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SEMA Council & Committee News: Get to Know MPMC Chair-Elect Rich Barsamian

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 MPMC's website.  
Rich Barsamian

Get to Know MPMC Chair-Elect Rich Barsamian

By Amanda Gubbins

Rich Barsamian is the chair-elect of the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC), slated to become chairman in 2014.

Having been in the industry for 28 years, Barsamian has held a variety of positions. During his early days in the industry, he worked for manufacturers’ rep agencies before transitioning to working directly for manufacturers in 1994. Barsamian currently lives in Southern California and is the vice president of sales and marketing for GT Performance—a manufacturer of high-end steering wheels, racing quick-disconnect kits and accessories.

Barsamian first decided to get involved in MPMC because he felt the council had so many resources to offer. “This council is dedicated to the true issues that affect motorsport manufacturers and finding solutions by working together to utilize the vast resources SEMA has available,” he explains.

Of those resources, Barsamian is most excited about the educational seminars MPMC will bring to the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show this year. He was instrumental in developing the idea and launching the seminars for this year’s Show, which will take place December 12–14, 2013, in Indianapolis. The series has been two years in the making and Barsamian’s vision is to continue growing it during his time as chair.

“It is going to be an amazing opportunity for MPMC manufacturers to give these technical seminars. My passion is to really build this into a four-star event and get the MPMC membership involved,” he says.

Barsamian has also been very involved in educating the industry about pricing policies. He is pleased that anti-trust and trade regulation attorney Gene Zelek Jr. will present a seminar on this topic at the 2013 SEMA Show. Other educational resources for council members include the Business Guidelines Manual—industry information to help build better polices.

“Whether you are a new or very well established company, these resources will prove invaluable,” he says.

To learn more about the resources available to MPMC members, contact Council Director Jim Skelly at or 909-978-6690.

The 2014 MPMC Media Trade Conference will be held January 21–23, at the Embassy Suites Orange County Airport South.

Don’t Miss the 2014 MPMC Media Trade Conference

By SEMA Editors

Exhibitor registration is now open for the 2014 Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Media Trade Conference and will continue through Friday, September 6, 2013. This unique event brings together editorial staff from all over the world with racing and high-performance parts manufacturers for three days of 30-minute meetings each January. Nowhere else does a motorsports parts manufacturer have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with as many as 42 automotive journalists.

Space is limited to 100 MPMC-member manufacturers. Those who submit an application but are not selected for the 2014 event are automatically guaranteed a spot in the 2015 event. Any MPMC-member company may submit marketing materials for distribution to media at the event. Media registration will open in October.

Register now. Not an MPMC member? Join today.

For more information, contact Council Director Jim Skelly at or 909-978-6690.

Date: January 21–23, 2014
Location: Embassy Suites Orange County Airport South
1325 East Dyer Road
Santa Ana, CA 92705

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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit ARMO's website.
Alex Tainsh

Get to Know ARMO Chair Alex Tainsh

By Amanda Gubbins

Alex Tainsh is a founding member of the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) and is also the current chair. “When Jim Wirth (2004 SEMA Hall of Fame inductee) called together a group of industry leaders to discuss forming a trade group, I was lucky enough to be part of it. I believe there were about 12 of us,” he recalls.

Tainsh’s passion for the council comes from a desire to be united with other members of the industry. ARMO offers many opportunities for members to network at events while keeping them informed about legislative developments that affect the restoration hobby. “ARMO has been able to work through many challenges over the years with the support of SEMA,” Tainsh says.

Tainsh has been involved in the automotive industry for more than 30 years and has worked for some of the leading manufacturers in the aftermarket. Currently, he is the director of operations at SoffSeal Inc.—a manufacturer of weather stripping and rubber detail items in Ohio.

Tainsh knows that many individuals join ARMO to network with others, and hopes members will take the opportunity to connect with one another at ARMO events. “Members from all areas of the industry can discuss cars, the hobby or just get advice from some of the most experienced people,” says Tainsh.

Take a Kid to a Car Show is one ARMO program that Tainsh is particularly excited about. This awareness campaign delivers a simple yet effective message to parents and car show organizers about getting youth involved in the collector car hobby. Since its inception in 2002, the program has made various promotional items available to car show promoters and participants, such as stickers and downloadable posters and images. Another chance to promote the hobby was July 12, Collector Car Appreciation Day, which many car clubs around the country celebrated by holding events.

