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SEMA Council & Committee News: PRO Member Profile—Chair-Elect Jeff Fink

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

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Visit PRO's website.  
Jeff Fink

PRO Member Profile—Chair-Elect Jeff Fink

By Amanda Gubbins

Jeff Fink has been involved in the automotive industry for most of his life, beginning with sweeping the floors at his father’s manufacturing business. Currently, he is the vice president of OEM sales and special markets at THI, a leading provider of truck bed protection. THI brands include Advantage Truck Accessories, BedRug, Extang, Truxedo and UnderCover. He is also responsible for sales and marketing at Advantage Truck Accessories in Indiana.

Fink first joined SEMA in the early ’90s. After attending a Long-Range Planning meeting on the recommendation of former Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) Chairman Karl Stearns, Fink began to see the value of PRO. He joined the council about eight years ago, became a Select Committee member in 2008 and will begin his first term as chairman July 1.

Fink is excited about the work PRO is doing because it is a gathering place for such a varied group of people. Restyling companies, truck accessory companies, warehouses, manufacturers and many others all bring unique perspectives and ideas to the council. He believes this is vital in helping the industry grow after coming out of a challenging time. “Business has resurged a bit, and it’s busier for people. [PRO] helps pull resources together through functions,” he says.

Chances for council members to learn and share insight take place through quarterly updates and events. In particular, Fink is excited about PRO’s Long-Range Planning meeting. This year, emphasis is on collaboration between manufacturers and restylers for future projects. Another topic of discussion is how to best increase the connection between restylers and consumers.

Another opportunity for members is the PRO reception at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, November 5. This event provides networking opportunities for council members. “There’s a lot of value to that, particularly in sharing challenges and how to deal with them,” says Fink. It also provides an opportunity for the council to recognize industry leaders.

One of Fink’s main goals as chairman is to increase transparency among leadership and with members. “This will be reflected in the job that we do; if members recruit new members, it will indicate that they trust and value the council,” he says.

He also hopes to see existing members become more engaged in the council. While acknowledging it can be difficult to know how to help, Fink encourages members to find an area for involvement. “PRO is a wide-open organization,” he says. “There is always plenty to do.”

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

PRO leadership discusses ways to improve the industry during a meeting at the 2012 SEMA Show.

The Nuts and Bolts of Running a Successful Restyling Business

What tops the to-do list at your company? Are you looking for creative ways to win new customers and keep them happy? Hire, train and retain qualified employees? Gain a competitive edge in your marketplace? Expand and run a more streamlined and profitable accessory business? Every professional restyler and installer faces these and other challenges.

Inside the PRO Business Development Guidebook, you’ll find innovative, practical solutions and useful step-by-step guidelines and information to help you manage and run a more profitable and professional restyling business, be it start-up or an established restyling center.

Beginning with an overview of the importance of having a business plan—including tips on how to develop a business plan and the many purposes it can serve—the manual offers chapter-by-chapter strategies for creating, operating and maintaining a successful business. They include understanding the basics of business finance, the importance of quality and service and how to make them your business hallmarks, building knowledge and skills among your employees and branding your restyling business as a market leader.

Through the collective experience of accessory professionals, the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) has developed this member-only resource (and many others) to help your business succeed and prosper. PRO represents the collective interests of all SEMA-member companies serving the restyling and accessory market—including manufacturers, warehouse distributors, manufacturer's reps, restylers and installers. As a member company, you can work with PRO to build solid, mutually beneficial relationships with OEMs and new- and used-vehicle dealers, participate in ongoing efforts to elevate the level of professionalism throughout all sectors of the industry, enhance customer satisfaction and have a voice on issues that impact the industry.

To learn more visit or contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

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 March/April 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.

ARMO-member restoration products are displayed in front of 100,000+ enthusiasts in the ARMO HOT Products Showcase tent at Spring Carlisle, April 24–27, 2013.

