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SEMA Council & Committee News: HRIA Hosts Two General Membership Meetings in July

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)


Visit HRIA's website
Two upcoming general management membership meetings will give HRIA members the chance to connect with each other, meet the Select Committee and learn more about what’s happening in the industry.

HRIA Hosts Two General Membership Meetings in July

By Amanda Gubbins

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) will hold two general membership meetings in July. These events give HRIA members the chance to connect with each other, meet the Select Committee and learn more about what’s happening in the industry. We hope you will join us for one of the following:

Thursday, July 11, 2013
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
16th Annual Goodguys PPG Nationals
Ohio Expo Center, Celeste Building
Columbus, Ohio
Visit for more information.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
NSRA National Street Rod Nationals
Louisville, Kentucky, Fairgrounds
Visit for more information.

Be sure to send in your RSVP so that we will enough materials for everyone. Also, feel free to bring guests from your organization along. If you have any questions about the meetings, contact Council Coordinator Gina Ledesma at or 909-978-6692.

John McLeod

Meet John McLeod, Incoming HRIA Chair-Elect

By Amanda Gubbins

John McLeod spent 16 years as a police officer before entering the automotive industry as the manager for Great Lakes Motor Works. It was through this position that he first became involved with SEMA and attended the Show in Las Vegas. Then, 10 years ago, McLeod purchased Classic Instruments—a manufacturer of automotive instruments that serves the hot-rod industry. He has served on the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Select Committee for six years and will become chair-elect July 1.

One of McLeod’s favorite aspects of his job is the opportunity to travel and attend trade shows throughout the year. “I get a little bit of a choice about what I do as owner. I usually attend at least two dozen shows a year,” he says.

HRIA benefits SEMA members in the hot-rod niche of the automotive industry. “We’re kind of in our own little world but still get the benefit of the power of SEMA,” McLeod explains. He feels the value for members exists first and foremost in the protection and information provided through the Washington, D.C., office.

HRIA also has a strong commitment to education and bolstering youth engagement, the latter of which McLeod feels most strongly about. “We have a lot of gray hair in our industry, and we don’t always do a good job of passing the torch,” he explains.

HRIA is committed to actively facing that challenge through programs such as Futures in Hot Rodding that give students a taste of the industry and connect them with valuable career path resources.

“The biggest thing is to continue focusing on these issues and growing the council,” McLeod says of his plans for the Select Committee. As chair-elect, he plans to do that by encouraging more members to join the conversation. Through involvement, members have the chance to make their voices heard and have their questions answered. Open meetings ensure that the leadership is approachable. “We’re all kind of in the same boat, and we can help each other grow,” he says.

There are many opportunities for involvement within HRIA, whether by attending an open meeting, reception at the SEMA Show or another event, such as Education and Training Day. “We need more active members. The opportunities are whatever you want to make of them. So many wonderful people are a part of this industry, McLeod shares. “Plug in and see what SEMA has to offer—it is so much more than a Show. Once you start getting involved, you’ll be amazed at how much your business grows.”

For more information about HRIA, contact Zane Clark, council director, at 909-978-6696.

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 ARMO's website.
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 Posted Online

Photos from the 2013 ARMO Hot Products Showcase have been posted on the ARMO website. Thanks again to all the ARMO companies that participated in this year’s event.

The ARMO Hot Products Showcase (formerly the “New” Products Showcase) took place April 25–27, 2013, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The annual event puts ARMO-member restoration products in front of 100,000+ restoration enthusiasts during the Spring Carlisle event.

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 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.  
PRI Show attendees will be able to have face-to-face interaction with MPMC manufacturers at the inaugural MPMC Education Day at the 2013 PRI Show in Indianapolis, Wednesday December 4, 2013.

MPMC to Present “MPMC Education Day” at 2013 PRI Show

MPMC and PRI will present “MPMC Education Day” at the 2013 PRI Show, Wednesday, December 4, 2013. The event takes place at the Indianapolis Convention Center the day before the PRI Trade Show floor opens.

Patterned after the already successful HRIA Education Day, 15 MPMC-member companies will present one-hour product training presentations to PRI Trade Show attendees. Three seminars will each run concurrently over five, one-hour time slots beginning at 9:00 a.m.

“The HRIA Education Day is wildly successful,” said MPMC Chairman Vic Wood of Hedman. “The PRI Show seemed a perfect venue to try the same template for MPMC companies. We originally were planning to implement it in 2014, but after presenting the idea to John Kilroy and his PRI team, the decision was made to go for it this year. We’ll start with just the 15 companies this year, and see how it goes. But I see no reason why this shouldn’t expand to 30 or 40 companies one day, as soon as attendees realize the opportunity it presents.”

