custom painter, airbrush artist, welder/fabricator, photojournalist and is the author of six books. In addition to having owned a Mustang repair shop in the early ’80s, she is one of the first women to own and operate a custom paint shop in the United States.

Paint/Body Team: Theresa Contreras, L&G Enterprises, San Dimas, California

With a background in graphic design, Theresa Contreras’ vast experience includes vehicle design concepts and renderings, with a specialty in custom painting. She’s been featured numerous times in paint tech articles and recently participated in an episode of “Car Warriors,” where she was the first female team leader. During the competition, Contreras led her team to victory with their ’70 Chevrolet C-10.

Undercarriage Team: Mollie Lewis, All in the Wrist Auto and Diesel Repair, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mollie Lewis has been in the automotive/diesel service and repair industry for 25 years. Her certifications include: EPA Certification Refrigerant and Reclamation and Handling, MOOG Alignment Certification and No Code Diagnostic Strategies. As an ASE-certified technician, Lewis is well equipped to lead the team of women who will install the aftermarket exhaust, suspension, wheels and tires.

Interior & Stereo Team: Kristin Cline, Cie Studios, Long Beach, California

Kristin Cline’s automotive experience began when she acquired her first classic car more than six years ago. Cline is comfortable working on various years/makes/models of vehicles and maintains her own blog about the automotive hobby at She is also a founding member of the Gasoline Girls car club where she shares her knowledge and encourages other women to get their hands dirty in the garage.

Quality Inspection Team: Jennifer LaFever, RoushYates Racing Engines, Mooresville, North Carolina

Jennifer LaFever has been in the automotive industry for several years and has earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and attended Universal Technical Institute for automotive technology and motorsports. LaFever’s expertise is in component inspections, mathematical calculations and diagnostics with a strong understanding of electronics.

The SBN Vehicle Build Task Force is comprised of Task Force Chair Rose Kawasaki (Exports International), Project Vehicle Coordinator Sherry Kollien (Ford Motor Co.), Assembly Coordinator Kellie Colf (Colf Creative Resources), PR/Media Coordinator Camee Edelbrock (Schiefer Media Inc.) and Product Coordinator Susan Carpenter (JR Products). Advisors include Mike Spagnola (Street Scene Equipment), Joel Ayres (Bedslide/Takit) and Marla Moore (Hypertech).

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.  
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

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.

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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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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