Register Now for the ARMO HOT Products Showcase

The annual ARMO New Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle is now the ARMO HOT Products Showcase. If you have participated in the past, you know how much valuable product exposure is available through this event. Only now, the opportunity is available for whatever restoration product you would like to showcase (limit four per company); not just “new” products.

The event takes place April 24–27, 2013, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and online registration is now open. Put your “hottest” restoration product directly in front of 100,000+ restoration enthusiasts at Spring Carlisle. Each product is professionally photographed while on display, and the photos are posted in a gallery on the ARMO website, so the exposure only begins at Carlisle.

This is available only to ARMO members, and is included with the annual ARMO membership fee. Don’t miss out, register your products now!

For more information, contact Jim Skelly at

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 March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about ARMO, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit HRIA's website
Brian Downard of Lokar Performance Products presented a unique seminar this year that incorporated hands-on training with a contest that was recorded for "Motorhead Garage."
The HRIA’s Education Day gives attendees more than 40 different manufacturer seminars to choose from that cover all aspects of building and restoring hot rods.

HRIA Education Day Recap

By Todd Ryden

What better way to keep up with technology and product knowledge than with the companies that build the products for the hot-rod industry? That’s exactly what the HRIA’s annual Education Day offers to attendees of the Hotrod & Restoration trade show.

This year (March 14–15), HRIA hosted more than 40 seminars that gave attendees direction and information on subjects ranging from vehicle wiring and controlling modern drivetrains, to suspension tuning, charging systems and nearly every other part of a hot-rod project. The "students," made up of jobbers, builders and installers, gathered first-hand knowledge and had the opportunity to talk directly with the speakers. It was similar to walking into the pit garage at a NASCAR race and listening in with the crew chief, and many of the seminars were standing-room only.

This was the 15th year for the Hotrod & Restoration show and plans are already underway to be back in Indianapolis for 2014, with Education Day preceding the show opening. If you would like more information on the HRIA and how to get involved with Education Day, please contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

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 March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about HRIA, contact Zane Clark.

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Visit TORA's website.  
Melanie White

Introducing Melanie White—TORA Chair-Elect

By Amanda Gubbins

Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) Chair-Elect Melanie White’s great grandfather and grandfather started Hellwig Products in 1946. Over the past 67 years, it has grown into a thriving business, proudly offering 100% American-made products. Though White never planned to go into the automotive aftermarket, she was able to fill a gap in her family’s company eight years ago when she started in an outside sales position. It did not take long for White to fall in love with the industry.

“What we do is just fun,” she says.

Since White first started at Hellwig, she has moved up in the company, first as marketing manager, and last summer she took on the new role of vice president. White enjoys the variety of her job. Some of her favorite aspects are the opportunity for involvement in marketing the company and going out to meet people and promote the brand.

White’s involvement with SEMA began early in her career when one of Hellwig’s accounts was with a company in Stockton, California. There, she met former TORA Chairperson Anne Johnson, who became White’s mentor through the SEMA mentoring program. It was through this mentorship that White first became involved with the TORA, attending networking events and Long-Range Planning meetings. White will take over as council chair for the TORA, July 1.

White is excited about what the council members will accomplish together over the next two years. “It’s fun to be a part of a group that is for the greater good of the industry,” says White of her role on TORA’s Select Committee. “I work with incredibly smart people. It’s a great environment where everyone’s focused on helping membership.”

A challenge that White sees for members of the industry is navigating changes in technology, both on the manufacturing and marketing levels, with the Internet and social media. “I think technology is really the best and the worst for us,” she says.

Issues, such as technology, are important to discuss, but ultimately, White feels her most important role as chair will be meeting the needs of the council members. “I want to address whatever they speak the loudest about,” says White.

At this time, she feels there is a need for online training tools and hopes to continue the work of current Chairman George Lathouris on development of a training module.

As far as opportunities for council involvement, White says there are many. “Volunteering is really important for our industry. We need different voices from different parts of the industry. It’s really about raising your hand and saying you want to get involved.”

