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SEMA Council & Committee News: Meet Your Newly Appointed YEN Select Committee Members

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


YEN Logo

Visit YEN's website
Calvin Chan
Jason Liu
Lindsay Hubley
Matt Reasoner
Rodney Bingham
Rory Connell
Scott Lowe

Meet Your Newly Appointed YEN Select Committee Members

By Amanda Gubbins

SEMA’s networks and councils are run by a volunteer body of SEMA members, called the Select Committee. The Young Executives Network (YEN) has announced new and returning members to the Select Committee, who will serve beginning July 1.

Calvin Chan, Director of Operations, GTSPEC Auto Sports, New Select Committee Member

Calvin Chan has been in the automotive high-performance aftermarket industry for nearly 10 years. Currently, he is the director of operations at GTSPEC AutoSports. Chan attends the SEMA Show and regularly participates in YEN meetings via phone. Chan’s goal as a YEN Select Committee member is to help other members grow as professionals in the industry.

Jason Liu, President, R-Rev Sports, New Select Committee Member

Jason Liu is a multi-lingual automotive professional who holds a Master’s degree in communication arts and graphics. Liu is the president of R-Rev Sports. Under his direction since 2008, R-Rev Sports has grown to manufacture additional product lines beyond their core business of Subaru exterior aero parts and interior treatments, including HID and LED lighting systems. Liu is most excited about joining the YEN Select Committee because he understands the importance of helping fellow young professionals in the auto industry.

Lindsay Hubley, Director of New Business Development, The Promotion Company/Family Events
, Returning Select Committee Member

Lindsay Hubley has been in the automotive aftermarket for more than 15 years. She has worked both with SEMA and many SEMA-member companies on multiple events, including the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour, Hot Rod 65th Anniversary Homecoming and the Lucas Oil Off Road Expo. Putting to good use her event expertise and enthusiasm for the industry, Hubley is a task force chair of SEMA Launch Pad Presented by YEN—a new competition, which gives young executives the chance to showcase their business plans. Over the past six months, she and her team have developed the project into a full-scale event that launched in April. As a Select Committee member, Hubley will continue her dedication to the Launch Pad competition and betterment of YEN.

Matt Reasoner, Regional Sales Manager, BedRug, Inc., Returning Select Committee Member

Matt Reasoner has worked in the automotive aftermarket for nearly 10 years, spending the past two and a half years working as regional sales manager for BedRug. He is a firm believer in building strong relationships, for which YEN provides the perfect venue. Reasoner is an enthusiast first and foremost, and is excited to work with the future leaders of our industry as a Select Committee member.

Rodney Bingham, President, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow, New Select Committee Member

Rodney Bingham works hard to encourage the younger generation’s involvement in the industry through Hot Rodders of Tomorrow. The program has been very successful and continues to grow each year. Because of Bingman’s firsthand experience in working with the youth of our industry, he brings a unique perspective to the Select Committee.

Rory Connell, General Manager, Source Automotive Engineering, Returning Select Committee Member

Rory Connell’s experiences in the aftermarket industry have helped form him into a well-rounded individual with valuable opinions about the market. He got his start working in a small restoration shop, and he has since worked for Barry’s Speed Shop, West Coast Customs, Callaway Cars and currently Source Automotive Engineering. Connell is eager to share his knowledge and perspective as a Select Committee member and looks forward to continuing to grow through the opportunities YEN provides.

Scott Lowe, President/CEO, High Xpectations-All or Nothing, New Select Committee Member

Scott Lowe has been a SEMA member for 15 years. He has exhibited at the SEMA Show five times, once winning Chevrolet’s Best Exterior Design For Truck award for his design on the Chevy Blazer. Lowe owns and operates a vehicle customs shop, High Xpectations, which is now in its 15th year. As evidenced by the name of his business, Lowe has deep passion for and commitment to excellence. His innovative ideas, creative visions, networking capabilities and hard work have allowed him to attain great success. Lowe feels he has a natural aptitude for leadership and hopes to inspire confidence in those who look to him for guidance. As a visionary, Lowe consistently seeks to adjust and improve to meet the needs of an ever-changing business environment—skills he believes will serve YEN well during his term.