“Both of these initiatives are getting the word out to a wide group of people about just how rewarding and fun restoring cars can be,” says Tainsh.

For questions about the programs ARMO offers, contact Jim Skelly, council director, at or 909-978-6690.

Dennis Roberts

Get to Know Dennis Roberts, ARMO Chair-Elect

By Amanda Gubbins

Dennis Roberts has been a lifelong musclecar enthusiast. “I was first introduced to musclecars in 1970 by my older sister’s friend who had a ’70 Trans AM. I bought my first car in 1974 at the age of 16. It was a ’67 GTO—the gas shortage made for cheap musclecars!”

Roberts continued to stay involved in the musclecar movement through the years as a racer and parts and vehicle locator. He accepted a position as a technical resource for the restoration of GM cars and ultimately became the vice president of Year One—a musclecar parts warehouse. Two-and-a-half years ago, Roberts became vice president of Distinctive Industries—a mass producer of restoration interiors for musclecar-era vehicles.

Roberts was first introduced to the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) in 1997, a time when the “clunker laws” were a hot topic among enthusiasts. “I believe if you want to harvest a crop, you have to get your hands dirty,” Roberts says of his motivation to get involved. “I’m passionate about ARMO first and foremost because of my love of cars. A vehicle is really a work of art for its time.”

As Chair-elect, he hopes to continue leading the council in offering quality educational opportunities for council members, as well as initiatives to boost youth engagement in the hobby. Collector Car Appreciation Day, held July 12, continues to grow as one of these educational tools, raising awareness about the hobby around the country. ARMO’s Take a Kid to a Car Show program also works actively to bring new generations into the hobby.

Another goal of Roberts’ is to broaden ARMO’s outreach to enthusiasts. “As I see it, it’s a challenge to expand the market. Restoration is an expensive hobby and most of the enthusiasts are males of higher income levels. We want to bring it down to others who like to race or drive as a hobby,” he says.

For those who are already members of ARMO, Roberts suggests finding a place to volunteer within the council. “We’re looking for participation. There’s always the hope to get more members involved.”

For more information about ARMO, contact Council Director Jim Skelly at 909-978-6690 or

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

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

ARMO Column in SEMA Member News

Read ARMO's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about ARMO, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit ETTN's website 

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.
How Increasing Amounts of Ethanol at the Pump Can Affect You

By Sean Crawford – JE Pistons

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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about ETTN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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Visit HRIA's website

HRIA Education Day will consist of 24 sessions, each led by a hot-rod parts manufacturer educating attendees about product features, benefits and installation guidelines.
Hot Rod Council to Present Education Day at 2014 Detroit Autorama

By Della Domingo

The annual SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Education Day will be held, for the first time, in conjunction with the Detroit Autorama—the 60-year-old custom car show taking place in March 2014 at Cobo Hall in Detroit. The program will consist of 24 sessions, each led by a hot-rod parts manufacturer educating attendees about product features, benefits and installation guidelines.

“For more than 10 years, HRIA Education Day has proven to be a key event for helping manufacturers share detailed, and sometimes technical, information about their products with their customers,” said Jim Skelly, SEMA director of councils. “Holding the Education Day program at the Detroit Autorama will allow HRIA members to expand and reach a new audience.”

HRIA previously held its Education Day program at the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show in Indianapolis. The move to the Detroit Autorama will enable manufacturers to reach a new, expanded audience. Autorama, which is well known for having the world’s most coveted hot rods, prestigious awards competitions, as well as top celebrities and student programs, attracts more than 150,000 individuals annually. Education Day will take place Thursday, March 6, 2014 (the day before Autorama officially opens), and is open to all hot-rod shops and businesses, as well as to all Autorama attendees.

“As one the nation’s premier indoor custom car show, the Detroit Autorama attracts thousands of businesses and enthusiasts who are passionate and deeply vested in new hot-rod products,” said Peter A. Toundas, president of Championship Auto Shows Inc.—promoter of the event. “The HRIA Education Day program will add a valuable element to the event, giving attendees an opportunity to connect directly with manufacturers, which would be difficult for them to do on their own.”

The list of participating manufacturers and schedule for HRIA Education Day will be available in August. All sessions will be one hour long.

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

Be sure to follow HRIA on all of your favorite social networking sites.