For more information about TORA and how to join, contact Jim Skelly or call 909-978-6690.

Affordable and effective online product training is now available through the SEMA Product Training Center on SEI’s website. The online training is designed to enhance and expand existing training programs, making product information available to virtually anyone with an Internet connection.

TORA Product Training a Reality

The Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) and the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) recently launched an innovative, online product training program—the SEMA Product Training Center. A joint effort between TORA and SEI, this new program allows manufacturers to efficiently and effectively provide product training to hundreds or even thousands of resellers throughout the industry for what they might spend to reach only a handful using traditional means. At the same time, it provides resellers with an effective, efficient and consistent method of educating their sales staff. Sign up and participation is open to all resellers, free of charge.

The SEMA Product Training Center is designed to be easy to use and includes simple enrollment. For more information or to sign up for a training module, visit the SEMA Product Training Center.

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 March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about TORA, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit MPMC's website.  

MPMC Business Guidelines Manual

MPMC members may now reference and download the MPMC Business Guidelines Manual from the new MPMC Learning Track on the SEMA Education Institute (SEI). Previously available only in hard copy, MPMC members now have this valuable information at their fingertips via an Internet connection.

Written, produced and designed specifically for performance product manufacturers, the manual addresses the many challenges such companies face. Definitions, resources, options and examples also are included in the various sections of the manual. Each section is written in simple details, making it quick and easy to read. Sample documents and verbiage are also included to help members decide which practices will be best for their individual businesses.

Chapters and topics include:
  • Bar codes
  • Catalogs and price sheets
  • Cooperative advertising programs
  • Counterfeiting
  • Debt collections
  • Electronic Data Interchange
  • Freight policies
  • International business
  • Manufacturers reps
  • Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP)
  • Packaging
  • Insurance
  • Terms and Conditions
Go directly to the MPMC Education Track on SEI to begin taking advantage of these MPMC-member benefits.

Not yet an MPMC member? Download an application or contact Jim Skelly at or 909-978-6690 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 March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit MRN's website.  

What Does It Mean to Be a Sales Professional?

SEMA’s Manufacturers' Rep Network (MRN) hosts a discussion group on Linkedin for professional reps and sales agents. Recently, MRN asked the question, “In one word, what does it mean to be a sales professional?”

The list as submitted by members of the Linkedin group includes:

  • Credibility
  • Relationships
  • Trust
  • Service
  • Commitment
  • Ethics
  • Produce
  • Knowledge
  • Relevance
  • Value

Join the conversation; join MRN at For more details on how to get involved or to learn how professional reps and agents can help your business, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

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

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

MRN Column in SEMA Member News

Read MRN's column featured in the March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MRN, contact Zane Clark.

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SBN Logo
Visit SBN's website.

Vote for Your Favorite SBN 20th Anniversary Logo

The finalists for SBN's 20th Anniversary Logo Contest have been announced. Here’s your chance to select the winning design. Check out the logos on SBN’s official Facebook page and vote for your favorite. One vote per person. 

Voting ends April 19.

SBN Members Map Updated

Fellow SBNer Susan Carpenter has been working hard in updating the SBN members map, including adding new members and member location changes.

This map serves a great purpose. It allows SBN to find fellow members in our area so we can make connections year round. So check out the SBN members map and get to networking!

Join the discussion on MySEMA!

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 March/April issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about SBN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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WTC Logo
Visit WTC's website
Joe Schaefer

Joe Schaefer to Begin Term as WTC Chairman in July

By Amanda Gubbins

Joe Schaefer, president of Konig American, has been a SEMA member for his entire career and completed two full terms as a Select Committee member of the Wheel and Tire Council (WTC). In July, Schaefer will begin his term as WTC chairman.