YEN is open to all SEMA members 39 years old and younger. The network is free to join, and provides members with educational and networking opportunities, along with the chance to grow as a professional through volunteer positions. For more information about YEN, contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of councils, at or 909-978-6691.

YEN's first-ever “SEMA Launch Pad” contest offers executive-level innovators under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their business plan for marketing a new automotive product or service.

YEN Launches the Next Young Automotive Entrepreneur

By Bryan Harrison

The SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN) celebrates young entrepreneurs by announcing the first-ever “SEMA Launch Pad” contest. This new competition offers executive-level innovators under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their business plan for marketing a new automotive product or service.

Through this competition, five finalists will have their business plans peer-reviewed by industry leaders at the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The grand-prize winner will receive a package of advertising tools to help take their business to the next level. The participant’s company will win an array of prizes, including a 10x10-ft. booth at the 2014 SEMA Show, an ad in Hot Rod or 4 Wheel & Off Road magazine, a Family Events sponsorship package and more. Even if you don’t win the grand prize, you and your company may be promoted to thousands of industry professionals curious to learn more about your innovative product or service.


  • The company’s leading executive (company president, CEO or owner) is the participant on behalf of the company. As a YEN member (under age 40), you, the executive, will complete the online application and submit a three-minute video detailing your company’s innovative product or service.
  • Your brief video will be reviewed by the YEN Task Force, from which the top 10 candidates will be selected.
  • The 10 candidates will be reduced to five, according to which ones receive the most “like” votes via a YEN Facebook page campaign this summer.
  • The five candidates will be invited to participate in a live peer review presentation at the 2013 SEMA Show.
  • The SEMA Show judges will select the winning YEN executive.

Key deadlines:

  • Three-minute video and application due by June 11, 2013.
  • Top 10 candidates’ submissions posted on the YEN Facebook page. Facebook voting campaign runs from July 29, 2013, to September 5, 2013. The five candidates with the most “like” votes proceed to the contest finals.
  • Top five candidates make a live, 10-minute presentation to the panel of judges at the SEMA Show.

Basic Requirements:

  • Participants must be a YEN member (under 40 years old on November 8, 2013) and a legal resident of the United States. Not a YEN member? Become one now.
  • YEN member’s company must be a SEMA member. Not a SEMA member? Become one now.
  • YEN member’s company must qualify to exhibit at the 2013 SEMA Show (but does not have to exhibit).
  • The automotive product or service competing in the SEMA Launch Pad contest must be functioning and currently for sale. No concepts accepted.
  • The top five YEN participants will travel to the SEMA Show at their own expense to compete in the live event. The YEN participant must make the presentation before the SEMA Show judges (no substitutes).
  • All taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize-winning company. Tax liability is based on the value of the prizes.
  • By participating in the contest, the YEN participant certifies that he/she has ownership rights to the trademarks, service marks, copyrights, patents and any other intellectual property rights or proprietary information of the company and product/service being marketed, or authorization from the owner of such rights.

It’s time to launch the next Young Automotive Entrepreneur. For more information and to fill out the application, visit If you have questions, please contact Bryan Harrison, SEMA's senior manager of councils, at

YEN Member of the Month Spotlight

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

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

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

YEN Column in SEMA Member News

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

For information about YEN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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Visit ARMO's website.
A record number 71 products from 32 ARMO-member companies highlighted the ARMO Hot Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle.
Restoration industry veterans Shawn Green, Roger Neihaus, Dave Mihalko Sr. and Steve Ames share some good times at the 2013 ARMO Industry Mixer at Spring Carlisle. The Hot Products tent provided the perfect atmosphere for colleagues to catch up after the winter months.

ARMO Hot Products Showcase and Mixer

ARMO helped kick off the “official” 2013 restoration season at Spring Carlisle by hosting the ARMO Hot Products Showcase and Industry Mixer. More than 30 ARMO-member companies displayed a record number 71 restoration products inside the Showcase tent, Thursday–Saturday, April 25–27. Formerly known as the “New” Products Showcase, the name change to “Hot” Products allowed more companies to participate. The 100,000+ attendees at Spring Carlisle are able to see the hottest and latest offerings, and get information on how and where to purchase them.