To emphasize the popularity of this program, the 15 registrations were received within one hour of registration opening, and a total 27 registrations were received within two hours. Congratulations to the following MPMC companies who were selected via a first-come, first-served online registration April 30:

Session times and seminar titles will be presented in the coming weeks. For more information, contact Jim Skelly at

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
  • Manufacturer's 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.  

Enhance Your Knowledge of SEMA Data Co-op's Product Data Management System

The Manufacturers Representative Network (MRN) and the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) have announced the launch of a new certificate program exclusively for MRN members. Vic Bennett, an MRN Select Committee member, believes this is a valuable benefit for reps. “The SDC’s resources are critical because the goal is to make sure the user gets what they need. We can only do that with correct data,” he explains.

The web-based educational series will help manufacturer's representatives learn more about what the SDC offers through courses designed to build confidence in talking to customers about the SDC’s product data management system.

Participants will have three weeks to complete each of the four sessions and the corresponding quizzes. Those who successfully complete the series will be awarded a certificate of completion, custom lapel pin and be recognized by SEMA and the MRN as SDC ambassadors.

Part one—an overview of the SDC to provide the foundation for the following three courses—is now available to MRN members. This session covers the mission and goals of the SDC, along with key terms reps will need to know when discussing the SDC with customers.

MRN members will soon receive an e-mail from the SEMA Mindflash account with a link to start the first course, including the quiz. In Bennett’s words, “This is your opportunity to be on the front end of something that will make a difference in the business of your suppliers and receivers.”

For questions about the certification program, please contact SDC Director of Membership Jim Graven at or 888-958-6698, ext. 4.

To learn more about the MRN, visit their website or contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of councils, at or 909-978-6691.

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—Incoming 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.
Erin Gilhuly

Erin Gilhuly to Become SBN Chair-Elect

By Amanda Gubbins

Erin Gilhuly will become chair-elect of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) in July, as Rose Kawasaki steps into the role of chair. SBN offers volunteer opportunities and the chance to participate in sponsored events through its Member Resource Pool (MRP), where members take the next step by assisting with specific projects, such as network-sponsored events or communications. Gilhuly first joined the SBN’s MRP five years ago. At the encouragement of other members, she ran for the Select Committee and was ultimately elected for the 2009–2010 term.

Gilhuly feels one of the things she brings to the table as a Select Committee member is a unique perspective—she has worked for Toyota Motor Sales for 15 years. Though she began in vehicle planning, she is now an accessory planner for the TRD and F-Sport brands. When she started in the accessory group at Toyota, Gilhuly was the only female on a team of 25 people.

“I realized I was in a male-dominated group, but I knew there had to be other women out there who faced the same challenges I did. I reached out to the SBN for networking opportunities and to know I wasn’t alone,” she says.

Gilhuly’s number-one goal for this term as chair-elect is to support Chairperson Kawasaki. “Number two is to make sure we as a Select Committee continue moving forward as a harmonious group,” she says.

As always, many opportunities exist for members to increase their involvement. Gilhuly sees great opportunity in the MRP for gaining experience and believes that is where future leaders of the SBN will be identified.

She also plans to focus on improving member outreach. “A good portion of our members don’t get to the opportunity to go to the SEMA Show. We need to find ways to make sure they are getting what they need as well,” she explains. "This can happen through local networking events and more regular communication."

Facebook and LinkedIn allow other chances for members to plug in. “It’s an easy, familiar way for members to see what’s going on or to ask a question. We can use it to share resources and ideas,” she explains. “We can network among ourselves in our local areas and through social media; we don’t have to wait for a big, formal event.”

If you would like to join the conversation on the SBN’s social networking sites, visit the Facebook page or join the LinkedIn group. For more information about the SBN, contact Senior Manager of Councils Bryan Harrison at or 909-978-6691.

Rose Kawasaki

SBN Adopts a New Mission Statement

By Amanda Gubbins

Rose Kawasaki is pleased to announce the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) new mission statement: “The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network’s mission is to provide networking, education and recognition opportunities for professional women in the specialty-equipment industry, which will enhance their careers and positively impact the growth of the entire automotive aftermarket.”

Kawasaki will become SBN chair, July 1. She hopes to concentrate on member outreach and education during her term. “In order to heighten the awareness of our network, we need to find ways to creatively let others know that we are available. The social portals of Facebook and LinkedIn are important. We also want to help connect by geographical areas,” she said. This goal is important to Kawasaki because she has seen firsthand the benefits of making connections with other female colleagues and engaging students enrolled in automotive programs.