To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

HRIA Column in SEMA Member News

Read HRIA's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about HRIA, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit TORA's website.  
Andrew Schroeder

Get to Know Andrew Schroeder—Your TORA Chair-Elect

By Amanda Gubbins

Andrew Schroeder became the Light Truck Industry Alliance (TORA) chair-elect, July 1. Schroeder started working part-time at Ben Murphy & Associates, a national rep agency, about 15 years ago. He had very limited knowledge of the business in the beginning, but he learned and took on more responsibility as he assisted in many different departments. Eight years ago, Schroeder moved into his current position of vice president.

“I feel that learning the business from the ground up was the best way to understand all facets, and I feel that was a large factor in the success of my career,” he said.

Schroeder has participated in both the Manufacturer’s Representative Network (MRN) and Young Executives Network (YEN) in the past. “I have always felt that being involved allows you to give back and be part of the future of the industry,” Schroeder explains.

About three years ago, Schroeder attended one of TORA’s Long-Range Planning meetings. It was through this experience that he first began to understand the purpose of the council and how it is involved in the industry. Once he became a member at large, Schroeder plugged in by joining the communication task force and assisting with TORA’s social media channels.

Schroeder credits the community aspect of the council as a strong influence on his decision to volunteer. “I wanted to become more involved with SEMA activities. Talking with the members of the TORA Select Committee and seeing their passion and motivation to help the industry really drove me to become more involved with the alliance,” he says.

Being a very active council, there are a variety of ways that members can lend a hand. “TORA is constantly working on different projects throughout the year, whether it’s the New Products Showcase, networking events, charitable fundraising or collecting technical information for our members to use,” says Schroeder. He emphasizes that it is easy to find the project that is right for you. “If you are interested in becoming involved, we are always looking for help. Just contact the council leadership.”

For more information about TORA, visit or contact Clayton Drescher, senior manager, councils, at 909-978-6696 or

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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For more information about TORA, contact Clayton Drescher.

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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.

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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about MRN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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PRO Logo
Visit PRO's website.  

 Professional Restylers Organization, technical service buletins
SEMA's Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)—dedicated to addressing the challenges facing the restyling segment of the specialty-equipment market—has created an online portal to facilitate submissions of OEM letters or service bulletins.
PRO Council Establishes Online Portal for Technical Service Bulletins

By SEMA Editors

The Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) has created an online portal to facilitate submissions of OEM letters or service bulletins. These submissions will be reviewed by SEMA staff with the intent of gaining a greater understanding of any ramifications these policies may pose for member businesses. SEMA is committed to maintaining a productive dialogue with its OEM partners.

“SEMA’s PRO council brings together the restyling industry and works hard to strengthen it,” said Mike Bacon, chairman of the PRO OEM Relations Committee. “The OEM Relations Committee will work to support SEMA’s effort in building a beneficial dialogue between this industry and the OEMs.”

To submit a letter or bulletin, please use the form available at OEM Bulletins. If you have any questions, please contact Bill Wolf, SEMA’s senior director of OE relations at 909-978-6739.

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

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

PRO Column in SEMA Member News

Read PRO's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about PRO, contact Clayton Drescher or call 909/978-6696.

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SBN Logo
Visit SBN's website.
Janet Henderson

SBN Member of the Month: Janet Henderson

By Bryan Harrison

This month's SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) member profile is Janet Henderson, CFO of RJ Classic Cars, located in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Tell us about what your company does.

We buy, sell, trade and restore American musclecars.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

The most satisfying aspect of my job is working with my husband in an industry we both love.

How long you’ve been involved with the aftermarket industry?

We have been buying, selling, trading and restoring American musclecars for more than 15 years.

What brought you to the industry?

Our love of American musclecars brought us into this industry.

What are some of your major professional accomplishments?

Throughout the many years I have been in business, I have had many professional accomplishments, such as receiving the 2003 Small Business Person of the Year and a finalist in the Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. I was also past president for SME and chairperson for many community events.

Are you a member of other organizations?

I am a leader of the Wednesday Night Women’s Ministry, Local Chamber of Commerce and State Chamber of Commerce.

Who is your industry mentor?

My husband is my mentor. He is the most talented man I know when it comes to rebuilding or restoring an American musclecar. He is a patient and knowledgeable teacher with a kind heart and strong work ethic.

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

The best piece of advice I have received is from my mother: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” and “love others even when they are unlovable.”

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

When I was 25, my husband built me a “Powder Puff” race car and I raced on an oval track.

What is your dream car?