In addition to the product exposure offered by the Showcase tent, ARMO also hosted an Industry Mixer on Thursday evening of the event, right inside the Showcase tent. ARMO members and other restoration industry professionals enjoyed food, drink and caught up with friends old and new. More than 70 people attended this year’s mixer—another record for the annual Showcase event.

A photo gallery of this year’s Showcase products will be posted on the ARMO website shortly. To see galleries from previous years, visit ARMO Showcase Photo Galleries.

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

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

ARMO Column in SEMA Member News

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

For more information about ARMO, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit ETTN's website 

COMP Performance Group Adopts Dashboard Technology

By Amanda Gubbins

Chris Douglas, vice president of marketing at the COMP Performance Group, firmly believes that there has never been a better time to be in business. Marketing a product or service is easier than ever with the direct access that social media offers. “Before, you always had to go through someone else. There was always someone in the middle translating. With social media, now we can post right to passionate fans. We can instantly ask a question and they give very honest feedback,” he says.

Keeping track of the conversations taking place is important. Dashboard technology makes that simple for users.

Douglas’ first exposure to dashboards was during a visit to the headquarters of online apparel retailer Zappos, where a screen showed incoming orders from around the world. The COMP Performance Group adopted the technology about two months ago. Though there are many choices, their application of choice is Leftronic.

Different vendors provide customizable widgets that can be used with Leftronic to display any information that an organization needs to see. The COMP Performance Group displays 10 unique dashboards on a 54-in. monitor. “The dashboard really serves a dual purpose for us,” says Douglas. “First, it is a constant visual reminder of what’s going on and our traffic on the web. We also do many tours and it’s a great conversation piece when guests come in.”

The COMP Performance Group also collects data about site traffic in a more granular form for tracking purposes, but the dashboard provides a visual aid. “If this information is out of sight, it’s out of mind. Since we are pulled in so many different directions, we need that constant reminder,” says Douglas.

A dashboard is dedicated to the social media use of the Group’s two largest brands. The other, smaller brands are combined on one board, where web analytics and social media are tracked. “It’s cool to see where web traffic is coming from on the websites. We watch it start heavy on the East Coast and slowly migrate west as the work day begins in different time zones,” says Douglas.

Leftronic’s capabilities are not limited to web analytics. The COMP Performance Group has another dashboard in the marketing department, where vacations are posted and a funny picture of the week appears. “It’s a morale boost for our department,” says Douglas.

Over time, Douglas knows that the Group will continue to refine the way they use the technology. Currently, they are working with Leftronic to develop a board that will visualize the inter-company project management system and keep everyone organized.

Douglas encourages others to look into how the technology might benefit their companies. The low cost makes it feasible and, with its flexibility, the possibilities are endless.

To learn more about the ETTN, please contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of councils, or visit

How Increasing Amounts of Ethanol at the Pump Can Affect You

By Sean Crawford – JE Pistons

This carburetor is an example of corrosion caused by E10 fuel. Photo credit: Tom Shaw.
Annual ethanol targets are scheduled to continually rise until we reach 36 billion gallons in 2022.

If you haven’t noticed by now, most gasoline sold in the United States now contains ethanol. In fact, more than 90% of all gasoline contains up to 10% ethanol. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that ethanol usage in fuel increase from nine billion gallons per year in 2008 to just less than 14 billion gallons in 2013. The mandate is part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The principle behind the laws was well-intentioned but potentially misplaced—increasing our usage of renewable energy while reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Year after year, the annual ethanol targets are scheduled to continually rise until we reach 36 billion gallons in 2022. Most of our consumption today is accomplished through the current E10 fuel (90% gasoline, 10% ethanol) commonly found at the pump. Alternatives, such as E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) for “flex-fuel” vehicles exist as well, but are harder to find in most areas and therefore do not make up the majority of the ethanol usage. It is important to note that gas pump labels for E10 and below are subject to state law. Since a number of states, such as California, don’t require a label, motorists may not be aware that they are putting ethanol in their tank.

Ethanol, as a fuel, has its share of advantages. For example, it can be produced from domestically grown corn or other biofuels that is raised by our own farmers. It can also carry a higher octane rating, assuming it has not been contaminated by absorbing water. For the modern performance enthusiast, E85 has become a popular low-budget race fuel for everything from supercharged modern muscle to turbocharged import vehicles. Some enthusiasts can even be found carrying spare plastic fuel tanks in the back of their vehicles to extend their range between visiting the limited stations that carry E85 fuel. It would seem that a market like ours, with such an emphasis on performance, would welcome ethanol with open arms.