Kawasaki did not take a typical journey to the automotive aftermarket. She began her career in the fashion industry, holding positions in sales and management. Overseeing a large staff of women in multiple locations helped her gain an understanding about the dynamics of working with women—a perspective that proved valuable when she was elected to the SBN Select Committee.

Kawasaki’s husband Wade has a long history in the automotive industry. When he noticed a trend of foreign customers wanting U.S. performance parts, he developed a business plan. In 1987, the couple started an export management company out of their home. Exports International began as a side business, making overseas contacts, processing orders, invoicing and delivering freight to the airport in the evenings. The business quickly grew and soon the couple’s Southern California home was full of automotive and marine products.

“One afternoon a truck pulled up in front of our home, the driver knocked on our door and told us he thought he had the wrong address because he was there to deliver a couple pallets of gaskets. That was the moment when we decided it was time to look for a location for our business,” Kawasaki laughed.

Kawasaki joined Exports International full-time in January 1988 and is now the company's vice president. She was first elected to the SBN Select Committee in 2008. Because the industry is predominately male, it was refreshing for her to hear SEMA offered something for women. She believes many women have a thirst for knowledge and want to advance their professional network. Through SBN, women are able to build a strong sense of camaraderie with others who have similar interests and challenges.

“It’s a great avenue to increase awareness, recognize women working within the industry and to have an opportunity to share experiences,” she says. “Joining the SBN is simple; we’re just a click away on, and our arms are open to welcome you.”

For more information about joining the SBN, please contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of councils, at or 909-978-9991.

Kirstin Stone

SBN Member of the Month—Kirstin Stone

Tell us about what your company does.

Turbosmart manufactures high-quality boost control components—wastegates, blow-off valves, electronic and mechanical boost controllers, fuel-pressure regulators and silicone couplers.

What is your position?

I am currently the national accounts executive for the United States.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

I love that I get to interact with like-minded enthusiasts day in and day out, and be able to provide them a well-supported, high-quality product line.

How long have you been involved in the aftermarket industry?

I’ve been in the aftermarket for about three years.

What brought you to the industry?

A love for fast cars and drag racing.

Are you a member of any other organizations?

I am also a member of the Young Executives Network (YEN) within SEMA.

Who is your industry mentor?

Marty Staggs, executive vice president of Turbosmart.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.

What would someone meeting you for the first time be surprised to learn?

I’ve run two marathons and 14 half marathons.

What is your dream car?

Aston Martin One-77.

What is your favorite pastime?

Drag racing.

  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 Findeis

WTC Welcomes Incoming Chair-Elect Joe Findeis

By Amanda Gubbins

Thirty-five years ago, Joe Findeis took his first job in the automotive industry as a truck driver delivering tires and wheels. Since then, he has held sales and management positions and is now the owner of Wheel Consultants Inc. He is also the creator of The Ultimate Wheel and Tire Plus Sizing Guide—a publication he created in 2001 to assist dealers in installing the correct tires and wheels for their customers’ cars, trucks and SUVs.

Findeis has served five terms on the Wheel and Tire Council (WTC). Over the years, he has been involved in several different task forces. Most recently, he joined the events committee, which is currently planning the upcoming WTC reception at the SEMA Show. In 2012, the council honored Findeis by inducting him into the WTC Hall of Fame. Beginning July 1, he will assume a new role on the council—chair-elect.

Findeis believes the WTC is important because it keeps members informed. “As a committee, we keep abreast of constantly changing vehicle technology and market trends,” he explains.

This information is then passed on to the general membership, helping executives to see how the industry and their businesses are impacted. The council’s goal for staying informed is for the purpose of educating members of the industry. Findeis is confident WTC members who remain involved will see the benefit of this information in their day-to-day business operations.

Findeis has a few personal goals for his term as chair-elect. He wants to see the council continue to grow and hopes to attract new members while helping current members find new ways to plug in. “Everyone’s involvement and input is important and will serve the council,” he says. “I want to make others in the industry aware of the resources and tools the WTC has to offer.”

While he knows it is always challenging to find new ways to share information, he also acknowledges how important it is to get the word out.

Opportunities for members include individual task forces that work on a variety of projects. Currently, the WTC has five active task forces: events, membership, education, science and technology, and election and nomination.

No matter what your skills and interests, there’s a place for you, according to Findeis. “There’s always plenty to do, and we are always looking for volunteers.”

Another chance to plug in is at the upcoming open meeting, which Findeis will attend. This two-day event in June will allow WTC members a chance to network, learn more about what is happening in the wheel and tire industry and participate in an exclusive tour of Clemson University’s ICAR facility.

Findeis encourages members to make the most of this opportunity. “Get involved and be informed. Volunteer your time and enthusiasm.”