I own my dream car—a ’72 Chevelle SS convertible, candy-apple red with a white leather interior.

What is your favorite pastime?

My favorite pastimes are playing tennis, going to car shows and reading.

The Speed Networking Breakfast is the quickest and easiest way to meet peers, prospects and vendor associates to expand your current network of contacts
Connect With Your Peers at the SEMA Show SBN Speed Networking Breakfast

By Bryan Harrison

The Speed Networking Breakfast, powered by the SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) is the annual premier event at the SEMA Show and has achieved sold-out status four years in a row. It is open to all SEMA members and is the quickest and easiest way to meet peers, prospects and vendor associates to expand your current network of contacts, which could be instrumental in the growth of your business or career. Attendees will walk away with more than one dozen new contacts.

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet movers and shakers and make new contacts in short, four-minute intervals. Mark your calendar and purchase your tickets as attendance is limited to only 250 people.

Details: Thursday, November 7, from 7:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m., Las Vegas Hotel, Ballroom A
Price: SEMA Members: $35, Non-members: $45 until October 18. After October 18, pricing increases to $49 for SEMA members and $69 for non-members.

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.

  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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about SBN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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Visit WTC's website

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

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

WTC Column in SEMA Member News

Read WTC's column featured in the July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

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

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Visit YEN's website
Dan Kahn

Introducing YEN Chair Dan Kahn

By Amanda Gubbins

Dan Kahn became the chairman of the Young Executives Network (YEN) July 1. “I’ve been a member for probably a decade but became actively involved about three years ago,” he says.

Kahn has been involved in the automotive aftermarket his entire adult life, working his way through high school at a speed shop before discovering a passion for communications and journalism, which he studied in college. Kahn found ways to incorporate these skills in the automotive industry, writing and editing automotive publications throughout college and landing a job at Petersen Publishing immediately out of school. When the Internet took off, Kahn made the transition to digital media and eventually moved into public relations and marketing in the automotive industry.

Five years ago, Kahn started Kahn Media—a firm that helps brands in the aftermarket communicate directly with consumers by assisting with marketing, public relations and social media strategy. “It’s a rewarding challenge—we get to work with legendary brands and promote incredible products on the traditional side of the industry while helping them find the cutting edge of communication,” he says.

Kahn first started to plug into YEN when he was featured in a “Member of the Month” article. After meeting some of the network leadership and seeing the kinds of things they were doing, Kahn was appointed to an open seat on the Select Committee. “I got involved on the communication side and really had a good time. Being new to the Select Committee, I was fortunate to have worked with Lee McGuire (immediate past chair). She really understands the ins and outs of the network and showed me how to get the most out of my volunteer experience,” Kahn says.

From Kahn’s perspective, YEN is important because it helps bridge the gap between generations to keep the industry strong. For some, there is uncertainty about the next generation of employees and leaders and a fear about where the industry is headed. YEN offers an environment where the next generation of industry leaders can learn from a diverse group of people.

“My goal for the next two years is to help the industry see young executives as the next wave of business leaders. We will continue to provide great programs and a platform for young executives,” says Kahn.

A couple of YEN programs that highlight this goal are Launch Pad—an opportunity for individuals to pitch their business ideas and gain feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, and the Member Activation Program—a chance to explore new possibilities by partnering with other councils and spending time with their Select Committees.

Learn more about the programs YEN offers, or contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of councils, at 909-978-6691 or

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 July/August issue of SEMA Member News.

For information about YEN, contact Bryan Harrison.

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Join the SEMA Council Family

SEMA hosts 10 distinct councils and committees that represent focused niches within the specialty-equipment industry. These groups are comprised of elected volunteers (Select Committee) who guide and direct council activities while representing the membership at large. Although each council acts independently and represents a different segment, they are all focused on the betterment of the industry as a whole.

The value councils provide SEMA and the industry is beyond refute. It is inspiring to witness a diverse collection of company representatives, many of which are direct competitors, come together and develop educational, training, youth awareness and networking events that are, at the core, designed to give back and promote business. An equally important council function is to ensure that SEMA sustains a pulse on the industry and maintains a presence with its members.

The question is often asked, “Why should my company join a council?” The answer is simple. SEMA councils open the doors and provide you exposure to industry leaders, decision makers, trendsetters and a community of like-minded individuals who share your passion and desire to see business succeed and prosper. Once the doors are open, it is your responsibility to take advantage of the benefits by becoming actively involved.

Learn more today