The reality is that there are all types of vehicles and equipment that require pure gasoline. Many were designed long before chemicals, such as ethanol, had been considered during the design and validation processes. Critical components, such as engine seals, gaskets, fuel lines and most internal components, were once tortured on engine dynamometers, scorched in hot weather tests and designed assuming nothing less than 100% gasoline would be cycled through the engine during normal operation. As you can imagine, introducing a new fuel into service can bring a new share of unexpected problems. To start, ethanol is hydroscopic, which means it attracts moisture, which leads to increased levels of water in the fuel system. The current E10 blend has the ability to absorb 0.5% volume before reaching a point where water will actually accumulate outside of the fuel mixture (called phase separation). For a 15-gallon fuel tank, that is about 1.2 cups of water that can be introduced into the fuel and supporting systems. This water formation can lead to metal corrosion and the deterioration of plastics and rubber.

The corrosion issue is most detrimental in carbureted vehicles, which include hot rods, musclecars and a large number of production vehicles. Many of the critical components of a carburetor, such as the main body and float bowls, are die cast from aluminum or zinc. When these materials are exposed to ethanol or the water often contained within ethanol, they create a corrosive combination that can lead to carburetor malfunction and potential failure. In addition, the extra moisture that is introduced into the fuel can lead to buildup or “sludge” that can clog the precision internals of a carburetor responsible for proper fuel delivery. Outside of carburetors, the materials that are commonly used to manufacture gaskets, seals and fuel lines are not consistently manufactured with ethanol-resistant fluorinated polymers. After prolonged exposure to ethanol, these materials can deteriorate, clog fuel filters and result in dangerous fuel leaks.

Today, the EPA and ethanol producers are pushing to allow a 50% increase in ethanol content in gasoline by introducing E15 to more markets. The reason is simple—to meet the federal law’s ever-growing demand for renewable fuels—a demand that cannot be met by E10.

SEMA’s Government Affairs Office is working hard to protect unsuspecting motorists and companies that produce their vehicles and equipment. SEMA is asking that E15 be banned at this time and that the federal law’s renewable fuel mandates be adjusted to reasonable numbers that can be achieved in a free marketplace. Without such a change, E20 and E30 will be the next fuels being pumped into gas tanks.

Need more information? Visit the SEMA Government Affairs homepage to stay up to date. This is one trend that shouldn’t be ignored.

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

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

ETTN Column in SEMA Member News

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

For more information about ETTN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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Visit HRIA's website
Del Austin

Meet HRIA Chair-Elect Del Austin

By Amanda Gubbins

Del Austin has been involved in the automotive aftermarket for more than 40 years. It has been a family matter from the time he was a young boy; Austin’s grandfather owned an automotive repair business and his father was in the auto parts business. Austin has been actively involved in SEMA for more than 25 years, and served on the Select Committee for the Street Rod Marketing Alliance (SRMA). At that time, SRMA represented vehicles from ’48 and older. In 2004, SRMA transitioned to a new name and began to include newer vehicles.

“We realized that a hot rod is a hot rod,” Austin explains. “We decided that domestic vehicles should be included and represented.”

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), as the group is now known, has been a passion of Austin’s since its launch. He has been a faithful volunteer, served on the Select Committee and will become chairman July 1.

Austin has experience working for large manufacturers, auto-parts stores, distributors and publishers. More recently he has focused on consulting, working with start-ups to establish operational sales and marketing plans.

Austin feels this council is a great support to members in the everyday challenges their businesses face. An important issue for industry members is legislature. HRIA passes information on to members, making it simple to stay in the know about the laws that affect them. The council also provides information about licensing and registration. “It makes sure we are aware of the laws and can address them as necessary,” says Austin.

Many networking opportunities are available to members throughout the year, between HRIA-member companies and within the industry as a whole. Austin believes this is a priceless benefit. “How can you put a value on networking?” he asks.

One event Austin is especially proud of is HRIA’s Education Day, which has historically taken place each spring in Indianapolis. When the event first began, manufacturers set up displays and hosted seminars. The event has grown consistently, expanding to two days this year. Manufacturers now have the opportunity to share product and company information with groups of 50–100 dealers and installers. It also gives consumers an opportunity to interact with manufacturers.