Schaefer brings a well-rounded perspective to the council, having a long history in different facets of the automotive industry. His career began with NASCAR as a driver in the ’70s and was sponsored by a wheel company until an injury forced his career to take a different turn. Schaefer spent the ’80s running retail stores and is now involved in the factory side of the industry. For the past 20 years he has worked with Konig American, becoming president in November 2012.

As far as goals for his term as chairman, Schaefer says they are pretty straightforward. He hopes to continue to develop and carry out board initiatives that will improve the function of the board and council overall. He recognizes the importance of collaboration—within the council and with other councils—and wants to promote the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC). The SDC is a way to organize, manage and share product data, but also offers education and training. Schaefer feels the custom wheel industry has room for growth in utilizing this resource to its full potential.

Another goal is to grow a more rounded council. Schaefer has targeted a few groups in particular, one being members of the tire industry. “We need to make a big effort to get tire companies more involved. We need them on the board and at our show,” says Schaefer. Another group he feels is lacking in the council is the younger generation. Schaefer has in mind initiatives to break barriers and welcome new companies to the WTC.

Education is a large part of this effort. “We need to educate the youth market,” says Schaefer. “Education is the single biggest item we have to offer individuals [in the council].” Webinars and open meetings at shows also provide many opportunities for learning and collaboration. The challenge is in getting the word out about these resources and creating an excitement for all that is happening within the industry.

Most importantly, Schaefer cares about the future. “The reason I do what I do is because I believe in our industry,” he says. He hopes that other WTC members are just as excited to partner by donating their time and effort to keep moving forward and leaving a thriving industry for the next generation of manufacturers.

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

Freedom Tire Distributors' Tom Hofmann (Left) and SEMA WTC Hall of Fame inductee Joe Findeis attended the luncheon to meet and network with wheel and tire dealers from across California. Hosts Networking Lunch for Tire Pros

Hosted by Billy Eordekian of, a tire industry networking luncheon provided an ideal atmosphere for leaders to discuss business and recognize a few of their own.

Among those recognized were Joe Findeis of Wheel Consultants, who had been inducted into the SEMA Wheel & Tire Council Hall of Fame. He was introduced by Wayne Williams of Exsell Marketing. Also honored were the late Bruce Scher of Scher Tire and representatives from Daniels Tire Service, which had achieved 100 years in business.

Past California Tire Dealers Association (CTDA) presidents were acknowledged, including Paul Bobzin, who is also a past president of the NTDRA—the forerunner of the Tire Industry Association (TIA). Board members Jay Goldberg and Ed King were recognized and then board member Scott Highfill of Great Western Tire talked about the active San Diego region of CTDA.

Board Members Ed King and Eordekian, representing the CDTA, helped facilitate the afternoon. According to Eordekian, “ will continue to support these events because it is always interesting and satisfying to see the attendees intermingle and exchange conversation. This is an opportunity for businesses to come together, share common experiences and help promote the industry.”

At the end of the day, Eordekian puts things in perspective by sharing a motto of “check, recheck, recheck and deliver—it is important to guarantee customer satisfaction."

Among the more than 50 guests in attendance were: American Tire Distributors, Bob's Tire Service, Capital Original Wheels, Commercial Tire, Daniels Tire Service, Dapper Tire, Discount Tire Centers, Exsell Marketing, Fairmont Tire, Freedom Tire Distributors, Golden West Tire, Grand Prix Tire, Great Western Tire, ITDG, Jewell Tire, King's Discount Tire, King's Tire Wholesale, La Canada Firestone, Leiniger & Short, LKQ Keystone, Mountain View Tire, Parts & People magazine, Pep Boys, Performance Plus Tire, Pete's Road Service, SEMA, Sunrise Auto Center, Tire Dealers Warehouse, Turbo Wholesale Tire, Westcoast Tire, Wheel Consultants – The Ultimate Wheel & Tire Plus Sizing Guide and Wholesale Tire Distributors/American Tire Depot.

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 March/April 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 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 March/April 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.

Learn more today