For more information about how to join the WTC, contact Council Director Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.

SEMA’s Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) and CU-ICAR are partnering to develop a comprehensive examination of technology that directly affects vehicle dynamics specific to wheel and tire systems.

Wheel and Tire Professionals Visit Clemson University's ICAR

SEMA's Vehicle Technology department has been working with the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) on advanced-vehicle technology and a performance aftermarket education program for several years.

SEMA’s Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) and CU-ICAR are partnering to develop a comprehensive examination of technology that directly affects vehicle dynamics specific to wheel and tire systems. Phase one of this partnership will take place when WTC leadership visits Clemson this June to meet with professors and graduate students to outline the scope of the project. During the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, details of this ground-breaking partnership will be announced live in SEMA’s Vehicle Technology Center.

The goal of the SEMA/CU-ICAR partnership offers two significant benefits. First and perhaps most importantly, the relationship with CU-ICAR provides a look into the automotive future in a way that no individual SEMA company could hope to achieve. This is a benefit that is difficult to quantify but is crucial to the continued growth and future of the performance aftermarket, given the rapid pace of technology changes in the automotive industry. Secondly, the relationship with CU-ICAR offers the opportunity for SEMA members to access world-class physical and human resources to help develop affordable solutions to address immediate problems and emerging challenges facing SEMA-member companies.

WTC members and interested guests are invited to join us at Clemson University ICAR for an industry discussion, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. As a part of the festivities, you have the chance to participate in an inside tour of CU-ICAR. There will also be plenty of opportunities for you to network with your fellow members.

We hope you’ll join us for this exciting event. Be sure to send your RSVP by Tuesday, May 28, 2013. Feel free to bring a guest who may be interested in learning more about what WTC has to offer.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Schedule:

  • Presentation/Tour of CU-ICAR: 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
  • Networking Lunch: 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
  • Industry Discussion: 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
  • Networking Mixer: 5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Gina Ledesma, council coordinator, at 909-978-6692 or

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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Visit YEN's website
John Rosanbalm

YEN Welcomes Incoming Chair-Elect John Rosanbalm

By Amanda Gubbins

John Rosanbalm first gained an interest in the automotive industry during middle school when he began attending car shows with his uncle. As his uncle authored and sold books identifying different automotive parts by casting numbers (MSA-1), Rosanbalm explored the show. Part-way through, the two would switch and Rosanbalm would be the salesman while his uncle enjoyed the show. Though he had never planned to work in the industry and simply enjoyed lightly restoring and selling classic cars, his actuarial science, mathematics and business administration degrees served him well in the aftermarket world when he made the switch from a finance company to an automotive wholesale distributor (Arrow Speed Warehouse).

Rosanbalm’s industry experience has included internal and external sales. Currently, he is the vehicle products specialist and international marketing coordinator for the Conklin Company Inc.—a manufacturer of automotive fluids and lubricants with its corporate offices based out of Kansas City, Missouri, and manufacturing based out of Shakopee, Minnesota. There, he has been responsible for a line of fuel system cleaners—CONVOY motor oils and driveline fluids for nearly five years. In his current position, Rosanbalm handles technical issues and helps connect the dots for Conklin’s distributors. This includes managing the pricing, packaging, literature, as well as research and development aspects of maintaining current and developing new products. In addition, he oversees product training and international shipping for the company.

Rosanbalm’s first experience with SEMA was through the SEMA Show Opinion Leader Program in 2009. After attending the Show and gaining a taste of the resources SEMA offers its members, Rosanbalm returned home and convinced his company to join. He soon became involved in the Young Executive’s Network (YEN). “This group really hits home for me,” Rosanbalm shares. He is excited about the chance to inspire active participation in the industry among young professionals—a cause that truly is the main reason for his involvement.

Another goal of Rosabalm’s is to help YEN members explore opportunities to become active in other councils and networks. YEN’s Member Activation Program (MAP), which is under development, will create more opportunities for this. The MAP program pairs YEN members with other councils, allowing them to experience different aspects of the industry.

Rosanbalm supports YEN because he knows firsthand about the value it offers members. “It’s a great opportunity to get plugged in quickly and meet lots of people,” he says. “The connections you’ll make are more important in the long run that you can imagine now.”

For those who have already joined, there are always plenty of ways to lend a hand. Rosanbalm encourages members to attend regional YEN networking mixers around the country. Additionally, the SEMA Launch Pad Powered by YEN competition is a great way to plug in, offering executive-level innovators under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their business plan for marketing a new automotive product or service.

For more information about the YEN, visit their official website or contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of councils at 909-978-6691 or

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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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