A challenge Austin sees for the industry is attracting new employees. It’s an obstacle that HRIA works hard to overcome with programs, such as Futures in Hot Rodding, which connects students with resources as they prepare for a career. The council also encourages member companies to host open houses and education days, increasing industry awareness and allowing students to see the many opportunities available in the automotive industry.

Austin encourages members to plug in and get the most from their membership. “Stay informed about what’s going on with businesses and make yourself available to work on task forces and committees,” he suggests.

For more information about joining HRIA, contact Council Director Zane Clark at or 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 May/June 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 May/June 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 May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit MRN's website.  
Les Rudd

MRN Welcomes Les Rudd as Chair-Elect

By Amanda Gubbins

The Manufacturers Representative Network (MRN) will welcome Les Rudd as chairman in July. Rudd has been active on the Select Committee for years and this will be his second term as chairman.

Rudd began racing jet skis at a young age, and it was not long until he took to drag cars. This hobby led to working in an automotive warehouse, then a speed shop, all before his 20th birthday. Since then, Rudd transitioned to managerial roles and is now a principal at Bob Cook Sales.

Rudd brings a great deal of ideas to the Select Committee. “My goal is to ignite the individual talents of many reps across the country to get more involved in SEMA,” he says. He hopes to challenge MRN members to become involved in other councils as well.

Currently, Rudd leads two of the network’s task forces. Of particular focus are the projects the Community and Networking Task Force has underway. Rudd realizes that networking opportunities are limited for manufacturers representatives, but he believes they are vital for members. “The key is to ensure that we take opportunities to get reps together,” says Rudd. “By bringing them together, we are able to share common struggles, concerns for the future and wisdom from older to newer guys.”

Since manufacturer representatives are often spread out, they do not have as many opportunities to connect with others as they would if they worked in an office. Rudd’s vision is to hold regional events, where MRN members can invite other manufacturers from their metro area. His goal is to hold three events each year, and he hopes to see them become regular occurrences as involvement grows.

Another initiative Rudd hopes to expand is the use of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC). Rudd sees MRN as the gatekeeper and wants to be a resource for members of the industry who use the SDC.

Rudd’s main encouragement to MRN members is to plug in and get involved. “Our industry is in a rapidly changing transition period. I’m excited to see where we will go with MRN in the future,” he says.

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

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 May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MRN, contact Zane Clark.

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PRO Logo
Visit PRO's website.  

PRO Member Profile—Soon-to-Be Chair-Elect Scott Wolin

By Amanda Gubbins

Scott Wolin has been a member of the automotive industry for 25 years in a number of different capacities. Some of his key roles have included sales, marketing, operations and finance. Currently, Wolin is the director of sales and marketing at AVG—a manufacturer and distributor of OEM accessories based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Since first joining the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) in 1996, Wolin has remained highly active in the council. He served on the Select Committee and was council chair. In July, as Jeff Fink steps into the role of chair, Wolin will again become chair-elect.

Wolin is also the committee chair of PRO’s Training and Best Practices Task Force. A particular focus of the task force is to develop a certificate program that demonstrates an understanding of the material presented in a particular discipline within our industry. The goal is to give members opportunities and additional training to gain general knowledge. It’s something the Select Committee has been working on for months, concentrating initially on the leather-seating component. While the program is in the early stages, PRO is working closely with leather manufacturers to make it a reality. “It’s something we are really excited about. If it’s successful, we can open it up to other disciplines as well,” says Wolin.

Wolin is also excited about the NovemberFest event that will take place during the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The social mixer gives council members a chance to recognize key individuals within the industry who have done great things. Awards include the Nat Danas Person of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year, Restyler of the Year and the Jim Borré Lifetime Achievement Award. “We used to do this during regional shows, and it is always a great success,” says Wolin.

Mainly, his goals as chair-elect are to support Chair Jeff Fink and continue working hard on the projects the Select Committee already has going. “I want to grow membership and continue to bring professionalism within the council,” he says. He also knows that other issues and ideas will come up at the Long-Range Planning Meeting in Detroit in June and at the general membership meeting at the SEMA Show.

Wolin’s advice to members of the industry is to join PRO. For those who are already members, Wolin encourages involvement. “Come to the Long-Range Planning Meeting and visit us at the SEMA Show. If everyone takes an active role, business will benefit from it,” he says.

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

  car dealer
PRO is committed to helping members build mutually profitable relationships with vehicle dealers.

Build a Successful Dealer-Direct Sales Strategy With the PRO Sales Training Manual

By SEMA Staff

In today’s market, competition for a dealer’s business can be stiff and selling to vehicle dealers can be challenging. It stands to reason that to be successful, your company needs to excel and differentiate itself from the pack.

The key lies in developing and implementing an effective sales strategy, and in having a sales team that has the skills and know-how to make savvy sales presentations and build lasting, value-based relationships with your customers. With step-by-step guidelines and techniques aimed at helping your company build a more successful dealer-direct sales strategy, the PRO Sales Training Manual is your handy guide to developing a more professional and effective approach to selling accessories dealer-direct.

Perhaps you and your sales team need help refining sales techniques or knowing how to overcome objections to turn a cold call into a hot sale. Or maybe you want to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of a car dealership and how to qualify and identify the key decision maker. All of this and more is contained in the manual.

Beginning with an overview of the key elements of a sales-marketing strategy, the manual contains a chapter-by-chapter outline of what it takes to affect a more professional approach to selling cars dealer-direct. From understanding how to make an effective sales presentation and refining your negotiation skills, to the importance of product knowledge and how to position your company for success, the sales-training manual offers hints and tips critical to the day-to-day operation of your business.

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.

The PRO Sales Training Manual is mailed to new PRO members and is also available upon request.

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

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 May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

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

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Visit SBN's website.
  sbn logo
SBN's winning 20th Anniversary celebration logo was designed by Emily Covi.

SBN Announces Winning Design for 20th Anniversary Logo

By Amanda Gubbins

The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) has announced the winning logo for its 20th Anniversary celebration. Earlier this year, SBN hosted a contest giving individuals the opportunity to showcase their talent. Three designs were selected as finalists and then voted on by the general public via Facebook. Nearly 200 individuals voted, ultimately choosing Emily Covi’s shield design as the winner.

When she was a young girl, Covi’s father encouraged her to explore the things she loved and find out how to make a living from them. Design was always a hobby of Covi’s, but after earning a degree in Spanish from the University of Georgia, she knew she wanted to devote more time to it.

“As I grew, I found that my two great passions in life were art and automobiles,” Covi said. She found a way to marry the two, tirelessly dedicating herself to finding projects that involved automobiles and motorsports. She is now a full-time freelancer in the Atlanta area.

Being an automobile enthusiast, Covi is also a follower of SEMA’s and SBN’s social networking pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. When she saw the Facebook post announcing the logo design contest, she jumped at the opportunity. Covi saw it as more than just a contest, but also an important mission. “As a woman in the automotive world, I have seen how important we are in the automotive market, and how our contributions can impact all aspects of automobilia and motorsports,” she says.

The elements Covi chose to incorporate into her design say a lot about her experience in the industry. The icon of a shield, often a symbol of strength and fearlessness, was in the forefront of Covi’s mind as she worked on different concepts for the project. “As women in the automotive community, we often find ourselves in the position of having to know twice as much to get half the respect. We must dig deep and carve our place amongst our male counterparts,” she says.

Covi sees the SBN as a resource to unite women in the automotive community, allowing them to gain a stronger presence. 

You will see Covi’s logo on many promotional items for SBN in the coming months. Her prize package also included a one-year SEMA membership, tickets to the 2013 SEMA Show and SBN’s Speed Networking Breakfast and Café SEMA events, and last but not least, an official SBN T-shirt.

SBN’s 20th Anniversary reception will take place during The 2013 SEMA Show. Members are invited to join the celebration Wednesday, November 6, 2013, from 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. in the Oasis Lounge at the Las Vegas Hotel. The event will feature networking opportunities and awards presentations as network members celebrate the past, present and future, and honor many of the automotive industry’s most influential women.

For more information about joining SBN, visit the website or contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of councils, at 909-978-6691.

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 May/June issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about SBN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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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.

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

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

WTC Column in SEMA Member News

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

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

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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